The pawnshop community in Sacramento lost a strong advocate and an industry innovator this week.
Larry Anapolsky, co-owner of California Loan and Jewelry, the city’s oldest pawnshop, died Sunday of complications from pancreatic cancer at his Sacramento home. He was 63.
“His philosophy was that we had to make changes to grow or we would roll over and die,” said his brother, Warren Anapolsky of Sacramento. “Larry’s great ideas allowed us to change and grow and stay ahead of all the other shops.”
Services for Mr. Anapolsky were held Wednesday at Mosaic Law Congregation. He was interred at Home of Peace Cemetery in Sacramento.
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Born on Aug. 8, 1950, in Sacramento, he was the youngest of three children of Sol and Bernice Anapolsky.
At the age of 12, Mr. Anapolsky told his father that he wanted to go into the family business, which was founded by his grandfather and grand-uncles, twin brothers Joe and William Anapolsky, in 1909.
After graduating from C.K. McClatchy High School in 1968, Mr. Anapolsky went to work full time at California Loan and Jewelry. He went to Sacramento City College for one year, before going through a six-month program at the Gemological Institute of America, then moved to Los Angeles to become a graduate gemologist.
When he returned from Los Angeles, he joined the Air Force Reserves and was stationed at Travis Air Force Base for six years.
He met Kathleen Theresa Morris at a Halloween party in 1971 and married her on Feb. 10, 1973, in Sacramento.
“My dad was Jewish and she was Catholic, and they were married by a priest and a rabbi,” said his daughter Michelle Anapolsky of Sacramento, adding that it was among the first such weddings conducted in the area.
In 1979, after the death of his father, Mr. Anapolsky and his brother took over California Loan and Jewelry, with Larry serving as president of the company, and Warren as vice president, becoming the third generation of Anapolsky brothers to run the business. The brothers also worked with their mother at the shop.
“His philosophy was the same as our parents’: treat people fairly, honestly and have the highest integrity possible,” said Warren Anapolsky. “If you treat people fairly and give them the best value for their money, they would come back to us and spread the word for us.”
The result was that California Loan and Jewelry would see the second and third generation of their customers come to the shop.
But Mr. Anapolsky also believed that for the business to grow, it would have to evolve and adapt to the times.
One of his ideas was to resell gold jewelry to smelters, rather than trying to sell the items at the shop.
That practice was especially profitable in recent years when the price of gold soared, up to $1,900 an ounce at one point.
In 1998, the Anapolsky brothers bought the store next to California Loan and Jewelry, and the following year, opened a check-cashing business at the location.
In 2005, when Mr. Anapolsky went to a meeting in Los Angeles, he learned that a pawnbroker had started a car title business. When he returned from the trip, he decided to do that as well, becoming an agent for Loan Mart.
“We now have three businesses – car title loans, check cashing and California Loan and Jewelry – and all have been successful,” said Warren Anapolsky.
But the core of the family business was the pawnshop.
“We just like people, and we like the art of making a deal,’ said his brother. “With our customers, you never know what item would come into our store.”
Some of the more unusual items that customers have brought in include a rare handmade copy of William Blake’s “Song of Innocence, ” several Super Bowl rings, an original Renoir artwork, and a Fabergé sculpture.
About three years ago, Mr. Anapolsky persuaded his daughter to join the family business as director of operations. A second cousin also works at California Loan and Jewelry, so there is a fourth generation of the Anapolsky family carrying on the legacy.
“It was an interesting transition from Dad to boss,” said Michelle Anapolsky. “My dad taught me a strong work ethic – to treat people how you want to be treated and not to judge a book by its cover. A lot of people are in desperate need of money, and you need to treat people with compassion.”
Mr. Anapolsky was active in professional organizations, serving 25 years on the board for the California Pawnbroker Association and the Secondhand Dealers Association.
He was an avid golfer, and was a member of the Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills.
He also was a member of the private Sutter Club in Sacramento and traveled around the world with his wife.
In addition to his daughter, Michelle, and brother, Warren, Mr. Anapolsky is survived by his wife, Kathy Anapolsky of Sacramento, another daughter Shawna Terpstra of Humble, Texas, sister Ellyce Anapolsky of Chicago and two granddaughters.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at www.pancan.org.
Editor’s note: This story was changed Nov. 21 to include comments from Mr. Anapolsky’s daughter Michelle Anapolsky.