In 1952 Jacob M. Cohen, a watchmaker for a pawn shop in the City of Chicago, found himself in need of extra cash. Embarrassed and intimidated, Jacob went into the shop he worked for and took out a loan. This struck a chord with him, and he then decided it was time to open a pawn shop built upon three important principles: first, always treat a customer fairly, honestly and with respect. Second, always provide a good deal to the customer. Lastly, always do an honest day’s work, for an honest day’s pay. With these principles in mind he opened 16th Street Loan Company in 1955, which he’d built brick by brick and added to the building as business grew. Unfortunately, in the riots of 1968, the 16th Street Loan Company was burned to the ground, and due to poor insurance, all was lost. He then opened 2 shops after of which the last was State Pawners on 160 N. State Street, where he passed his passion for helping others to his son, Scott Cohen. Jacob became ill and Scott dropped out of high school to run the shop and help his father.
On February, 4 1995, Jacob M. Cohen passed away, but his memory was not lost, kept alive by his son Scott, who continued to run the pawnshop and even still, wanted to do more to help all he could. Shortly after taking over the shop, the store was taken by the City of Chicago to build dorms for the university. Scott continued working in the pawnshop business until 2007, when he decided it was time for him to take a larger step toward helping others, in which he ran for Lt. Governor of Illinois as an Independent. Scott won the Democratic nomination, but was forced off the ticket, due to the fact he was self-funded, and the State of Illinois passed the Scott Lee Cohen Law. He decided to give up politics and go back to his roots and live upon the principles his father had taught him. There are now five Chicagoland Value Pawn location and we’re still growing.