Guitar Grave owner Mike Fink Aug. 1 at his 441 Congress St. pawn shop. Fink is moving the business to South Portland in September. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

PORTLAND — Guitar Grave has been on Congress Street for nearly 15 years.

Guitar Grave has been on Congress Street in downtown Portland for nearly 15 years. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

But owner Mike Fink said he is tired of dealing with a lack of parking for his customers and employees, and especially tired of coping with weekly anti-abortion protesters outside the Planned Parenthood office next door.

So he’s moving his pawn and consignment shop from 441 Congress St. to 650 Main St. in South Portland.

Fink said Guitar Grave will close in Portland Aug. 23 and reopen in the former Jimi’s Trading Center, at the corner of Main and Westbrook streets, in September.

“It is a good price and has been a successful pawn location before. I am especially glad to get away from downtown Portland and the protests next door,” said Fink, who signed a three-year lease for the Main Street space. “That was the worst thing about being here. The parking is bad, but the protests on Friday were just horrible.”

Several years ago Fink changed his store hours, opting to open at noon on Fridays to avoid the protesters. In 2013, he closed his Mike’s restaurant, located next to Guitar Grave, because of the disruption.

Fink said he originally hoped to purchase a space, rather than lease, and looked throughout greater Portland, but “nothing ended up working out.” The South Portland spot, he said, is comparable in size to his Congress Street store, but comes with parking.

Moving to South Portland, he admitted, means he will lose some foot traffic and the business that comes from cruise ship tourists. But he expects most of his customers to follow him to the new location, which is three blocks from a Metro bus stop.

Guitar Grave will open in September at 650 Main Street in South Portland. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

“I’ll keep on doing what I am doing,” said Fink, who sells used guitars, musical equipment and other items. “I might keep going for another five or so years, but I don’t ever want to retire. I really love being a pawn broker. I recommend to other people they should be a pawn broker, too.”

Fink has been in the pawn business since 1998, when he opened Copy Rite in Biddeford. In 2005, he moved the business to Congress Street and changed its name to Guitar Grave.

While there occasionally are people who try to sell him stolen goods, he said most of his customers just need a little money to make ends meet. Fink said he keeps meticulous records of what he takes in and sells. He also runs a Youtube channel called Tales from the Grave, which chronicles memorable customers and transactions captured via the store’s surveillance system.

In 2014, Fink was awarded the Portland Police Department’s Citizen Award for helping to recover stolen property and prosecute the alleged thieves with footage from his store’s security camera as evidence.

Guitar Grave’s move will create another vacancy on the Congress Street block between Temple and Elm streets, where Mainely Wraps and a MetroPCS store have also closed. A massage business is expected to open in the former MetroPCS space.


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