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Keeping a Coin Dealer’s Staff and Customers Safe: Avoiding COVID-19 and Customer Backlash

By John MabenPegasus Coin and Jewelry ……

After 40 years in the coin business as a wholesaler and internet retailer, in November 2019 I opened Pegasus Coin and Jewelry in the Bradenton/Sarasota/Lakewood Ranch area of Florida. I’d invested several hundred thousand dollars in building out a really nice, bright, new, 1,500-square-foot showroom and added six members to our team.

From a business standpoint, to say the least, it was a really bad time to have a global pandemic.

The retail environment and the virus have combined to push into bankruptcy such longtime, established companies as Lord & Taylor, Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, Pier 1 Imports, Tuesday Morning and Stein Mart.

What could I do to survive in a new store that deals in a niche product line that is not exactly a necessity like, say, toilet paper or food?

As the nation’s businesses slammed shut and while health experts assessed the danger and learned more about what could be done to help avoid becoming ill and spreading the virus, I closed Pegasus in March for five weeks and started my own assessment.

Being a coin dealer involves a lot of in-person examinations of coins with potential buyers and sellers. There’s just no other practical way to determine the conditions and authenticity of coins.

I came to believe that I could reopen May 1 by taking precautions that have kept me, my staff, and my customers safe to this day. I also believe it is important to tell our customers, who tend to be older and more vulnerable, that we take their safety seriously. In doing that, I didn’t want to irritate those who believe such precautions were unnecessary.

We placed a small box on our website’s home page that says: Read how Pegasus Coin and Jewelry is keeping its clients and staff safe here.

That link takes visitors to a page with a Covid-19 statement that mimics what a sign on our door says.

We have since changed this message at our storefront to require masks, as Manatee County now makes them mandatory in all businesses for all customers, except anyone with a medical exception. It is obvious by the sign at our front door (already equipped with a remote electronic lock) that we are serious about COVID-19 precautions, especially once a customer enters the store.

We have a table with hand sanitizer near the entrance, strips of tape on the floor to indicate social distancing, and signs with reminders. We offer masks to the occasional person who comes to the door without one.

These steps, which to us are common-sense actions becoming more widely accepted, so far have not sparked any customer backlash.

More importantly, they have helped keep everyone healthy and our store busy. I am especially happy to have taken these measures early on, as our business has quadrupled with the recent rise in the price of precious metals.

I don’t know anyone who is enjoying these difficult times. But I think that if we all join in making sensible choices, we will eventually get through this and things will return to a situation more closely resembling 2020 BC (Before Corona).

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About Pegasus Coin

Pegasus Coin and Jewelry consists of John Maben and his staff of professionals. Maben, the owner of the company, entered the coin business full time in 1978 and now is in his fourth decade as a distinguished professional numismatist. His experience includes eight years at Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) as executive vice president and a grading finalizer. Additionally, he was a grader at Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) in the 1980s. More recently, Maben owned and was CEO of ModernCoinMart, which he sold in 2015.

​In 2015, he formed John Maben LLC. Pegasus Coin and Jewelry is a DBA under John Maben LLC.

Maben is a Life Member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA). He has been a member of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) since 1986, where he served as a board member from 2013 through 2017. He also is an Accredited Precious Metals Dealer (APMD) and holds Life Memberships with the Florida United Numismatists (FUN), Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS), and the Garden State Numismatic Society.

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