Who We Are

In 1982 in San Ysidro, California, a father and his two grown sons set out to impact their community positively by building a business that served the people. Money exchange was booming thanks to the world’s busiest border crossing. 50 million people a year, on average, went between Mexico and the U.S. in San Ysidro in the early 1980s. The money exchange business grew and was successful.

A Few Words About

The Adato family’s success was defined by personally serving their customers. Face-to-face interactions every single day gave them unique insight into the harsh lives of many of the people walking through their doors. Israel Adato recalls helping a mother exchange her pesos. She was working two full-time jobs and still could not afford enough diapers for her baby. Soon, he was meeting many who wished to exchange items of value like jewelry and watches for necessary cash. Together, the Adatos added on a new service: pawn.

Without any expertise, this new venture was promising but slow to grow. There was no option to Google “how to start a pawnshop.” They were grinding, day in and day out, learning the trade through trial and error.

Eventually, they became what is known today as Express Pawn. Their formula is simple: provide fair cash loans and build long-term relationships with customers who also became family. That concept is now responsible for nine locations across San Diego County. More importantly, it helps thousands find a non-exploitative solution to financial problems.

From paying bills to paying for college, Express Pawn has been a part of many happy memories. A daughter’s quinceañera, a young man’s proposal in Coronado, breakfast in bed and a diamond necklace for a mom who deserved the world. They have worked toward thousands of these lovely stories.

Here at Express Pawn, the same ethics that built the business back in the 1980s remain firmly in place. We believe in serving the community, treating everyone fairly and without bias, and making dreams a possibility for our friends and San Diego family.

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