While many businesses are taking a big hit with the economic downturn, several merchants are seeing their bottom lines thrive. Chris Holtberg owns a pawn shop in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area and says business has picked up in recent months. Holtberg says customers give a host of reasons why they’re pawning their goods.

Holtberg says: "We’ve heard everything from gas to electric bills to people that are in between jobs, got laid off at one job and looking for another job and need to make a payment here and there on different things." Holtberg says people are bringing in a variety of personal items to pawn.

"Jewelry and guns, a lot of electronics, cameras, things like that," he says. Holtberg says the price of gold is skyrocketing and many people are coming in to his store to exchange their jewelry for cash — and it isn’t just gold.

He says: "A lot in jewelry, a lot in scrap gold, and also a lot in coins and silver because silver has done the same. It’s went up substantially over the last year." Holtberg says his client base is widespread on both the selling and buying end.

"It’s a different type of business. We meet people from the low income to — you would be surprised. Two to $250,000 incomes that are in between jobs. I had a lady not too long ago that was in between jobs and over-qualified for the job she was looking for and had to make a payment in between and after she picked up her merchandise, she became a pretty good customer in buying jewelry after that, after she found out what she could buy jewelry for," Holtberg explains.

Holtberg says one of his biggest-selling items is jewelry and he predicts many people will be looking at bargains in his store during this holiday season.