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

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Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 11:54 pm  Comments (1)  
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Knife industry and collectors are pitching in to help raise money for breast cancer cause

pinkribbonAll across America knife enthusiasts are uniting in support and are raising money to help fund research for breast cancer, as October is breast cancer awareness month. Robert Hale of Iron City Blades brought this coordinated effort of the knife industry and collectors to our attention.

Many makers and suppliers, including Iron City Blades, Spyderco, Buck, Ka-Bar, Victorinox, Shepherd Hills Cutlery,  Smoky Mountain Knife Works and others are offering knives, or have set aside production time and product line to pink handled ribbon-emblazoned products with all or part of the proceeds going to organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, National Breast Cancer Foundation and others.

The largest social network for knife collectors, iKnifeCollector, is also pitching in to help with an eBay auction of a Featured Membership with all proceeds are being donated. The iKnifeCollector auction is located on their community homepage.

Regardless of how you show your support, pitch in.


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

BREAKING NEWS: Customs Officially Backs Off

Late this afternoon CNJ was notified by Doug Ritter of Knife Rights of this good news. Below is Doug’s email-

Doug Ritter founder of KnifeRights.org

Doug Ritter founder of KnifeRights.org

Customs Officially Backs Off

In a letter to Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Customs and Border Protection has officially backed off their proposed revocations and rulemaking in recognition of the Amendment that was passed by the Senate which would add a new exception to the Switchblade Act covering assisted and one-hand opening knives, at least until the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill is acted upon in Conference Committee.

(more…)

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

Success in the Senate to protect our knife rights follow-up

As promised, here’s a more detailed explanation of the Senate’s passage of Amendment 1447- the act removing the broadening of the Custom & Border Patrol’s definition of a Switchblade.

Instead of attempting to reword and characterize the action, please allow me to provide Doug Ritter’s detailed explanation. Doug is the founder and chairman of Knife Rights- an knife advocacy organization that has been at the forefront of this effort to prevent the proposed ban.

Explanation of Amendment 1447

If you’d like more information on Knife Rights and Doug, please dial into Cutlery News Journal’s exclusive Audio Interview Series featuring Doug (it’s a podcast and can be listened to directly off the web). CNJ Audio Interview Series- Doug Ritter of Knife Rights

Smoky Mountain Knife Works Executive Killed in Accident

Lee Chipley, an executive of Smokey Mountain Knife Works, was killed earlier today while riding his 2009 Harley Davidson motorcycle on the way to work.

Tennessee Highway Patrol confirmed the accident occurred around 6:56 a. m. this morning when a Ford Explorer turned in front of Mr. Chipley.

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”

Popular Swiss Knife Maker Diversifying Product Line

What does a knife manufacturer whose brand is known worldwide do when times get tough? It diversifies.

logo_victorinoxVictorinox, the 125 year old Swiss knife maker, is now offering watches, shirts and perfume to bolster profits.

This old cutlery firm is the maker of the original Swiss Army Knife, first issued to the Swiss military in 1897.

In an recent interview with Reuters News Service, Victorinox Chief Executive, Carl Elsner said the new product line is breathing new life into the brand.

Two recent episodes- 9.11.2001 and the current credit crunch caused the firm to look outside cutlery for revenue by capitalizing on it brand’s recognition.

The firm posted a net profit of $436 million in 2008 evidencing its recovery from the decline in its knife sales resulting from the war of terror, and then came the current “credit crunch.” Mr. Elsener said in his interview this year has been the hardest year in the history of Victorinox.

safflash-2This old firm hasn’t rested on its laurels though. If you are a Swiss army knife fan undoubtedly you have noticed their recent innovations. Here’s my favorite-