2016 was and interesting year. To begin with, it was one of the shortest years I can remember. We had a great winter in this part of the world last winter which turned into a nicer summer and and a gorgeous, extended fall. All of a sudden it’s winter again!
From a business standpoint, it was a great year. I was lucky to have a number of really nice collections of older GEC knives come my way which helped drive TSA Knives to the second best year ever. This was further aided by the almost continual release of new products from Queen. The upcoming release of their 71 Express was an immediate sell-out with promises of more to come next year. There were internal changes made at Queen this year and it will be interesting to see what 2017 brings. So far, it looks positive.
The Trestle Pine Knives project was also incredibly gratifying. Thanks to Mike at WSSI I was able to offer some unique pieces of wood for the Portage and Grand Portage’s. There’s another release of the Superior coming up sometime in February/March, 2017. I made a few tweaks to the next release which should be a positive for everyone and a lot of handle options. You spoke, I tried to listen.
Great Eastern was a disappointment (from my standpoint) this year. Very few new products to get folks excited. If you like the #15 Boys knife series, you have to be a happy camper. For the last year and a half I’ve heard that GEC was going to shift back to building more ‘production’ knives but I don’t think that’s in their plans. No doubt it’s more profitable to stick with the SFO’s and build large quantities of a single pattern and you can’t fault them for that. It’s seems they’ve also found a price point they want to stay with in that sub $80 range. That’s a big market.
The knife business has changed greatly in the last 10 years and will no doubt continue to change. Good or bad, that’s the way it goes.
Speaking of change, I was in my hometown for a brief time over Christmas and helped finish cleaning out the last of the personal items in Dad’s house. It’s really funny what can trigger memories but this item caught my attention and brought back a few memories.
For those older folks you no doubt recognize this as a ‘skeleton key'(notice the “Germany” stamp? Yup, an import!!). There was a time up until probably the late 50’s, early 60’s when this was a common key that would open the locks on most houses particularly in rural areas. Everyone basically had the same simple lock on the front door that could no doubt be opened with most of your neighbors keys. In fact, you could go to the hardware store and pick up a new one in case you lost yours! You could also probably feel along the top of a lot of door jambs and find one ‘hidden’ away.
It’s amazing what a sense of security we felt when we locked the door. You just assumed if the door was locked no one would kick it in and surely would never be clever enough to be carrying a skeleton key. Of course, most of us didn’t have a lot of stuff to lose anyway!!
Today we have electronic locks, security cameras, alarm systems, personal safes, passwords and it’s still not enough to keep you and your stuff safe. Now we have chips in our Credit Cards to protect us but I remember the day of ‘counter checks’ at the grocery store and gas station. They were pads of check blanks from various local banks lying on the counter with no account numbers on them. You could pick out your banks blank check, fill out your name (no need for an account number) and write out a check. Today a lot of businesses won’t even accept a check. And of course if you lived in a small town, you most likely had an account at the local grocery store and gas station that you paid off on a monthly or quarterly basis.
So ya, things change. Not convinced it’s better but whadaya do???? Keep your head down, move forward and remember, there’s always next year!!!
Happy New Years!!!