What can you do to help your local shop?

Nov 14, 1998
I was reminded of a question while reading another post about local shops. Where I live, there weren't ever many knife places and those that tried quickly failed. There is a new shop in a mall near me, and I can see him becoming a statistic.

His prices hurt bad, his selection is more cheapo martial arts stuff than knives. He's got an excuse for why he doesn't carry each brand and can't tell any of them apart. I'm not sure if he's done this before or not, but I'd like to see him make it. I'm sure inventory and overhead are tough, and when I think about the business side of carrying a wide selection, it appears perilous for any small business person.

I can't help but think exposure to these forums and to the net itself would be a good idea. This is where we congregate, doesn't it make sense? What kind of information would I even mention or pass on to him?
Speaking with him, I got the impression he thought he was an expert, or at least trying to act like one. He carries BM, Cold Steel, Kershaw, Camillus, S&W, Case, and lots of Gil Hibben/United stuff. So I guess he's serious.

Any thoughts on how I might help?

To me a serious business owner will listen to legit advice. I would approach him and let him know that you are really into knives and can give him advice. If he blows you off then he's not a serious contender for survival. Here on the island I live on, any small business owner who blows off the advice of one of his customers would disappear fast. The business owners who listen have a better chance.

A new coffee bar opened in town and she has some good ideas, having computers with net access but she limits it to basic Internet Explore stuff. I approached her and told her to sign up with one or two of the ISP like AOL that way when a visiting Coast Guard Cutter or fishing boat comes into town people will have access to their accounts. She didn't know this info but she listen and that impressed me. I hope she makes it.

And Clip, I think you are right, we should try to help our community businesses when we can because they in turn help the community.

Enough rambling from me......let us know how it works out.

Kodiak Alaska

Here in the Boston area I think a big factor in what the city shops charge is the outrageous rent they pay.Chesapeke has a store right in Quincy Market which has some of the highest rents going.That and the fact that Quincy Market is the utimate tourist trap here.Stoddard's Cutlery Shop located in Boston also has a couple of branch stores that are in two of the most high priced malls on the east coast.I go on my lunch hour and look about once a month but I can't afford there price's example BM large Stryker $180,lrge Ascent $90,KISS $39 etc etc.I'm on a tight budget and when I buy knives I want the most for my buck,And I can easily get two maybe three knives for what these places charge for one.
Ah,...one of my favorite topics! Supporting you local cutlery shop. First, let me state up front, that this is not meant to delve into the internet vs. catalog vs. storefront issue. As a manufactor, I sell to all three, as an individual knife customer, I buy from all three.

For those of us that are LUCKY enough top have a local knifeshop, like Kelly 'Senator' Yates and myself, I think that they are special indeed, and worth supporting. The local knife shop has a tough time keeping open, like ANY small specialty store in the US. Yeah, I can buy knives cheaper at Walmart/Catalog/interet, but I can go get a new knife[ The Knife Shop in Ft. Mill, SC carries Spyderco, Benchmade, CRK&T, leatherman, and um....EDI ] right NOW!! I can also go fondel and compare different models side by side. I can do a little trading. I can sit back and drink a Grape Soda and talk knives with the owner, Bill Richardson, who isn't a modern tactical knife expert, yet, but he is learning. If he doesn't know, he'll call someone and try to find out. But he won't BS you. If you buy a small quanity, He'll give you a little discount. He tries.

I bought quite a few knives/sharpeners/flashlights/multitools for XMAS gifts, all from The Knifeshop, and while I could have called one of my 'connections' in the knife biz and saved a few dollars, I really ENJOYED 'trading' with my local shop and helped him with his xmas by spending a few dollars locally. The local Knife Shop really can help expand your knife 'fun'.

One of my favorite attributes of the local knife seller, is that its great turning friends onto knives. If a buddy is looking for groomsman's gifts for his wedding, its alot more effective to take him buy a Knife store than to show him pic.s on the net. I love to take friend's kids by the knife shop and show them all about knives. An eight year olds eyes get as big as the hole in a Spyderco Military blade after 2 min's in the Knife store. THey instantly know what they want for bday/xmas!

So, enough rambling on my part. I understand that most of you don't have a good local knife dealer, but if you do[even if he's not a 'good' one yet] give him a little support. Don't buy 'blindly' from him. Tell him what you can by that on the 'net for. If he gets close, you'll probally make a friend for buying it. He'll learn if he's good, if not he'll be out of biz soon, and you won't have a local knife shop.

Hope everyone has a Xmas Gift[knife] that is still coming in the mail !!!!!

Best Regards,

Will Fennell/EDI Knives
I agree Will - we are indeed lucky to have a good dealer in our area. Like I've said in other threads, it's nice to be able to hop down to The Knife Shop to actually handle some knives before purchasing them. All too often I've found that what I thought I'd really like, I don't after handling it in person. Plus, Bill's a great guy to shoot the breeze with about politics, the state of the country, or knives. He has a decent selection, and because his shop is located on Main Street (really) in a small S.C. town, his low overhead (at least compared to the mall dealers) allows him to come close to the internet dealers in price. Because his prices are very reasonable (how 'bout a BM 875S for $99?), and because I usually pay with a credit card, I don't haggle on price. He's got to make a profit to stay in business.

I've shopped locally, over the Net, and at shows. So far I've had great service from each of the dealers I've bought from. I've divided my business rather evenly, with roughly a third going to each segment. I think each segment is important, and each offers its own unique marketing/service advantage. I also think we owe something to the dealers that provide some tangible benifit to us as consumers - from James Mattis's 10% contibution to the charity of your choice, to The KnifeCenter's great website, to The Knife Shop's good local selection, to the show dealer that spends a half-hour of their time teaching/showing me about their latest offerings (at razor-thin profit margins no less.) I'd hate to lose any of these options.