Lyssa King is queen of the mall gold-buyers brigade. The company she launched two years ago, Wisconsin-based Gold Buyers, buys gold directly from people, conducting business exclusively in malls across the country.
This weekend her company has two teams of buyers coming to the NorthTown and Spokane Valley malls. Her workers will be in the malls today through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
While King has been in the commodities business for 16 years, she didn’t launch her roam-and-buy gold operation until, she said, the price of gold was high enough to justify the travel and expense of visiting and buying from people directly.
Her teams come with scales, magnets and assays to determine the value of the rings, watches, jewelry and dental fillings people bring in.
Gold Buyers pays market prices for the items, based on the purity or carat value of the gold. Everything purchased is later melted down and refined by Gold Buyers and resold to gold brokers.
The average purchase by Gold Buyers at mall shows comes to about $185, she said.
“It’s not that my mall clients need the money. Most of them just want to have ‘fun money,’ ” she said. “They use it as expendable income.”
Her teams also buy silver, platinum and diamonds.
Her profit margin is modest and her business is largely based on volume sales, King said.
If she finds gold items that can be resold for $11 or $12 an ounce, she tends to pay about $7, King said.
Buying gold also comes with an inherent risk. The teams pay the day’s market price and hope the price goes up. “So we operate by gambling that the price will go up,” she said.