Why I don't go to knife stores


Trevor Calder

Yesterday, I happened to be close enough to my nearest knife store that I dropped in to see what was new. I must be 6 months since I was last there, and I wondered if it had got better.

I looked around a bit, then went over to the salesperson and asked "if they had any liner locks" as I couldn't see any on display.

The salesperson caught me completely by surprise with a question I never expected.

"What's a liner lock?"
I feel your pain ;-)
I was going to make one of my rare stops at a real, live, knife store back in January. I live a couple hundred miles from nowhere, and had been saving my pennies to take with me, and wanted to see what all they had. I also wanted to bring a few of my knives along too, to see if they wanted to consign any for sale.

Well, I mentioned it to a friend I met through rec.knives, and he said, "hey, didn't you hear?" What he was telling me was that the only 'real' knife store up here in Minnesota, RFG Safe & Knife, had gotten rid of all the custom knives, and 90% of all the other lines of factory knives they used to carry. Instead of being able to walk into a store that had maybe 2,000 or so different knives to look at, they're now down to carrying Benchmade, Spyderco, CRKT, Microtech, and Reeve.
O.K., there are still some good knives in that bunch, but a reason to drive 200 miles to get there? Not now. Not only did I lose the only place outside of a knife show that I could go and touch and handle some nice custom work by other makers, and get to see basically everything out there in factory knives, they don't have anything I couldn't find on somebody's online catalog at a cheaper price.


When I sold consumer electronics it was a prerequesite to have at least basic product knowledge to work in the store. Even if it was their first day they had better know the answer to a question which would be similar to that one in it's simplicity.


Sal and Les are you guys ready for the meeting which is obviously needed! These stores are loosing business to internet dealers and here is just one classic example why. Then they are the loudest bitchers when they see internet dealers stomping their collective ass.


I know this does not go for all storefront dealers but I have heard very few positive stories and that is why people turn to the internet. They got questions and we got answers and product and sometimes a better price to boot!

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

Retail sales are retail sales. Today's knife sales person is tomorrow's toaster sales person. (Or garden hoses, air conditioners, etc., etc.)
A smart retailer would also put up a website, learn his product and take advantage of both markets instead of whining like any other special interest group or welfare recipient.
Compete or die!
It's enough to make ya sick, it is.

Well, folks, I'd rather have a knife store with an ignorant salesperson than having no knife store at all(like me in my corner of the world)....

Folks -- would it have been better to educate the salesperson for him/her to educate future customers, in turn?

[This message has been edited by Titan (edited 18 February 1999).]
I have seen my fair share of ignorant knife sales people. Most of them are in sporting goods stores. The problem with trying to educatesomeone behind the counter is that they usually get offended because some customer knows morethan they do. I have had the same problem with the so called Mac Techs at a local ISP, when they started to figger I knew more than them, they started to get beligerant. Worst time it happened was when I was getting my appendix pulled. I guess the doc assumed I was just another dumb teenage eskimo. When he was showing me a picture of the intestinal tract I pointed straight at the appendix, and said "there it is." He slammed the book shut and walked off in a huff. He got me back when it was time to check the dressing...

I am rambling on with examples because I know I hate it when someone tells me how to do something, or what something is. Most MegaLowMart employees don't care much for their jobs in the first place.

Even with the advent of all the new superstores here in Anchorage, I find it interesting that there are still ALOT of mom&pop gunstores around. Most gun buyers will forsake the cheaper prices for larger selections and knowledgeable service. Internet dealers Not only have the selection and better service (generally), but they also have the lower prices on top of that. That is why I do not buy from local MegaMarts, outfitters, or the lone knife store here in town.



"No, it's a Vaquero Grande in my pocket, but I am happy to see you!"
MegaFolderians Unite!!
Dremel Junkies Unite!
Dyslexics Untie!

Auhhh, I thought a liner lock was that thing that holds the shower curtain to the wall

Trevor, Did you show him what one looked like?
I found a good knife store!

Unfortunately, it's about 100 miles away, so I don't get there very often. It's in Hancock, MD. It's on the way to my in-laws, so I stopped there one day when we stopped in Hancock to get gas. Actually my daughter spotted it (proud pop).

The store is The Knife Corner and it's owned by Terry E. Morse and Gary L. Quackenbos. They have a nice selection of quality knives, some customs and even a few junk knives (something for everyone). They also carry knife making material. I believe at least some of the customs are there on consignment.

I talked to one of the owners (Terry, I think) and he seemed to know his knives. He does a little knife making himself, so appreciates what goes into it.

If any of you ever pass through Hancock, Maryland, you should stop in and say hello.
I think the real problem here is that the people behind the counters are not for the most part knife people.For all you know they could have been working in housewares and in a moment of need moved to the knife counter.They also aren't making a hell of a lot of money and really don't see a career happening at a knife counter at Wal-Mart.To put it in perspective how many people working in gas stations are mechanics.Just my ramblings on the matter.
My most recent retail experience was just this past weekend and, unfortunately, it typifies what I've come to expect. I was at Sports Authority to buy my daughter a pair of sneakers -- excuse me, "running shoes". Anyway, when we finished with her needs, we headed over to the outdoor sports area.

It really was pretty sad. The only edged tools actually displayed in the case were some multi-tools -- in fairness, a pretty good selection. Rather than knives themselves on display, there was a large poster in the glass case depicting various SAKs, some Bucks, and a few Spydercos (Delica, Endura, Ladybug, and a stainless Calypso). I asked the clerk if he had any other Spyderco models and he responded by tossing fully serrated Delica & Endura models and a Ladybug (all bubble-packed) on the countertop and saying, "These are all I have." The prices were Delica @$50, Endura @$60, & Ladybug @$30. (Surprisingly, they only wanted $70 for a LM Wave.) Enough said.

Please remember that we are participating in a rather speciallized hobby (passion). Like anything else that people buy, there are different levels of quality. "Joe-Average" will always want the average product. The average store/dealer will serve them adequately, much of the time.

Afficionados, like the people who visit this forum, will want a better product and will want to buy it from a store/dealer offering a higher level of service and product knowlege. Since the market is small, such stores/dealers are few and far between. They are out there, as indicated by Bob and others. I've run across them too.

The retail stores serve a purpose that the internet dealers cannot. It is difficult to try out a dozen different knives, side-by-side, except at a retail store. I know, I have bought stuff that I did not think that I would have liked, until I saw it in-the-flesh. This is not meant to run-down the (good) internet dealers. I have bought from some and been quite satisfied.

It seems that the page on this web site with links to various dealers could be a good resource for locating such stores (signs of forward thinking on Mike and Spark's part). Some more work may be required since not all dealers show up in the "sort by geographic location" link. Addresses and phone numbers would be helpful too.

The users of this forum could help to build this into a database of dealers who offer the type of service expected. It could also be useful when planning your travels, for business/work or pleasure.

I know it probably doesn't help Trevor (Australia) or myself (now New Zealand) much unless a "good" store opens up near our respective locations. We will only have access to this level of service through the internet dealers or store that will do mail order.

Who knows, Trevor, you might have to fly somewhere and stop-over in Hawaii where you could spend a few hours and run out to a store near the airport (run by two delightful ladies!) with some awesome custom stuff at great prices. I think I still have their card at home.

Thanks for the links page thought. I made it with that in mind as many great store are out there with out web sites. I was just such a store only 6 years ago and would have jumped at the chance to list my store. It is also a good thing to check when you are traveling to see if you will be going near a store. The only problem is I don't know where all the stores are. I have a list of all stores in the country but do not have the time to put it up on this site. A little help from the members would go a long way so go over to the links section and add any store you are aware of and have the phone number for. Thanks in advance for the help.

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

Mike- if you e-mail that list to me I'll add a few every night till it's done. Mike K. PS- And I don't want or expect a free knife in return. Just like to help the knuts.