Pawn biz looks to renovate, occupy former S&R
By William F. West
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
A long-vacant former supermarket building in Elizabeth City could soon have a new occupant if city planning officials agree to issue the business’s owner a permit.
The Elizabeth City Planning Commission is set to meet early next week to decide whether to grant a permit to Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns to operate a new pawn shop in the former S&R Supermarket at the corner of North Hughes Boulevard and Sawyer Street.
According to city documents, Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns, currently operating in the 1500 block of West Ehringhaus Street, wants to purchase and renovate the former supermarket building that was last occupied in 2002.
Kevin Stroud, one of the owners-operators of Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns, declined comment on the company’s plans when reached this week, saying he wanted to wait for the Planning Commission to make its decision first. The commission is scheduled to take up Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns’ permit application on Tuesday.
Right now, there appears to be some disagreement between the applicants and the city over several recommendations the city Technical Review Committee, which considered EC Pawn and Guns’ request May 22, made for the S&R property. The TRC is a panel of city officials from a range of departments, including building inspections, planning, police and fire, parks and recreation and utilities.
Cheryl Eggar, a city planner, said Tuesday the TRC wants Elizabeth City Pawn and Gun to install sidewalks along the sides of the former S&R that front North Hughes Boulevard and Sawyer Street. The business, however, doesn't want to put in the sidewalks, Eggar said
City Planning and Community Development Director Matthew Schelly said his office is looking at deferring the TRC’s recommendations on sidewalks for the time being. Schelly said that's because an N.C. Department of Transportation access management study of North Hughes is pending. Eggar said city officials also plan to make the same deferral on a sidewalk for Sawyer Street.
Eggar said the TRC recommended a sidewalk along Sawyer Street because commercial businesses should have sidewalks along all street frontages. She said the sidewalk along Sawyer Street would also help connect residences along West Broad Street to commercial areas on North Hughes Boulevard.
Eggar said DOT also wants Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns to close off an entrance to the former S&R’s parking lot from North Hughes Boulevard. DOT considers the entrance too close to the North Hughes-Sawyer intersection, she said.
Eggar and Schelly said DOT, as a compromise, would allow Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns to widen another entrance to the parking lot from Hughes Boulevard. However, the business wants to keep open both entrances to the parking lot, Eggar said.
Despite the disagreements about the TRC’s recommendations, Eggar said the city is encouraged by Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns’ plans for the former S&R.
"It'll be great to see it come back to life," she said.
The former S&R Supermarket was one of two grocery stores owned by Roebuck Properties in Elizabeth City — the other was on Ehringhaus Street — closed by the company at the end of 2002.
According to its application to the city, Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns plans to operate the same kind of business in the former S&R building that it does in its current location on West Ehringhaus Street. It currently sells a variety of items, including electronics, firearms, jewelry and tools.
Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns plans to renovate and operate in only about a quarter of the space — 4,000 square feet — in the 16,000 square-foot former S&R building, the application indicates. Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns would be open for business at the S&R site from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
According to city Planning and Community Development documents, Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns first received a permit to operate a pawn shop in the 900 block of West Ehringhaus Street in 2011. By 2014, the business was operating in a larger location in the 1500 block of West Ehringhaus.
Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns’ operators believe they can better serve residents on Elizabeth City’s north side if the business occupies the former S&R building, the application indicates. The business also envisions being able to offer additional services like jewelry and small equipment repair at the S&R site.
Although firearm sales would be a part of its business at the former S&R site, it is not anticipated being a large part, Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns’ application states. The new site would be equipped with a room constructed with cinder block walls that included a reinforced ceiling and a door resembling an entrance to a bank vault. According to the documents, firearms would be kept in a safe in the room.
TRC records state police asked for a proposed on-site garbage dumpster area to have adequate lighting to discourage vandalism. Eggar said Tuesday the dumpster area would be screened from public view.
City records state there have only been two breaking and entering incidents at Elizabeth City Pawn and Guns’ current site.