Why buy from a local dealer?

Jul 4, 1999
I know, this has been covered before, but, why should I buy from my local dealer (a good guy, not one of these mall stores) when the internet prices seem so much lower?

Don't get me wrong, my guy here in Phoenix is awesome, but hey, 50 bucks is 50 bucks.

Remember--pointy end AWAY from you!

John 14:6

There are advantages and disadvantages to the internet vs. retail store.

The advantage of the retail store is that you get to handle the knife first. This is very valuable for brands such as Benchmade which have quality control problems. The obvious disadvantage is the high price.

The advantage of the internet is obviously the price. But, you have to keep in mind what if you purchase from the internet and you don't like the knife? You have to pay to return it. So, you pay for shipping to you and from you, which probably won't be reimbursed.

Buying from an internet dealer is fine if you know exactly what you want. It's just not fair if you go to a regular knife store and take up their time, fondle their knives and then go home and buy it online.


Because your local dealer offers a service you can not ever get from a I-Dealer. You get to talk face to face, play with the product and more.

I am not sure what percentage should be used but if they are more than 25% over the I-Dealer you may want to let them try to match or at least get close to an I-Deal. Just talk to them. You may be surprised that they will work with you. I had too back long before I was on the net. I know what they are going through.

The store front dealer has a lot more overhead than the I-Dealer. Support them when you can. And let them know they can have a web site to supplement their business.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

When was the last time some mail order place off in Tim Buk Two called you and said, "We just got in a new model we knew you'd be interested in."

When was the last time you called up a mail order place and they said, "Well, we're sold out of that knife. It's been very popular. But, we knew you'd want one, so we set one aside for you. I'll get it for you right now."

When was the last time you dropped in on your mail order house just to talk and stayed for an hour catching up on all the latest "inside" gossip and hearing stories about all kinds of knife history.

When was the last time your favorite mail order house called you up and said, "There was a fellow in here this morning asking if anyone wanted to buy some of his older knives. It's just the stuff you like. Here's his name and phone number."

When you call your mail order place, to they recognize your voice and immediately use your name?

A good local dealer is a good person to know.

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
If you buy from a local dealer that money stays in your area's economy and you are supporting a local business.

Plus what Mike said is quite relevant and Gollnick has hit the nail square on the head with his post.

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

The reasons given are very sound. There's a lot to be said for being able to see and handle a knife before purchasing. It's also very nice to be able to support your local shops.

In the near future of e-commerce a dealer or maker will not survive WITHOUT an Internet presence (unless he has low quantity - high desirable product). It is known fact - it is impossible to change it. It is happening in every industry, it will happen here as well.

I go to stores to see the knives, I buy them from I-dealers and save more than 50%. Yes, I cannot be sure the knife will be 100% OK, but I take the chance.

Even if you buy from your local store, it does not mean you are supporting your local community. Do you know where the taxes go??

Right now there is room for I-dealers and local stores as well and I think there always will be... just the ratio will change. As it happened with Wal Mart years ago...

There is nothing stopping you from buying from both! I purchase knives from dealers in England and from the USA. I am very glad that I have the option to do so as well. Sometimes the price differences can be amazing and sometimes they are quite close.
An example is that I would have to pay nearly £150 for a micarta handled Benchmade Mel Pardue in England when I managed to get one from the US for around $100. That is a BIG difference in price!
I agree with the other points made but it is not a sin to shop around.

I live in Oklahoma City (population 850,000).
There just are not any knife dealers around.
Sure, there are some limited inventories in the gun stores I frequent, but they are MSRP-plus.
Wal-Mart has a few, but they are far from a "local dealer".
About a year ago, I tried to support a locally owned knife-only shop.
They tried to "sell" me a worn out prototype AFO for $250. I felt like I was in a used car lot. That shop didn't make it. Certainly not because I did not buy that AFO.
I happen to think knives are best suited for e-commerce and I try to support a lot of different e-dealers.

[This message has been edited by Bill McWilliams (edited 13 September 1999).]
Being able to go to the store and talk about a knife is great. The problem I have is that I haven't found a local store that has anyone that knows what they're talking about. Plus, their inventories are pretty poor, so chances are I'm not going to be able to handle the knife I'm looking at. Under these circumstances, I'm more inclined to find opinions on knives from here and other web places, and then talk to an online dealer.
Let me put my 2 cents in (that's about what it's worth) for the wonderful world of online shopping. But first let me preface my remarks by saying that, by all means, buy locally for all the good reasons mentioned above.

In the area I live, there have not been many good knives readily available until only recently. I've lived in this area a little over two years and about 1 year ago made the rounds of all the sporting goods stores and complained (rather loudly) about their poor knife selection. The stores I frequented the most were the ones where I complained the most (but I tried to complain in a nice way

Anywho, during this dryspell, I discovered the world of online knives and I hafta say, the selection out there rivals anything I can find locally.

But recently some of the shops I frequent have made mega-increases in their knfe inventory and I've made some recent local purchases at excellent prices. Still the locals don't seem to know doodly squat about knives, they just seem to be picking up on the trend and going with the flow. So when I go into these local shops, the discussion is almost always one sided and if I start asking questions, I usually get blank expressions or looks like "who the hell does this guy think he is."

But online I can go to stores with reviews and links (that's how I found BladeForum) etc. So intellectually, except for local gun and knife shows, the online shopping experience is currently far more rewarding than visiting the locals.

Yes, online is big but I see a lot of personal touches and there are names and email that go with the sites.

I'm not saying it's the way we should be headed but it's way ahead of what's available here. I live in the Grand Rapids, MI area and the only true cutlery store is 1 1/2 hours from here, in E. Lansing. When I get a chance, I run over to E. Lansing, spend my money for a fix, and spend the rest of the time shopping on line or picking up what little I can find around here that I like.

It seems to me that in the world of knife shopping, you gotta make do with what you have and hope things improve.


Cogita tute

[This message has been edited by Hoodoo (edited 13 September 1999).]
I more or less agree with everything that's been said so far... with the possiblke exception of "it's a known fact... only internet knife dealers will survive in the futture." Facts and opinions seem to get easily confused.

I'm not sure why an ethical, reasonable local knife dealer couldn't survive by carrying reasonably priced, high quality cutlery. Why couldn't a local dealer's prices be comparable with internet dealers (including shipping & handling charges)?

I am forced to purchase exclusively from internet dealers as the Ann Arbor (MI) area does not have any cutlery shops (that I am aware of). Still, it would be very nice to actually see and handle some of the knives I desire before I shell out hard earned dollars for them.

I would be interested in helping to compile a listing (database) of "best local dealers" from the major cities in the U.S. We could list it somewhere on this forum site.

Just my $0.02


[This message has been edited by AJ (edited 13 September 1999).]
I forgot to put a BTW on my post, so here it is:

Stay away from pawn shops unless you want to pay MSRP! In my area, the pawn shops are charging Manufacturer's suggested retail price for cutlery and making a killing on unsuspecting consumers. I've seen prices on their second (third, fourth)hand pieces that are the same as what I would pay for at the local cutlery shop for a brand new piece.
Sooo, buyer beware!

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

I will not buy from a local dealer in my area. I live in a small town that the only places that sell knives are gun dealers. They care nothing about a $50.00 knife sale. They are not knowledgeable about knives and returns are unheard of. I realize that knives are not their main sales. The on-line dealers I deal with answer my questions and give me their personal options on knives. (I am not talking about the huge knife wholesalers.) They will hold knives for me and let me know when certain things become available. Any problems I have with products are quickly taken care. I had to look hard for these people, but it was worth it. For me it is all about good service and quality. I would love to have a local dealer to go to.

Drac Noroc

A mind is like a
parachute, it only functions when open.

AKTI # BA00013

I agree w/ Misque. For some reason, the few dealings I've had w/ pawn shops have been very bad ones. One time I bought a knife without taking time to check it out thoroughly. It was near closing time. I should have come back next week. The owner pushed the sale fast, and me a young stupid teenager bought a new overpriced linerlock that was sticky but would not lock. I didn't notice this until after the purchase outside of the store. Next day I took it back w/reciept and politely asked for a refund. Even though the store had halfa dozen customers in it, he flew into a tirate and tried to start a fight with me. I left the store. Chocked the loss up to experience. The jerk went out of business the next month.
This may be an exception, but I don't trust used car salesmen OR used knife/junk salemen.

It would be nice to support the local economy, but the local retailers that I've dealt with, ie. sporting goods and gun shops, do not carry much of a selection and do not want the trouble of special ordering something. OK with me. I just take my business elsewhere.
"But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword let him sell his garment and buy one." Luke 22:36 & John 3:18

[This message has been edited by EQUALIZER (edited 13 September 1999).]
I second AJ's idea of getting a database of local dealers. I know I would be willing to occasionally drive to some of the larger local cities to get a feel for knives I might be looking at in the near future.
To AJ: The idea of a local dealers list is great.

About the e-commerce. I was not talking only about knife dealers but in general about almost all dealers. It is fact that in about 4 years companies without Internet connection and presence will be history. This is of course not true for highly sought custom makers. If you are interested I can send you more info and my resources by e-mail.

About local knife dealers in my area. As far as I know there are only about three good knife shops in my country. The nearest one is about 110 miles away. And prices: For example Boker Specialist $ 200.00 - I got it from US I-dealer for 78.00. Local dealers will never get even close to I-dealers regarding the price - because of smaller market, higher overhead and other factors...

I'd go along with most of the comments given so far.

Local dealers are clueless and overpriced.
Or is that only in Oz?

"..it is foolishness and endless trouble to cast a
stone at every dog that barks at you.."
Well, Trevor, experiences obviously vary -- I have the good fortune of having the Forum's own Dennis Wright as my local dealer
here in San Diego (he's next-door in La Mesa, about a 20 minute drive).

(And I used to get to tell him the latest bits of news from the Internet, when I'd visit; now he's online, and on the Forum more than I am. So he's definitely not clueless

His prices are higher than the lowest online dealers, which is understandable, since he has to pay for the storefront, but in exchange for paying a bit more:
  • I get to look at anything that interests me in his well-stocked display cases (if a picture is worth 1000 words, actually holding the knife in your hand and opening and closing it a few times must be worth 1000 pictures),
  • When I decide to buy something, I get to inspect the actual knife I'm buying; if there's any question at all about the knife, he can pull another one out to compare against (I've had occasion to buy knives online that were not quite perfect, but not imperfect enough to make it worth going through the hassle of sending them back for replacement, especially when the replacement may have a slightly different set of imperfections -- ever had that happen?),
  • I walk out of the store with the knife I wanted in my hand (okay, in my pocket) right now -- immediate gratification is good
I think too many people, when considering price, look only at the price tag printed next to the knife, and assume (and count on) a perfect transaction. They don't consider shipping charges, shipping time, UPS's crash testing and scenic tour services, etc. They assume that the knife that arrives on their porch will be completely flawless and won't need to be returned -- yes, in many cases it will be, but what if it isn't? Then there's the extra hassle and expense of returning it, and hoping the replacement will fulfill your expectations.

One other aspect to consider is that once you have the knife in-hand, you may find that the design, handle finish, opening mechanism, etc., doesn't "fit" you as well as you thought it would. Better to find all this out standing at the counter, rather than after ripping open the UPS'ed boxes. I've also, on occasion, found that another knife in the case, which didn't thrill me in online pictures, turns out to be wonderful when seen/held up close.

One last thing: I consider the idea of visiting the local dealer to get all the hands-on close-up inspection time, and then ordering off the Internet to get the lowest price, to be reprehensible. The local dealers are selling a knife and a service. If you purposefully visit local but buy online, you are in effect stealing the service. Sort of like people who justify pirating software "because the price is too high". I hope that doesn't come off too strong -- my apologies if so. I'm not pointing any fingers here, just venting frustration at a "technique" that I've heard advanced as a neat idea somewhere along the way in the past.

My $0.02 (more like $0.25 -- I've been rambling again),
-- Carl