Making adjustments

Jon Waltersheit adjusts a bow for a customer at Little Jon’s Archery, which was started by his father, Jon, in 1984. People travel from outside the state to visit the Marshall store based on Waltersheit’s reputation as the best bow mechanic on the east side of the Mississippi River.

Hidden along a path of winding roads to southeast of Marshall is a small, unassuming property, shrouded in the foliage of evergreen and deciduous trees.

On a sign at the end of a short driveway is the only hint of what awaits guests — “Little Jon’s Archery World” — a business title that would not be evident when examining the location’s pair of plain-looking buildings. However, further exploration reveals of world filled with friendly, roaming bulldogs and walls of countless archery supplies, including state-of-the-art compound bows.

Little Jon’s Archery World, 5346 Missouri Road, is an outdoor supply store focusing on bowhunting and tuning archery equipment. The enterprise, which also features two archery ranges and offers hands-on lessons, is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 12-7 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 12-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 12-4 p.m.

The business employs three people including Jon Waltersheit, his wife Jennifer (who handles the books) and a part-time assistant. Waltersheit’s father, also named Jon, started Little Jon’s Archery in 1984.

“There was a need (for an archery store) way back when we started,” Waltersheit said. “There still is a need.”

Even with the rise of big-box stores such as Cabelas, Little Jon’s Archery World continues to thrive in its own archery niche.

“My expertise — that’s how we survive,” he said. “The people come from Montana, Colorado, Indiana, not just to buy the bow here and accessories, but for what I do to them.”

Little Jon’s Archery World features “everything archery,” Waltersheit said, including the “finest” bows, arrows, accessory items for the bows and also services such as assembling the bows and making sure they work properly.

“That’s what we call the magic — I am known to be very best bow mechanic this side of the Mississippi,” he quipped. “I have multiple reps that say I’m the only guy that can play with their bows.”Waltersheit’s labor costs $100 an hour, while his assistant’s labor costs $60 an hour.

“I’m the only guy in the state of Wisconsin that talks about your hunting points the same — I’m the only guy that guarantees broadhead and the fieldpoint (arrow tips) shoot in the same place,” he said. “That assures that whatever you purchased here or whatever you have in your arsenal of products, it is working in unison correctly together.”

The outdoor range at Little Jon’s Archery World features four block range targets set at 20, 30, 40 and 60 yards, respectively. Archers can purchase “5-spot,” “single-spot” and animal targets, while the range itself costs $7.50 for 30 minutes and $10 for an entire hour.

“The outdoor range is available while I’m here,” Waltersheit said. “We have a 60-plus yard range. You can get creative and get all the way to 70 yards if you want to. It’s also got a bench for the crossbow shooter.”

Little Jon’s Archery World also features an indoor TechnoHunt Shooting Range, a virtual target-shooting environment where archers can fire round-tipped arrows at a simulator screen. The range costs $12 for 30 minutes per person.

Archers can also set up personal “one-to-one” archery lessons or can learn as a group, which costs $25 (or $35 with bow adjustments).

“That entails teaching the people the correct way to shoot a bow,” he said. “Of course, there’s maybe several said ways to shoot the bow, but some ways are better than others and we’ve got several world class archers that come out of here. We just serve the public the best we can.”

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