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All That Glitters

Money_gold_barsA monthly update from the Richmond Chamber Government Relations Committee. Article by Michelle Blackwell, Chair, Richmond Chamber Government Relations Committee.

In late June, the Richmond Chamber Government Relations Committee met with City Planning Director Richard Mitchell and Juan Chapino from Oro Max, one of the local cash for gold shops that is open for business in Richmond. We were all trying to understand both the City’s temporary moratorium on additional cash for gold businesses and the business model itself.

Richard Mitchell explained that the City put in a temporary moratorium so that they can be sure that their business permitting system is up to snuff in dealing with this very narrow business model and all the unique considerations that come with it. The City of San Pablo also established a moratorium, but unlike San Pablo, Richmond’s does not stop the existing stores from operating pending the results of the study.

So what are these stores and how do they operate?  The legitimate stores are licensed and regulated by the State of California Department of Commerce and must have an up to date second hand dealers license.  They are required to ask for ID and to retain contact info for every piece they buy. They are also required to photograph every item and to hold items for 30 days. In addition to State regulations, the scales they use must be certified by Contra Costa County Weights and Measures.  Once the gold has been through the holding process the stores send it to an assay office in Los Angeles County where it is weighed, graded and melted.

The City of Richmond is considering asking the legitimate stores to install additional security measures like digital cameras and for them to publicly post their permits.  The City is looking at expanding the moratorium for up to one year while they work out all the rules.  The Government Relations Committee recommended that the Chamber support the moratorium as long as the City continues to allow exiting legitimate businesses to operate.

Not all the businesses in the area are legitimate and there is concern that the illegitimate businesses may be accepting stolen goods.  As a Chamber member we should all be supporting legitimate business, so if you or your family are getting ready to sell some old, unused or broken jewelry, be sure to go to a legitimate store, ask to see their permits and if they don’t care who you are, leave.  You will be safer and more likely to get a fair deal.

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