Dylan’s Entrepreneurial Journey

An Entrepreneurial Journey That Began in Middle School

Dylan Nelson, the 29-year-old owner of Northern Gun and Pawn, embarked on an entrepreneurial journey that began in middle school while he was working for a local scrap business. Over a span of 12 years, he buckled down and worked hard, hoping to eventually fulfill his dream of owning a business. After years of working there, he felt stagnant and unhappy and realized he was ready for a new challenge.

A Pivotal Moment

“I felt like I was stuck,” Dylan said. “I started at the bottom, and I worked my way up to being the manager but wasn’t given the opportunity to continue to move forward.”

In a pivotal moment, Dylan decided to pursue a career change for the betterment of himself and his family. After a miserable day at the scrap business, he went to his dad’s house to get his opinion on a career change. “I was hoping he would have some ideas,” Dylan said.

Remembering His First Guitar

As they began to talk and reminisce, their thoughts turned to the local pawnshop where Dylan bought his first guitar. As they talked more about the pawnshop, Dylan started thinking about how he used to stop in at the pawnshop a couple times a month, just to talk to the owner and see what had come in. “I asked my dad that night if he would be willing to talk to Mike (the owner) and ask him if he would sell the pawnshop,” Dylan said.

The next day, Dylan’s dad texted him to say that the owner was interested in selling the business. From there, things moved pretty quickly. “I figured I had 6-9 months before I would be signing papers,” Dylan said. “I went to work as hard as I could to get as much money as possible so I could purchase the business.”

Business Financing

He bought scrap cars hoping to make enough profit to finance the purchase of the pawnshop. A stroke of luck came when the scrap market surged, allowing him to bolster his finances for the pawnshop purchase. Dylan’s ethos centered around autonomy and proving his capability to run his own business.


As Dylan’s pawnshop journey unfolded, he emphasized the importance of confidence, honesty, and hard work in business. He aimed not only to succeed but to innovate and outpace his competitors. By offering unique pawn loan structures and focusing on marketing and digital presence, Dylan strived to carve out a niche in the industry. In addition to the pawnshop, Dylan continues to run a scrap business and runs an eBay business.

“I hope I can inspire someone else who wants to take that leap into running their own business,” Dylan smiled.

Dylan shared his inspiring story at TREK on April 2, 2024.

More About TREK

TREK is a monthly gathering of small business owners and support organizations. It is a place to learn, share ideas, and talk about the local economy. There are no membership fees or attendance requirements. For more information, visit the TREK page.

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