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M&J Loans under new ownership
Ribbon Cutting was held by the Cleveland County Chamber.

M&J Loans of 409 South Lafayette Street is under new ownership, with a slight addition to the name, M&J Loans of Shelby.
Former owner, John Paksoy, the third generation involved in the family business, left his staff in tact when he turned M&J over to Jed Rankin, owner of Marion Credit Company in nearby McDowell County.
"I was looking for a good fit to keep the office location and employees," Paksoy said of his decision to sell. "It will be business as usual, with the same warm customer service we've always provided. Quick and easy. It will still be locally owned and locally operated."
M&J was founded in 1930 by Paksoy's grandfather, Fred W. Blanton who moved to Cleveland County from Columbus, NC to start M&J. He operated the business until his passing in the 1950s. John's father, Ali Paksoy, ran M&J until the business was sold in 1980, and in 1988, John resurrected the brand in Shelby, concentrating in automobile financing and small loans.
M&J stands for manufacturers and jobbers, the kind of people, Paksoy said, who couldn't rely on a bank for financial help. "Our customers are not bank customers," he said. "We service blue-collar workers. There has always been a need and this has always been in my blood." Paksoy said. "I feel obligated to help customers first, and the bottom line is second...If you don't truly believe in helping your customers, they know that and they won't come back."
Rankin, himself a second-generation loan company owner, has spent more than 40 years in the business, starting as a teenager working in Marion for his dad, Ed Rankin, who later added Spruce Pine and Franklin offices to his flagship location. "My father started Marion Credit Company in 1973," Rankin said. "I was in junior high at the time and spent most of that summer helping to renovate the first location. Once he opened up, I would walk to the office every afternoon after school and work on the front counter taking payments." He double-checked transactions at the end of the day, then cleaned the office and caught a ride home with his dad at 5:30. His $20 monthly salary covered his $18.76 motorcycle payment and taught him both sides of the business.
Next up for Rankin is picking up where Paksoy left off at M&J. The two became friends through the Resident Lenders Association of North Carolina. Paksoy said he had been considering selling M&J, and a casual conversation last August led to the transaction, which was completed in November.
Continuity is foremost among Rankin's goals for the business and its customers. "I am excited to have the opportunity to grow what John Paksoy has established, and I look forward to a long relationship with the good people of Shelby and the surrounding area," Rankin said. "We are a small, independent, people-first company. I have always believed if you treat people well, everything else will take care of itself."
Paksoy built M&J Loans around that same philosophy and said he is confident he is leaving it in good hands. "I'm very happy Jed is going to continue the name; that means a lot to me and I think it'll mean a lot of our customers who have been here a long time."


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