Modell Financial: More than just a pawn store

Association President Clinton W. Blume, III presents an “Excellence in Public Service” Award to Gerald Modell at an celebration in February 2009

Association President Clinton W. Blume, III presents an “Excellence in Public Service” Award to Gerald Modell at an celebration in February 2009

Shortly after the Modell Family immigrated to America in the 1870s from Russia, they began peddling clothing, jewelry and odds & ends from a pushcart on the Lower East Side.

Today, Modell Financial serves New Yorker’s short-term financing needs with eight locations throughout New York and a diamond import business.

In 1893, George Modell opened his first store to buy and sell jewelry, watches and trinkets.  Louis joined his father in the 1930s and helped establish the pawnbroking business after assuming leadership of the company during World War II.  In 1959 – after serving as an officer in the Army – Louis’ oldest son Gerald also came aboard.

The company opened a second location in 1960 in the heart of the Diamond District where Modell began to extend financing to the diamond and jewelry industry.  Sensing an opportunity, Gerald started importing diamonds directly from offices in Antwerp, Tel Aviv, and Bombay.

Now headquartered in their namesake building on West 47th Street, Modell makes tens of thousands of dollars in loans to the public annually – a much-needed service for many, especially in these troubled economic times.

In 1997, Modell’s 4th generation, Eric, joined the company as Executive Vice President with a focus on expanding the business even further.

Gerald has been associated with the creation and operation of many charitable and philanthropic causes mostly in the medical and mental health fields.  Presently, he serves on an advisory board at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City and formerly was a founder and vice president of the Mental Illness Foundation.

In the 116 years that the company has been in operation, it has always been owned and operated by the Modell Family.  Eric says “we shall continue to expand our efforts to provide complete satisfaction and service to each and every one of our loyal customers.”