Why I think we need more brick & mortar knife stores

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.
jzmtl
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Postby jzmtl » Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:10 pm

I don't think the economy for more local stores will work. There are only certain amount of demands, and more stores simply reduce the share of each store, who have to raise price to cover the cost now that their volume is down. Before long you have knife shops like eyeglass shops, one per block and 600% industry standard markup.

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Postby DRKBC » Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:35 pm

Bladekeeper wrote:That there is the difference too I agree the service getting to know staff having them ask how you are etc makes all the difference I referred to a company HH in my above post any one who has used them say the same thing "amazing service" really helpful etc.
That reason alone has made me order from them over a few pounds here and there plus their comms are great a local small retailer who deals with cash , rather than PayPal or credit cards has extra overheads for that alone plus insurance wise thief cost is higher.
The age of online shopping has put the small guy on the losing end in being able to price competitively against a store like knife works .
The op obviously wants to see more business in local shops so do I but the fact is it is down to the shopper to change too maybe if the local store coupled there business with a website , that frequent customers got free postage eg would help for the tines you needed to shop online.
In the instance of collecting spyderco though I think the range and keeping enough stock to meet supply is another issue maybe spyderco could have a system of approved local stores.
They could get the latest releases at an offer buy having spyderco as their top marque I don't know the answer but if I was asked would I pay an extra to buy locally I'd be happy too the problem comes when they can't get what you want/need .
I agree with many of your points but I think it is hard to get shoppers to change, the market will do what the market will do regardless of what the business owner would like. I think that in Canada and the US at least the website is not the only component but it's a key component for both the customer and the supplier. Our problem in Canada is geography and population, we have a big country with a small population and our centres are located hundreds of kilometers apart. So what that means for us is that, in small communities if you can't open up your territory via the Internet, you will go broke. We can't rely on a densely concentrated population like you have in the UK so we need to have the full package, a store with stock, a knowledgeable staff, fair pricing, good service and a big Internet component to support it. Our suppliers need to move a certain volume of product and the web offers that opportunity, if they don't have the internet there simply isn't enough business (at least in the small centres) for them to make a go of it.

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Mr Blonde
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Postby Mr Blonde » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:43 am

In the past I loved going to my local brick & mortar knifeshop. The shopowner was fun to hang out with and he was a knifeknut too. Things changed after the national distributor flat out refused to help me order the spydies I wanted (sprint runs etc...). I'll gladly pay extra for the privilege of going to a physical shop with a decent selection, knowledgeable staff who are willing and able to order the knives I want. In today's market I realize all these things might not be profitable 'enough'.
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mikerestivo
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Postby mikerestivo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:22 am

I live near Indianapolis and I have yet to locate a shop that carries Spyderco in any quantity. Gander Mountain is supposed to be a dealer but upon inspection they only had a (one) stainless scaled Delica in stock. Various gun shops claim to have some, but when I called two of them, the folks that answered the phone acted annoyed by my call (since it was about knives and not guns perhaps - not sure). The local gun shop in my town has a very small yet interesting collection of Al Mar, Lone Wolf, Emerson and Benchmade models, but no Spyderco.

The best I can figure, there is a shop in Fort Wayne, which is 2 hours plus away - I have not been there but hope to visit soon. Louisville, KY, may have some and it's about the same distance as Ft Wayne, but I have not done my recon down there.

The only one that I have visited in person so far is Grand Prairie Knives, which is outside of St Louis, MO. It's about 3 hours away and it's loaded with about everything a knife lover could want. I've been there 3 times over the past 3 years as we have taken mini-vacations there with my family. It's a nice shop but out of the way to say the least.

If anyone knows of a good shop in the Indy metro area, let me know.

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MOM & POP Stores bulit this country

Postby JD Spydo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:40 am

After just having my Debit Card raped for about $90 last week while trying to make a legitimate purchase I'm with you 1000% on wanting to see more specialty cutlery shops go up. Thank GOD I had insured protection on my card but it will still be up to 45 days before I get my funds back>> because of a spyware that was able to hi-jack my card number>> we had to totally cancel the Debit Card and they have to re-issue me another one. Great timing right here close to the holidays.

But I agree with you whole heartedly anyway because this country was truly built on "MOM & POP" type businesses and small businesses in general. It would just be great to go into a store and be able to see these great Spyders up close and personal. And be able to compare them to other manufacturer's goods and wares.

I live here in Kansas City, Missouri which is a pretty big town for the most part. We have close to 2 and a quarter million people here in this metro-plex but yet we have only one cutlery store that specializes in knives and such. But they mainly specialize in culinary type knives and tools. They do have a few Spyders ( very few) and a few Benchmades and a couple of Boker knives. They do also sell Surefire flashlights and I've done business with them and they are good people. But we don't have even one dedicated cutlery specialty store and for a city as big as this it's completely ridiculous.

Other than New Graham and a couple of other really good people I've dealt with over the internet I've truly had more unpleasant transactions than I've had good ones dealing with vendors on the internet. The internet just seems to be crawling with outright fraud and scams beyond belief. YES!! It's high time we got to be focusing on BRICK & MORTAR stores again. Because MOM & POP stores truly built this country and could rebuild it.
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Postby zhyla » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:58 am

My wife buys shoes online. If your wife can buy shoes online I see no reason why you'd need a brick and mortar store for knives. You just need an online shop with a good return policy. Wouldn't you rather order 4 or 5 Spydies, handle them for a few days, and send back the ones you didn't prefer? That's better than fondling each for a few minutes in a shop with an annoying sales guy in front of you. And the selection... :)
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Postby Leatherneck » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:25 pm

I literally live 4 minutes from a fully stocked knife shop. Spyderco, Benchmade, ZT, SOG, CS, Kershaw, Case,Boker, Al-Mar, Buck,etc.. He also has dozens of custom knives from famous makers and probably 3-4 hundred old slippies to look through. The shop owner is a former Marine and I am a retired Marine so we can have some good talks. I have spent $600 there but haven't gone back for months. Why? Because he charges MSRP and sometimes more! New Delicas for $109. Even with my military/buddy Marine discount it would likely be $89. I simply can't sustain my hobby paying an additional $30 for a common knife. I don't want to offend him by being just a "Handler". He says business is bad and can barely keep the doors open. I don't want to upset him but I wish I could run his shop for 6 months. New sign, new website & maybe a new supplier so the knives would actually sell. I love B&M stores but like many just can't go that far in paying much, much more.
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Blerv
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Postby Blerv » Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:28 pm

Most B&M shops end up being "lemmehold" hangouts. The employees often are semi-apathetic case assistants and not really salesfolk or educators. Again..."most" definitely not "all".

Can a knife shop survive amidst the 21st century of online sales in a downed economy? Of course. They just have to work a bit harder and sell a bit higher priced. As some have mentioned they have to provide something you CANNOT find online like community, return programs, sharpenings, or a reputation for something different than a cheap blade. IMHO it would be better for Spyderco to push programs with places like Cabelas which seem to have 5 models in their online store (:confused :) . People in those type of stores are already planning on spending a ton of money on gear.
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Ankerson
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Postby Ankerson » Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:12 pm

Blerv wrote:Most B&M shops end up being "lemmehold" hangouts. The employees often are semi-apathetic case assistants and not really salesfolk or educators. Again..."most" definitely not "all".

Oh yeah, you have that right, just like gun shops etc, they become hangouts for people who like to talk big and spend nothing more so than stores making money.

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Postby The Deacon » Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:07 pm

It would be great, but I think the only way it could happen is if all (or at least almost all) knife companies adopted a policy against discounting their products and I can't see an awful lot of "knife nuts" being happy with that idea. As it is some will whine when they have to choose between getting "only" 30% off and waiting. Today's playing field is just tilted too far in favor of low overhead internet discounters. There are even distributors who pervert the system by encouraging folks to set up websites that do nothing more than take orders for the distributor to drop ship. Very small profit for the site owner, but zero inventory, zero risk of loss in transit, zero hassle with returns. When faced with that type competition, it's hard enough for old line brick and mortar shops with a well established client base to survive. IMHO, a newcomer trying to start a brick & mortar knife business today wouldn't stand the chance of a snowball in hell.
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Blerv
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Postby Blerv » Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:45 pm

Yep MAP pricing would work well if enforced. I think ultimately that would ruin the collecting fun for some of us.

Danged if you do; danged if you don't. :(
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Postby DRKBC » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:55 pm

Dictating pricing is really hard cause people (dealers) don't play buy the rules but I still think it's possible to make it with competitive pricing as long as you have a strong Internet presence to take up the slack of the day to day. The other key component is low overhead meaning rent and staff which can be challenging but, it's a little less challenging than it's been. It's also a destination business, at least when you are talking about quality products, so you don't have to be situated in a mall. I think a good location (meaning with a market at your doorstep) and a good website ... its still doable. Let me end this with a giant IMHO.

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Ankerson
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Postby Ankerson » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:01 pm

If the store doesn't have a website I don't see how they can make it with the overhead, that's a website with good prices, not full MSRP.

And it would help to have the Store in a great location with a high population and be in a location that has another good retail draw in the same shopping center, but that would also mean a higher overhead.

Rent, Payroll, Insurance and Power isn't free and that's not even getting into inventory and the start up costs and the ave small business doesn't get into the black for 5 years so that would be a serious investment.

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Postby DRKBC » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:14 pm

Ankerson wrote:If the store doesn't have a website I don't see how they can make it with the overhead, that's a website with good prices, not full MSRP.

And it would help to have the Store in a great location with a high population and be in a location that has another good retail draw in the same shopping center, but that would also mean a higher overhead.

Rent, Payroll, Insurance and Power isn't free and that's not even getting into inventory and the start up costs and the ave small business doesn't get into the black for 5 years so that would be a serious investment.
I agree a mall in particular is the kiss death, high rent, percentage rent crappy hours to boot. Small business is always hard it would needs to be very lean and the payoff is not that great unlless you can pay for your own building from the revenue from the business or franchise it's pretty much buying yourself a job for a few years.


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