Roy Peretz is a visionary, a one-of-a-kind individual who sees an opportunity around each corner. Peretz is a colourful Spanish-Israeli personality who arrived in South Africa from Israel in the 80s. By trade a chemical engineer, he was enticed by the government of the time to invest in the homelands.
Seeing a great opportunity for development in the homelands, he built a chemical factory, employed hundreds of locals, and guided his company into being one of the most successful of its kind on the continent.
After 10 years in this business, Roy Peretz was itching to expand into another field altogether and saw the pawn industry as a viable option. He had knowledge of diamonds and gold and high-end watches. He also loved dealing with people and the “art” of buying and selling inspired him.
So began the history of Cash Inn, a pawn shop he launched in 1998, at 341 Jan Smuts Avenue next to the Colony Shopping Centre in Hyde Park. Next to his offices, where clients would pawn their gold, their jewellery and their cars, among other items, he opened a second set of premises which served as a sort of shop-cum-museum in which clients would shop for spectacular objects from highly rated sports memorabilia to art, and from collectables to pianos, motor cycles and sculptures.
Running this side of the operation is fellow Israeli, Eytan Nadle, a gentle giant of a man with a wry sense of humour and a no-nonsense attitude when it comes to bargaining.
Cash Inn thrived and became a benchmark for the pawn shop industry, elevating the business above the sad and seedy operations around town that gave pawn shops such a bad reputation.
Peretz’s reputation came to the attention of a TV company, Rapid Blue, who had been instructed by a A+E Net Works, a British TV organisation to find a reputable South African pawn shop for a reality TV series based on the successful American version called simply Pawn Stars.
In Roy Peretz and his team they found the right combination and before long Pawn Stars SA was born in which the team dealt with customers wanting to pawn rare items. It became an instant hit on History (DStv channel), being screened in countries around the world. The team, comprising Eytan Nadler, Liel Rimon, who runs Top Cash pawn shop in Morningside, in Johannesburg, and Roy’s PA Irene Bower, became famous overnight and a second season was scheduled, which gained them even more fans. Cash Inn and the team were on the world map.
After one episode, Peretz received a phone call (which he at first thought was a prank) from renowned Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard, a motor cycle devotee. He had seen a rare Royal Enfield motor cycle with a sidecar featured in one of Roy’s Pawn Stars shows on UK TV and wanted to purchase it. Fame at last !
During the success of the TV series Peretz, who had by now become an instant star, expanded his popularity into the field of radio and soon he hosted his own shows first on Radio Today (now discontinued) and then two shows on ChaiFM, which targeted the Jewish community.
Peretz can also be heard on Tuesdays dispensing his words of wisdom on Sasha Matinengo’s breakfast show on Hot91.9FM.
The next step for the intrepid Roy Peretz was to set up a monthly auction at his Hyde Park shop. Customers are given the rare opportunity to purchase items at frighteningly low prices – with some of the objects having been featured on the TV shows.
Giving back to the community and making a meaningful difference in the lives of those around us are the goals of both Cash Inn and Hot 91.9FM. They have combined their resources to make the difference and raise funds for the station’s Hot Cares initiative. Hundreds of items in the shop are up for sale and everything must go.
Peretz believes there is hidden gold in people’s homes – if only they would take the trouble to look around.
He says: “Often people come into the shop with items they found gathering dust and ask if it has any value. Nine times out of ten it may not be gold but there is always a chance that it’s a valuable discovery and we will pay its value.”
With more than 20 years in the pawn industry Roy has seen many bizarre items that people bring into his Hyde Park shop. Items such as grandma’s false teeth, a vibrator, gold fillings and even a herd of cattle which they wanted to pawn.
Roy recalls a man coming into the shop with the intention of pawning his false eye, while on another occasion a man in desperate need of cash wanted to pawn the shoes he was wearing. On both counts their offers were rejected.
One man even wanted to sell a kidney to raise funds – and again the understanding staff behind the counters gave him a firm no.
There is never a dull moment in the pawn business – and Roy loves every moment of it.
Peter has been a journalist and arts critic for almost 50 years and served on The Star in various capacities for 35 years, ending up as a specialist writer on films, music and theatre. During that time he travelled extensively on assignments and interviewed many international film and pop stars, both in South Africa and overseas. He also covered some of South Africa's biggest film and musical events. He was one of only two South African journalists to be invited by Steven Spielberg to the Hook film junket in LA in 1991 where he interviewed the famous director as well as Dustin Hoffman and the late Robin Williams. He attended the gala James Bond premiere in London in 1981 and did an iconic interview in a Rolls Royce with Roger Moore who played Bond. He spent a week touring England with Queen prior to their Sun City visit in 1983, interviewed a host of international stars on films sets in Hollywood and London and was the first local journalist to nail an interview with The Rolling Stones prior to their SA visit in 1995.
He is active in the freelance field and his work has appeared in a variety of South African newspapers and magazines. He has also worked on TV and radio (ChaiFM 101.9) in his specialist capacity. Over the years Feldman has been the recipient of several awards for his contribution to music journalism and the SA record industry. He is a recent recipient of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz award in recognition for his long standing journalistic support for the arts. He wrote lyrics for some top artists, including Sipho Mabuse, and had a hit disco single, "Video Games," which was released in 1988. He coined the phrase "Local is Lekker" which he used in his columns in The Star Tonight and broadcast in the 70s on David Gresham's popular afternoon show on Springbok Radio.