Center Street Gold and Silver is one of the more unique businesses you will find in Tigard.
Owner-operator Dennis Johnson is also one of the most interesting people you will find around and boasts a long career trading in the financial markets and precious metals that dates back to the mid 1970s when then-President Gerald Ford signed a proclamation that once again allowed Americans to own gold. The prohibition on owning gold dated back to the Great Depression when President Franklin Roosevelt nationalized the country’s gold supply in an effort to stabilize the value of the dollar. The repeal of that policy some four decades later was the catalyst for Johnson, whose interest in precious metals started early.
“For some weird reason as a kid I liked silver dollars,” he said. “And whenever I had an extra dollar, I would go down to the local grocery store and exchange my paper dollar for a silver dollar. I just loved collecting them! ”
His first job as a stockbroker was with a Portland firm that specialized in gold mining companies while also serving as a gold broker. It was an unusual company. “We specialized in gold mining stocks and sold precious metal. We knew of no other company in the US that did both,” he said.
As the years passed, he gained experience working in the international gold market and eventually became a commodities broker. Johnson first opened up a precious metals retail business a decade ago and changed the name to its current form six years ago after buying out his former partner.
He says there is no such thing as a typical customer – the interest in gold and other precious metals knows few boundaries.
“You can’t put an age on it, but it’s somebody that is looking to diversify their portfolio and have precious metals in it in case of emergency, that is really the primary motive,” he said.
Johnson’s largest selling item is probably its smallest, dimes or other small silver coins. And that’s okay with him.
“Maybe it’s because of humble beginnings, but I just think that everybody needs to be treated like gold,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how much money you’re spending. Life has taught me that you can’t judge anybody by what they look like when they walk in your store.”
Buy, sell, trade, you name it. Whether it’s a collectible coin or simply a stamped bar, if it involves precious metals, Center Street Gold and Silver can help you.
“This is fun. You just don’t know who’s going to walk in the door,” he says.
Center Street Gold & Silver is located at 8879 SW Center St. in Tigard • 503-567-3443.
Open Monday – Friday 9 – 4, Saturday 10-2