One of Sayville’s newest stores may very well serve as a barometer of sorts for how well the small communities of Long Island are faring as the recession slowly rebounds.
The LI Gold Mine store opened in early July in the Carvel shopping center at four corners. Patch stopped in to talk to the new owners but they weren’t available as of press time but as another Sayville storeowner, who’s been a gold dealer for years and been buying from locals for over a year explains, there's a current gold rush on and it isn’t likely to ebb anytime soon.
In fact, selling gold, whether to help pay the bills or fund the next vacation, is a much more common activity as residents continue to grapple with job loss and income drops.
The rush is tied to both the economy as well as the price of gold itself. When the gold price spikes so do sales. When the gold price drops, so does sales activity.
“People are much more speculative these days and jewelry is not a necessity,” said Peter Setzer, who along with his partner Kevin Farrell opened Time Tunnel Antiques in June, 2011 on Main Street.
Setzer has run consignment and antique shops on Long Island and in Flushing, Queens for many years since retiring as a high school teacher.
Today’s gold rush isn’t as fast and furious as it was back when selling gold first took off in the early 1980s, said Setzer, and it’s not as frantic as two years ago when the recession hit Long Island fast and hard. But it’s still a hot commodity, and sterling silver is fast becoming just as popular.
Setzer’s antiques business is seeing more gold and silver sales these days as people are much more aware of the potential value of what’s sitting in jewelry boxes and drawers.
One customer recently stopped in with a big jewelry box of items, explaining she had been out of work for two years and was just wondering what she may get for some family pieces she had been hanging on to but that had no sentimental value.
“She discovered the items were valued at several thousand dollars and sold them and related that she could now continue to pay mortgage for awhile,” recalled Setzer.
While some customers are making deals to get needed cash for bills, others are just looking for funds to pay for extras, such as a grandmother who came in with a box of her jewelry hoping to get enough to enjoy a great meal out with her family during a vacation to Puerto Rico.
“She is standing here with a few of her grandchildren and they’re asking what will you do with the money and she says she’ll take everyone out to dinner at the end of the trip,” recalled Setzer.
The final sales tally came as a big surprise as the woman discovered her items were twice, nearly three times, as valuable as initially thought.
“She tells the grandkids we’ll go out to dinner before we leave. We’ll eat everyday she said with a laugh” said Setzer with a smile.
What residents may not realize, when looking to sell gold, is that the price point isn’t just about the value of gold on that given day. What buyers are willing to pay also includes covering overhead costs and marketing costs and that’s why prices can fluctuate between gold dealers.
“The guy who does a lot of advertising and offers freebies likely isn’t going to give the same price as someone who doesn’t have to pay for those things,” explained Setzer. For example, a customer stopped in to relate about selling a few items to a gold buyer and what he got in return.
“I would have given him about $60 more,” said Setzer.