Pawnbrokers on North Dargan St.


North Dargan Street
Florence, SC 29506


Harry H. Germain (1908-1975) was born in New Orleans in 1908 and later moved east with his older brother Abraham (1903-1982). Abraham settled in Atlanta, while Harry eventually moved on to High Point, North Carolina and worked for a money lender. In the early to mid-1930s, Harry married Pearl Clein (c.1906-1973), the daughter of a local wholesale dry goods merchant, Moses Clein (1859-1936) and his wife Fannie (1864-1918).1 In 1936, the young couple moved to Florence, where Harry opened Florence Loan—a branch of the High Point business—at 153 North Dargan Street. In January 1948, he opened a pawn shop nearby at 169 North Dargan Street, which enabled him to better manage the collateral end of his business. When interviewed days after opening the shop, Harry suggested that he would be catering to young men there. However, in later years, he noted that many women stopped by his store looking for handguns when local crime rates spiked. Harry operated the store until at least 1974 and passed away in November 1975.


1 Abraham Germain also married an Atlanta native named Pearl. Though the two women’s life dates have often been confused, it appears that Abraham’s wife lived from 1909 to 1984. 

Main Image: Interview with Harry Germain about his pawn shop. Reprinted from the Florence Morning News, January 20, 1948.

The Jewish Merchant Project is supported by the generosity of the Henry & Sylvia Yaschik Foundation and the Stanley B. Farbstein Endowment at the Coastal Community Foundation.

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