SPECIAL REPORT: The Tough Times Lifestyle 

Tucked away in the corner of Bangor Floral, you’ll find a place where people like Daniel Heacock are parting with memories to try and make ends meet.Heacock’s brother passed away last year leaving behind a collection of gold coins.”I was looking through them and I wanted to see what they were worth,” he said.Heacock tells us he is going through financial hardships and is in need of an operation.That’s what brought him to the Diamond and Gold Outlet, a gold buy back store that’s been in Bangor for eight years.With a high price of gold in a down economy, a different kind of gold rush has kept the company’s President Mark Dube busy.”It’s just an alternative for them, especially if it’s something they’re not wearing any more,” he said.They’ve seen their business double over the past two years, which has outgrown their space.”It’s just part of growth, part of long term plan to grow our business and to potentially franchise in the future,” he said.Nancy Forster Holt with the school of business at Husson University says a bad economy is a good thing for gold buy back businesses.”They provide an outlet for the consumer. People who are trying to get a multi-layer handle on their finances. They provide a short term relief, they may provide some cash that’s a little more ready, a little more valuable.”But sometimes, it’s not always good news for customers looking to get a quick buck.You’ll probably never get the same amount of money that you originally paid in a jewelry store. “They’re paying for the national marketing, the name on the box,” Dube said.Dube says you have to remember after you purchase jewelry, the price usually goes down.So when you go to a gold buy back, get to know the buyer.”There are companies that go around the country and they’ll set up in a hotel for a day and you go there and they’ll give you a check and they’re gone by the end of the day. They leave and that check is not good. It’s happened all across the country,” he said.If you’re not satisfied with the price offered, you can always say no.”As a jeweler, you can buy it wholesale, so we have to be able to let the customer know, yeah if we can, but if it’s for less than they want, it doesn’t make sense to buy it at that price,” Dube said.Which is why educators like Forster-Holt say consumers should have other strategies to help deal with a difficult economic situation.