Hard to believe its already time for another weekly update. Sometimes they feel like daily updates! The biggest news was the arrival and delivery of the Schatt & Morgan #3 EXP Mountain Man knives.
The S&M autos have been very well received but there’s a caveat to new buyers. These aren’t to be confused with the modern day Microtechs or Benchmade type tactical autos. The collectors of older auto’s for the most part know what to expect but the non-collector or those new to autos aren’t always aware of the difference. John Henry 71 and #3 EXP Mountain Man knives are throwbacks to an earlier time when most auto’s were built to be hard working tools used in the outdoors by hunters, ranchers, trappers and such. Reliability was the key and a smooth, light touch to deploy the blades were secondary to reliability. Queen did a great job carrying that authenticity forward.
I believe the last of the GEC 38’s came through this week in the form of the Sambar Stag. Now we wait for the run of 66’s. For whatever reason, folks seem to finally be getting a bit ‘irritated’ with the abundance of SFO’s and did I get an earful.
Briefly, some of the grumbling I heard (from multiple GEC collectors) was first, there just wasn’t much interesting coming out of GEC anymore. To paraphrase: …”It seems like they’re (GEC) taking a pattern and just putting 10 different colors of bone on them as SFO’s…. Production knives are being run in higher and higher quantities and only the SFO’s are limited in quantity….. You have to chase 5 or 6 dealers or individuals to collect all of the different handle colors…. I don’t think you even have to be a dealer to run an SFO (you don’t. Anyone can join in).
One customer asked me if I had considered working with all of the folks ordering the SFO’s, buying some of their knives and offering them through my store. NO, I haven’t. That’s already happening on a limited basis. Doesn’t make much sense to be a GEC distributor and have to go to a non-dealer to get inventory.
I can’t blame GEC for going for the sure sale. When you’ve got half a dozen dealers and individuals lined up to take 1000+ knives, that’s pretty hard to walk away from. It’s just an incredibly odd business model. Build up a dealer network and then turn your back on your dealers by working with anyone with a handful of $$ wanting to buy an SFO.
I’ve complained about all of the SFO’s and lack of regular production knives for a couple of years and have been criticized for complaining. I’ve been told countless times in the last 3 years from within GEC that there were considerations to cut back on the number of SFO’s and go back to producing more ‘regular production’ knives’. It seems the SFO’s will be and are becoming the ‘production’ run knives of the future from Great Eastern. Frankly, I could foresee the day when GEC becomes a private label company and for the most part vacates their identity. I think we’ve seen that happen with one of the patterns already.
I’ll no doubt be criticized for repeating these comments and that’s fine. This week has been the first time I’ve had so many individuals complain and ask what’s going on with GEC and I wanted to pass it on. It’s just good to know I’m not the only one that’s getting weary of all of this. Only one of the people I exchanged emails with said they’d spoken up and asked if GEC was going to go back to more regular production items. It’s not going to affect me in the long run but if you want to see things change, you have to speak up. Tell GEC.
In the past, GEC has made up a major portion of my business. As my sales continue to grow, I’m finding GEC is playing an ever decreasing part of that growth. They’re are other good things happening and that’s where my emphasis is shifting to.
But today, my emphasis is shifting to a prairie dog shoot and some time on the water!!! This afternoon is going to be spent at the reloading bench and getting things ready to head west. My golfing partner is going to be laid up with a bum knee for a month or so but at least I’ll have someone to drive the cart for me. Enjoy the weather!