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PCM Explorer

Business is booming

Liberty Tree Armory and Trading Post opens in Monroe; Grand opening event Saturday

Starting a couple of weeks ago, cars could be found lining Taylor Street and Marion Street in Monroe near the MG Masonry building. No, a new found following had not started for brickwork, Liberty Tree Armory and Trading Post had opened its doors to the public.

Filled with guns, gas and oil memorabilia and historical pieces, the shop has had visitors flooding through the doors, which is just fine for owners Jim Nelson and Mark Steele.

“Hundreds in the first week. We opened Sept. 2,” Steele said.

The duo, who have actually known each other since childhood, reconnected later in life over their shared interest in guns. More in tune with the antique pieces, they bought and sold their collections for years before coming together to open their own place.

“I had an auction company before this so I had several firearms licenses. Me and Mark have known each other for several years and have been talking about doing a gun shop or a business. We kind of started at my house in one of my buildings and we quickly outgrew it. We needed somewhere to go,” Nelson said.

After looking all throughout Jasper County and at several buildings that came available in Monroe, Steele saw a post from MG Masonry owner Malloree Simmons who was looking to lease some space in her building. After taking a look at what was available, the guys knew it would be perfect for them.

“We came in to look at it and she said we can lease you the center and I said, what do you want for both sides. We ended up leasing about 4,000 square feet,” Steele said.

In the space, remodeled with rustic ceilings, exposed brick, a new vault and bars over the windows for security, a variety of pieces from antique guns to World War II artifacts and movie star memorabilia fill the cases and shelves. Steele said they would like to get more in the shop but the current market is a tough go.

“We buy antique guns, we have some rare guns. We’re not as much into the modern stuff as the antiques, history. We have a couple of John Wayne family guns that Michael Wayne had,” Steele said. “We have a couple of coffee mugs, John Wayne gave those to his secretary, Emma, so they call those the John Wayne movie mugs. They are actually, if you look online, they go from about $1,000 to $6,000 a coffee mug. It’s a part of history.”

Also available at the shop is Affordable Automotive run by Nelson who is an automotive teacher by trade. He said most work is available including oil changes and the space has a brand new lift to get things done.

To celebrate the business’s new location, a Grand Opening event is planned from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 107 N. Taylor St. A barbecue enthusiast, Steele will be smoking up meat to go along with snacks and drinks for the event. Anyone is invited to attend and check out the new space.

For more information about the Liberty Tree Armory and Trading Post, visit their Facebook page or just stop in and say “hi.”

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or

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