About Town: Golfing partners become business partners in island pawn business

June 15, 2009 

Nick Lopez and Henry Fryt became fast friends on the golf course.

They plan to be business partners for a long time.

The duo recently opened Big Money Pawn at 123A Mathews Drive on Hilton Head Island.

The partnership began about six months ago, when Lopez kept Fryt laughing through most of a round at Palmetto Bluff.

After that, the two men began hanging out together.

"We just kind of clicked," Lopez said.

Before long, they were making plans to go into business together.

"We'd sit and talk and dream up what we wanted to do," Fryt said.

They settled on a pawn shop, in part because Lopez ran one in Beaufort for about eight years, starting in 1997.

They first eyed another location there but chose their current spot when they saw it while having coffee on the island one morning.

They noticed consistent traffic streaming through a nearby gas station and decided "this is the place," Fryt said.

Since then, they've put about $100,000 into the building, Lopez said.

Their personalities are not identical, Fryt said, but they work well together.

Lopez, 41, is the more outgoing of the pair and has the "gift of gab," Fryt said. Lopez also brings experience in the tire business and is an inventor who holds eight patents.

Fryt, 56, doesn't mind taking care of the paperwork. He has worked in the convenience store, nonprofit, restaurant, health care and mortgage fields.

Their store has already opened, but a grand opening celebration will be held Aug. 1.

They're also considering expanding to another location.

"We'll be together for a long time," Fryt said. "I don't have any doubt in that."

OTHER BUSINESSES

Other recent business openings, closings and changes in the area:

• The Blockbuster video store at 45 Pembroke Drive on the island's north end closed Sunday.

The store's lease agreement was up, and the company decided not to renew, manager Ricardo Badger said.

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