Northwest Pawn rebranding to Northwest Outfitters to better reflect retail offering |

Northwest Pawn rebranding to Northwest Outfitters to better reflect retail offering

P.J. Nichols, owner of Northwest Pawn Shop, poses in his store with a print-out of the soon-to-be new branding of the shop — Northwest Outfitters.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

It’s been a long time since Northwest Pawn has been more than just a pawn shop.

Now, as more and more retail offerings take over the outdoors-focused legacy store’s business model, owner P.J. Nichols and crew are finally making a change. Northwest Pawn will soon become Northwest Outfitters.

“We’ve struggled with the word ‘pawn,’” Nichols said. “There are people who don’t want to come in because it’s associated with a dirty, dingy pawn shop, which we’re not. We’ll do the lending, but we’re going to do a ‘DBA’ (doing business as) Northwest Outfitters, just something to help draw folks in.”

Nichols said business has come in fits and spurts the last few years, as the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated closings and openings have created an unusual market. The shop remained mostly open during the various phases, though, and the move to outdoor activities was a temporary boon.

“It’s been volatile the last couple years,” he said. “We were allowed to stay open during COVID, so we had a pretty good increase in sales. Administration changes (nationally) prompted some panic buying, too, and then now that it’s all subsided, we’re a bit slow. I’m thinking this (name change) will help boost things.”

Nichols said summer is typically slower for the business.

“Everybody’s out enjoying all the stuff they bought,” he said.

But the fall hunting season tends to bring a substantial uptick in revenue, as it does for much of Craig.

“We’re hanging in there,” he said. “Maybe we find a new niche that lets us go beyond that. We’ve had some new goals hit that we’ve never met, and then some new lows we’ve never had. As long as it evens out, we’ll be here for a while.”

In recent years, the store has added features like an archery range, rock tumbling center and more, as it sought to diversify and find new markets to fill.

“The town’s grown, different people are moving in,” Nichols said. “We’ve brought in a lot of products. We have the rock shop, archery lanes, jewelry, southwest blankets now. We kind of picked up the guitar part of it, and we’re really much bigger into archery than we used to be. Craig’s demands have changed, including with the COVID changes, and (the rebrand) is probably something I should’ve done sooner. But it seems like now’s the time.”

The store’s logo will remain largely the same, though the words will change, and a new line of souvenir hats, shirts, hoodies and more will be produced.

“We’re obtaining all that locally,” Nichols said, noting that Chaos Ink was helping with the rebrand. “It’s just a push for everyone to transition and survive.”

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