New law could force antique and consignment shops out of business

Posted at: 04/09/2013 5:28 PM
By: Ray Levato

Antique and consignment stores say if a law intended for pawn shops is passed, they might be forced out of business. And this isn't just talk, it could become a reality across Monroe County and store owners are upset.

Antique and consignment store owners would be required to pay $250 a year for an operating license.  Also, stores would have to keep an online database with pictures of all items they sell.

Republican Legislator Carmen Gumina of Webster says this proposed new county law was requested by law enforcement as a tool to help track stolen goods like jewelry, gold, silver, and other precious metals. It targets pawnbrokers and jewelry and coin exchange dealers. But also what the law calls "secondhand dealers" like antique stores and consignment shops.
Mike Deming runs a small Monroe Avenue antique shop with his wife and daughter.

Mike Deming, Mike the Antique Guy, said, “It is a solution looking for a problem. This is not going to address what they want to address. It's going to put small business out of business.”

The seven-page proposed law would require pawnbrokers and dealers to hold merchandise coming into their stores for 14 days before being able to sell it.

And there are identification requirements. The store would have to verify who the seller is through an acceptable photo ID. The seller's signature in the presence of the dealer must match signature on the ID and the dealer must take and maintain a digital photo of each article purchased.

News10NBC asked Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks about this Tuesday.

Maggie Brooks, Monroe County Executive, said, “You never want policy to fix a problem in one place and create a problem in another.”

Brooks says she is a proponent of small business and the intent is not to punish or increase the burden on small businessmen and women. She's asking the legislature to rethink the proposal.

Brooks said, “I respect the legislative process but I would encourage our legislators to kind of take a step back and maybe take another look at the impact of this legislation so there are not unintended consequences. So we're not impacting antique dealers when we didn't mean to.”

Deming and other dealers News10NBC spoke with say this extra cost would probably force them to close up shop.

Deming said, “I can't afford it. My wife and I run this business along with our daughter and I can't afford this. I can barely keep up now.”

Deming and other antique and consignment shop owners plan to show up to speak at Tuesday's county legislature meeting. A spokesman for the republican majority says this legislation is expected to be tabled for now.