Top Dollar Pawn, home of three garishly painted gorillas, has been sold to a new owner.

The Vicksburg landmark that is most famous for the brightly colored gorillas out front has changed ownership.

Joan Tremaine and her husband Phil, with the unwavering support of the community, opened and operated the pawn shop some 40 years ago. “My husband came up with the gorillas and we had to fight city hall to keep them,” said Tremaine. “They passed an ordinance that said there couldn’t be any garish colors on the main streets coming into Vicksburg. But we won because we were grandfathered in.”

Joan Tremaine
Joan Tremaine. Photo by David Day

Tremain’s husband passed away in November 2013, and she took over the business and has operated it ever since. “He was a welder, and he always wanted a pawn shop,” she explained. “We started out in a little building across from the fire station on Washington Street. We soon outgrew that, and when this building became available, we got it.”

Top Dollar’s new owner, Wesley Nichols, explained why he wanted to get into the pawn business: “I’ve already been called the Fred Sanford of Vicksburg because I buy, sell, and do different things. I’ve also been in the gun business for a pretty long time and enjoyed that. So I decided to combine all that together with friends pushing me in this direction.”

wes nichols
Wesley Nichols, photo by David Day

Talking about his plans for the business, Nichols said, “We want to keep the mom-and-pop feel. All we’re going to do is update a bit with a computer and modernize a few things so we can keep up with stuff better. That’s about it. Everything is still here, all the stickers are still good, and we’re going to keep on trying to do business. Far as the public goes,¬†we’re going to try and be a good neighbor and a good Vicksburg business.”

Nichols went on to invite the community to drop in and visit the store located at 3421 Washington Street in Vicksburg. “We are having a Big Sale this weekend, Saturday, May 4th. Everything is going to be 50% off except guns, ammo, and archery equipment.”