Blade Show West Cancelled for 2010

Blade Magazine cancels the Pacific Northwest knife event

F+W Media President, David Blansfield, cites economy for canceling this year’s show. Blade Magazine is owned by F+W Media.

“Given the state of the exhibitor economy at present we have decided not to produce Blade Show West in 2010, but we will produce the event in subsequent years when we’re confident exhibitors will be able to support it.”

David Blansfield President, F+W Media

The good news is their 700 exhibitor Atlanta Show, the world’s largest knife show, scheduled for June 4, 5 and 6th 2010 is not affected by this decision and is full steam ahead.

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In case you haven’t heard- The Great Recession is over

It’s OK to start buying knives again. Spread the word.

grecessionThe Great Recession is technically over. Yes, the U. S. Government is officially calling an end to the worst economic period since the Great Depression. The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.5% annual pace in the third quarter, as massive government stimulus helped drag the economy out of the longest and deepest recession since the 1930s, the Commerce Department estimated last week.

moneyAnd while we still have some serious issues, if what we’re told is correct, we spent our way out of a bona fide depression (if that is really possible. I know I couldn’t do it-  I’d just get deeper into debt). That is good news, cause back around the end of last year things looked dire. Business screeched to a halt due to the tremendous uncertainty that permeated decisions at all levels.

We know it hit the knife industry hard, as buyers pulled back. But the storm is now over, so knife sales should now pick up, right? Production return back to normal, re-hiring at the plants and new product lines introduced. You know I’m only a knife collector, not an economist, but I think this is what’s supposed to happen. Isn’t it?

christmasI know unemployment nationally is 10.2%, home values have yet to stabilize (despite what NAR says) and folks are still struggling like nobody’s business, but they’re telling us The Great Recession is now over …..and just in time for Christmas.

Image Source: assets3.blurb.com, giantrobot.com, hittingmetalwithahammer.com

Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 11:54 pm  Comments (1)  
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How many knives will a trillion dollars buy?

How many knives will one trillion dollars buy? I didn’t have a calculator with enough digits, so thought this would help put it in perspective.

Published in: on October 22, 2009 at 6:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Benchmade Knife Company Hires New Employees

Benchmadlogo Benchmade Knife Company hired four new employees within the customer service, finance, and sales departments, as reported yesterday by SportsOneSource Media.

Published in: on September 23, 2009 at 6:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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Knife collecting still making the cut

us-economyThis year’s been a doozie and we’ve still got a quarter to go. We’ll end up at over a hundred bank closings. Auto maker bailouts. Record high foreclosures. Unemployment near 10%.  Record business and personal bankruptcies. Makes your head spin doesn’t it? Not since the Great Depression has our country been hammered like it has this year.

CNJ reported successful knife makers reduced employee’s salaries or have been forced to adjust by laying off workers due to low knife sales. In some cases other business failures have impacted knife companies too- distributors, retailers and suppliers.

In regard to our knife organizations, the timing of this severe downturn couldn’t be worse, as most need the steady revenue while the leaderships conduct SWAT analysis on their organizations. The economy’s caused many collectors to drop club and association memberships.

economyThe dark-side of the recession is also having it’s toll on collectors in other areas too. More collectors are selling knives to help make ends meet. I spoke with another collector yesterday who is selling because he needs the cash.

One knife industry expert claims, incidentally, these collectors will become tomorrow’s dealers. His theory is this-  these individuals who do need to sell will hit the show circuit in order to liquidate. Then they will eventually need to buy more knives from other dealers in order to have additional inventory to sale. I think that is hog wash, personally. The guy I mentioned earlier who is selling off a major chunk of his collection isn’t going to set up at shows- he’s using eBay.

Even with the tough times, knife collecting is still making the cut.

The 2009 CNJ Knife Collector Survey taken earlier this year revealed almost half of the 1300 collectors surveyed stated their participation in the hobby hasn’t been affected by the recession.

Click to enlarge

2009 Knife Collector Survey Q#6 II

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There is an additional bright-side to all this too- Record low interest rates and tremendous investment buying opportunities. Untold billions will be made as a result of this recession. Cash rich companies and individuals will make a fortune buying in a down market, but when we do come out of this-  the business landscape will look all together different.

Don’t be surprised if there are some knife company mergers and buy-outs before this is all said and done too.

Photo credits: http://www.uml.edu; http://www.blogtrepreneur.com

A lesson from cutlery history: Getting knife buyers to buy

bluelightIn hard economic times what is the most common approach used by retailers and knife company dealers to sell more knives? You guessed it- cut the prices.

Today, there is no doubt everyone involved in selling goods and services is feeling the pinch of consumers pulling back. The tightening of the purse strings started back around October of last year. Since then it seems everyone is running a sale.

Got an email notice from a knife manufacturer just yesterday about a “One-half off for one day only” sale.

One Case dealer in North Carolina ran a special on all Case knives for 20% off. The business owner commented after the sale, “We actually made a few sales that day.”

But this phenomenon of running a sale to move merchandise- and in our case, knives is nothing new. In fact, it was such a problem in the 1930’s a cutlery publication tried to rein in the knife industry through a series of editorials and articles.

painescutjrnlmastheadOne  such example-  June 1932 edition of Paine’s Cutlery Journal reported, “It is suicide, of course, to merely slash prices in order to get business, and the business man who thinks he can beat a cost plus profit basis better give up now.”

In many cases, the answer, according the PCJ was more and continued advertising. If one subscribes to this theory, then today the approach would be broader than simply advertising- running ads- it’s having a strong market presence and brand awareness to help achieve what is called in the marketing world as “top of mind consciousness” among the targeted group. And in a highly fragmented market, like we have today, one of the best approaches knife companies and dealers have is to go where the knife collectors and buyers spend a great deal of time- online.

The weak economy continues to impact Knife Industry

BuckLogoLast week, Buck Knives announced it was cutting 200 employees salary to hold its own through these uncertain economic times.

The Coeur d’Alene Press reported the Post Falls, Idaho knife company, one of the largest employers in Northern Idaho, made a 10 percent reduction in pay and/or work hours. While the company hasn’t had layoffs in several months this move is a result of “economic woes endured by Buck’s customers” that continues to impact Buck according to Phil Duckett, Buck COO in an interview with staff writer Brian Walker. Buck had multiple layoffs during 2008.

“One of our significant customers is off- plan over 20%, and we have had multiple customers file for bankruptcy,” Ducket said. “(Those) are the major factors in the action we’ve taken.”

Published in: on August 9, 2009 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Leading Knife Companies Hold Gigantic Knife Auctions

Now that it appears the immediate threat to the Knife Manufacturers is well in hand, these companies’ focus is back to the business. Yes, before the recent scare about the Customs and Border Patrol redefining a switchblade, the knife makers had a more pressing problem- very sluggish knife sales.

Knife companies, like other manufacturers, are trying to balance production against sales orders. Unfortunately, knife companies are out there with a high level of knives produced before the severity of this current economic slowdown was clear.

In the past, knife companies found themselves in a similar dilemma, that is a substantial inventory on hand and insufficient demand through their normal channels to absorb it within a reasonable period of time.

Knife inventory represents precious capital.

J P King Auction Did you know cutlery history provides us examples of knife companies actually cooperating together during tough economic times to sell off their respective knife inventory?

Knife companies joined forces to hold gigantic knife auctions.

gavelA large two day auction of pocket knives and other cutlery was held on February 13 & 14, 1877.  John Russell Cutlery Company, Meriden Cutlery Company, Lamson & Goodnow, Frary & Clark, Beaver Falls and Chicago Cutlery contributed inventory. The New York Times reported “..the prices obtained were extremely satisfactory, being well up to current market prices. There was a very large attendance, including representatives of the leading houses in Boston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Chicago, Baltimore, and even San Francisco.”

gavelAlso another very large 4 day sale conducted in New York that same year. The knife inventory was contributed directly from the manufacturers. Buyers came from all over the country, including 156 wholesale and dealer firms, as reported in the August 13th 1877 edition of The New York Times. The articles also notes, “Prices ran well, and the sale is said to indicate that there will be a good demand for cutlery this fall and that prices will be stiffly maintained.”

gavelThe next year another auction was held for “large quantities of hunting knives, pocket knives, skinning knives, sticking knives, and other similar articles.” The two day auction was held July 24 & 25, 1878 and was reported by The New York Times. The article states, “Bidding was spirited and fair prices realized.” And while a lot might contain a single knife or dozens of knives, in all 2481 lots were offered.

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With the advances in technology, compared to the late 1800s, the auction bidding could be simultaneously offered online and “live” right from the auction room. The firms with inventory in the auction would be allowed to set up booths outside the auction ballroom to promote their firm- much like a huge knife show- but the difference is the real purpose behind the event would be the auction, unlike today, where the auctions are but a side note to the knife shows.

Wouldn’t it be exciting to attend an auction of current production knives represented by all the top knife manufacturers?

It would be hotter than the Blade Show and the SHOT Show combined!

Photo credit: J P King Auction Company

W R Case lays off 45 additional associates

caselogoReporting some knife collector news is not fun and this “news” is one of those. Last week, Case announced its third round of lay-offs this year. As reported in the Bradford Era, last Thursday Case laid off an additional 45 associates.

The culprit of the 154 layoffs is the current economic conditions we are in the middle of here in the US. Folks have tightened their belts and are holding off on buying non-necessities, even to the point of purchasing fewer knives.

“Reducing our work forces is an unfortunate outcome of the current economic environment. We will continue to evaluate our staffing needs until the economy regains strength.” said Chief Executive Officer Tom Arrowsmith in the release put out by the company the end of last week and as reported in the Bradford paper.

Case is continuing to develop new knife offerings to stimulate sales and hopes it will be in a position to bring back these associates in the future.

Published in: on July 9, 2009 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Economic Impact of Knives in the U S.

By now you have read or watched about the U S Customs Service broadening the definition of a switchblade to include assisted opening knives. While I am not surprised by this move one bit, it strikes me as very poor timing.

We are bumping a 10% unemployment rate here in the US and the lose of jobs, or entire industries, is the last thing we need right now. My gracious, unless the current Admininstration is also wanting to take over the knife manufacturers, then they best pass the word down to Customs to back off.

The finanical impact knives have on our economy- The U. S. Sporting Knife Industry accounts for a $5.9 Billion impact.

  • 3881 direct U.S. Employees of 61 Companies
  • 19,405 Ancillary Support Jobs in other Industries
  • $986 Million Gross Revenues at the manufacturer/importer level

Then comes the biggie-

80% of all knives sold are Assisted-Openers and One-handed knives!

Statics: Provided by the American Knife & Tool Institute– “Fighting to protect our knife rights”