Best Pawn Shop - 2010
It seems counterintuitive, but at Maplewood Pawn, the most interesting stuff in the store is not for sale. Sure, the storefront has all the usual goods — jewelry, electronics and a good selection of quality musical gear — but the walls are peppered with a tantalizing selection of items that, sadly, have no price tag. Above the glass display case that serves as the shop's counter, a collection of ukuleles are suspended from the ceiling, forever in search of another Tiny Tim to pluck their strings. Alas, they are just for show. On the opposite wall, several '70s lunch boxes summon memories of grade-school lunches of yore. They, too, are part of a private collection. But the finest (and funniest) example of Maplewood Pawn's idiosyncratic approach to the pawning game is a pair of white-and-green patent-leather shoes (size 13) that rests in a glass case near the back of the store. In fact, you can barely make out the shoes themselves, for management has posted so many playful "not for sale" signs (and has encouraged its customers to add their own) that the fabled shoes remain eternally behind the veil. But you never know — if the price is right, they could be yours. Pawn shops, after all, are all about the art of the deal.