I'm pretty sure Howard Korn of KnifeCenter will allow you to stop by the warehouse to get your fix. They are located in College Park, MD just a few minutes away from the Univ of MD campus. Give him a riing beforehand 1.800.338.6799
There's a nice knife shop in Frederick, MD off I-270. I don't remember the name, hopefully one of the other forum members can supply it. It's right around the historic "downtown" area. Been awhile since I've been there but he had a nice, if somewhat small, collection of customs at the time and a lot of higher end production pieces. Very friendly too. I'm going to go try to hunt the name and address down for you. I know he's in the phone book.
If you look up Spyderco dealers on the Spyderco site, there is a very nice store down in Fredericksburg, Virginia, about one hour south on I-95 towards Richmond. There is also a nice shop on Caroline Street, the main drag, called the Celtic Connection that has loads of Scots and Irish things, including cutlery and wonderful music tapes and CDs (810 Caroline Street). If you keep truckin' down I-95 towards Richmond, exit at the Hanover House at Atlee (I think) and go right over to Route 1. You will see a gunstore called Greentops. It is one of the largest in Virginia and it is a great place to browse and to hang out. That part of Virginia is still pretty civilized about guns and knives, so they don't look at us as if we are freaks. Heck, Virginia even has a "will issue" CCW law, not that Northern Va. likes it much.
Sometimes Galyans sporting goods has a decent selection of mid to low range knives. definitely stay away from Chesapeake Knife and Tool if you don't want to be ripped off. They have a nice crossection of knives, but way, way, overpriced. I'm going to check out that store in Frederick, MD, as soon as I can find my way up there.
Yeah, you do have to get out of the DC area, except that I have discovered that Chesapeake Knife & Tool will be happy to meet any reasonable catalogue price, if you show them the catalogue. But you must remember that any brick and mortar dealer has to meet costs that the average internet dealer does not have to meet, so his costs will be higher, and his prices will, therefore, be higher. Sal Glesser of Spyderco has discussed this situation many time in his forum.
I looked up the name of the Spydie dealer on Fredericksburg, VA. It is Corky's at 921 Caroline Street. The telephone is 540-373-4984, and it usually has a goodly selection of cutlery to check out.
Thanks for the info Hugh. I'm fine with brick and mortar stores charging more, I'm just tired of having no selection at a store after seeing so many cool knives online. I'm going to check out Corky's this weekend if time allows...
Some of the staff at the Chesapeake Knife & Tool at the Mongomery Mall in Bethesda, are willing to negotiate. They have a decent selection of production knives (Sebenza, William Henry, Benchmade, CRKT, Emerson, Spyderco etc). As long as you don't mind paying a bit more than mail order houses for the ability to handle all the knives, then there is some value. One guy there told me that they are authorized to discount 25% off list. You have to catch the right person, however, as others at that same store are not interested in negotiating. Simply explain to them that you can get this knife mail order or through the internet but that you understand that the mall store will have higher overheard and you appreciate that you can try out the knives first and so you are willing to pay more than mail order but want to be reasonable about how much more. List price is certainly out of line. You tell them all this after you have handle the knives. What's the worse they can do, say no.
I don't know about the people at the CK&T store at Montgomery Mall, but the folks at their Springfield Mall store are really very knife savvy and will usually bargain if you show them a catalogue or something to back up your claim. Man you should have seen them jump, however, when I pulled out my Sifu to show them, flipping it open as I brought it up. They knew that I was doing this, as I had warned them, but they still jumped. Both of the guys there wanted to carry REKAT, but said that the home office says no. I guess REKAT is just too baldly self-defense oriented for them.