Resident grew up with carnival, retires with Pawn Shop

Published 9:35 pm Friday, April 23, 2021

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Natchez resident Samantha Pruitt spent the last 30 years with her husband Larry Pruitt working in pawnshops before she retired, she said.

She said she came out of retirement three years ago to work at Natchez Pawn Shop. The shop has moved locations to Eagle Pawn Shop at 481 John R. Junkin Drive in Natchez, close to where the dart landed Friday.

She said she enjoys the same thing she hates about pawnshops, the people. Working at a pawnshop, she meets a lot of interesting people, she said.

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“Everybody who walks through that door has a story,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt is from Mobile and said she grew up on a carnival with her grandparents, being home-schooled 75% of the year. Her family wintered in Morgantown, and that is where she had her home base.

She said she saw many different places in the U.S., met interesting people and learned the value of hard work in the carnival. Setting up a carnival is not hard, she said. Once you know how to set up a ride, it is easy to assemble and disassemble.

“Carnival life is not for everybody,” Pruitt said. “I grew up faster than most kids. I got to ride rides all the time, but I had to put them together too. Everybody out there looked after each other… You get used to life. You live in small quarters.”

Pruitt said she worked on carnival rides, with carnival games, and she sold food in carnivals.

She met her husband Larry at a carnival, she said. She has been married for 32 years, she said. At the time, she said he had a pawnshop in Vidalia. She said they moved to McComb to start a pawnshop there.

Her blue Natchez (now Eagle) Pawn Shop jacket said “Need stuff, bring money. Need money, bring stuff,” Eagle pawn will deal with anything of value, she said.

There have been some interesting items that come through the door. Old football helmets, an old radio, and a mammoth tooth are in a display case by the front counter. She said by far the most interesting item she has seen was an elephant foot. The foot was made into an umbrella stand, she said.

“If it has any kind of value, we pawn it,” Pruitt said. “If it is all ragged out or broke beyond repair, we are not going to fool with it.”