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Candybar Loans: The Early Years


Needing a little advance on the upcoming payday, I decided to visit  Joe’s franchise, Candybar Loans. He’d been toying with the idea of playing some gigs with our outfit, “The Retailers”, but hasn’t committed yet due to some other obligations. I thought maybe I’d throw him a little business to soften him up to the idea of gracing “The Retailers” with his profitable rhythms.

Back in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, Joe was known as Candybar. He offered short term loans with 40 point interest. Two weeks later, he’d better get his money or you’d get a payday candybar on your doorstep. Rumor has it, it would be the last thing you enjoyed before he exacted his due out of you. I don’t know how many folks ever got the candybar, but I do know that Joe always got his money.

He got wise after a few years of headaches, moved to Seattle and went legit. Candybar and his brother-in-law opened a chain of payday loan joints, naming it “Candybar Loans” in honor of his street days in the Hill District. Biz was booming. He even installed giant screen TVs for people waiting in line on gameday. Joe visits every location weekly, handing out payday candybars and showing off his latest mercedes. This time I just missed him.  His car was pulling away as I got there, the signature license plate “SHAKNB8K” tearing off into the noon traffic.

He really liked that Will Ferrell movie about the Nascar driver.

I pocketed the $200 after signing over my last check to Joe’s operation for $250. Tearing open the free candy bar the teller gave me, I headed out into the fog. Guess I’ll shoot old Joe an email.

Keep Smiling.


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