Richard Harrison ended up in San Diego in 1979. Freshly retired from the Navy, he decided to join his wife JoAnne in her small, but successful real estate business, according to son Rick’s autobiography. Unfortunately, the housing market had other plans.
“I should have declared bankruptcy in ’81, but I didn’t. I lost a fortune,” the Old Man told The Dispatch in 2011. Faced with skyrocketing interest rates due to the Recession of 1981-1982, Harrison decided to pack up the family and move to Las Vegas in a last-ditch effort to turn his other side hustle, selling gold and silver, into a small business.
Years later, Rick snagged a pawnbroker’s license, a rarity in Las Vegas at the time, and father and son went into business together, according to Las Vegas Weekly. That “$10,000 investment” became the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn shop, a business that turned the Harrisons into millionaires.