BY JACLYN ROSE –
Mountain Pawn and Gun opened their doors in downtown Mena in 1978. The shop was started by Wayne and Joyce Dean who ran the business until retiring in December of 2013. The couple moved the store to the current location, 1015 A Highway 71 North, in 1987. Two years ago, Paul Cox began working with the Deans and upon their retirement, purchased the store from them.
Cox is a gun and family enthusiast who enjoys the fact that he can help people with his shop. He and his wife, Tish, a special education paraprofessional at Mena Middle School, were married two years ago. Together they have five children and five grandchildren, with one more on the way. He explained that his family is everything to him. He is very proud of his kids and his grandchildren are his pride and joy. Cox comes from a family of educators, and while he loves working with children, knew that was not his calling. “So many members of my family are teachers and I coached every sport imaginable. I still enjoy running into those kids, they call me coach even though they are bigger than I am now. I just couldn’t work in a classroom though; I need to be helping people in a different way.”
Born in Texas, Cox’s family moved to Mena when he was 12 and he graduated from Mena High School in 1982. “I was born in Texas but I was raised in Arkansas. I love it here and I love the Hogs.” He also loves all things outdoors and is a gun enthusiast. “Guns are my passion, I’ve always been a gun guy. I love to hunt and be outdoors. I believe guns are an art. When you think about it, someone sat down and designed and built that, paintings never meant so much to me, but I think guns are art.” Mountain Pawn and Gun specializes in buying and selling new and used guns, but they will also pawn “just about anything: jewelry, electronics, you name it.”
Cox explained that his business is in helping people, “when someone comes in and needs cash, like a couple I had that had a great opportunity to move from a rent home to purchasing their own home but just needed that extra cash, they give me their belongings and I will give them a loan at 20 percent for 60 days. Most pawn shops will only hold items for 30 but I will wait 60, that is what Joyce and Wayne always did, so that’s what I continue to do. I really love helping people.” Cox’s shop is full of many different items, from a wall and a case full of guns to motorcycles, guitars, jewelry and even cars and ATVs. Many different items a person needs can be found at Mountain Pawn and Gun.
Monday through Friday from 8-5 and Saturday from 8-1, Cox and his friendly assistant, his one year old puppy, can be found at the shop, always ready to help out a person in need, or just visit with some friends.