I’m moving the weekly update up a day as there have been inquires about some business changes I’ve made regarding the Auto knife portion of TSA Knives, LLC. If you haven’t noticed, they disappeared from the store yesterday. Let me start by giving you some background.
I’m well past retirement age and through the summer I struggled with a decision to retire, scale back or just keep going as I have. Business has been outstanding and growing steadily. It’s hard to walk away from a successful business but at the same time you really want to have more time to spend doing the things you really enjoy while you can. This summer I spent more time doing some of those things and ….. it was great. At the same time, I still enjoyed the business side of life but on a more limited basis. I didn’t answer the phone every time it rang. I backed off on some of the quantities of product I brought in and in some cases, skipped new releases completely. Amazingly, it didn’t negatively affect the bottom line $$. I picked up several substantial collections, did more sales off line than I have in the past and saw the Trestle Pine Knives get some traction.
A year ago, I decided to carry the new Auto’s from Queen and due to Minnesota’s archaic switch blade laws, I rented office space in North Dakota (switchblade friendly) to stay within the law. All the proper filings were made to establish a legal presence in ND, sales tax numbers and LLC requirements fulfilled. Not only was it an additional expense, it was, on occasion, a pain in the ass. Every now and then, orders were shipped to the wrong address and it’s a 100 mile, 2 hour round trip to visit that office. When you get there and find out the package isn’t, kind of ruins your morning.
While numerous states have made switchblades legal, Minnesota is still dragging their feet in revising the law so going forward, to continue operations the only option was to retain the North Dakota location. When I evaluated the time and cost of selling the autos, I made the decision to drop the line of switchblades and not renew the lease on the ND office. What aided the decision was an opportunity to move all of my remaining inventory in a single transaction.
So what happens going forward? I plan to really look at the business and make a few more changes to make things a little easier while still keeping my fingers in the business (probably not the best analogy based on my stitch count). While I have a lot of inventory that’s still not in the store, I may look at scaling back more of my purchases, only pick up the items I’m really interested in, work on cleaning up more of the odds and ends and maybe look at some different items that are less labor intensive. Getting a shipment of 50 or 60 knives, shooting the photo’s and getting them listed takes more than a little time and effort.
The Trestle Pine Knives is one area I’d like to concentrate on more. There’s a new model coming soon (the Gunflint) and I’ll be bringing out more of the fixed blade Buddy’s toward the end of the year. I’ve got another idea or two in my head for the first part of the year.
AND, I’d really like to spend more time acquiring collections of old obsolete ammunition, used gun parts, scopes, and other hunting and shooting items. It’s just fun (for me anyway) to deal in that old stuff. I’ve never advertised it in the past but I’ve made a number of trades for used rifle scopes, gun parts, reloading miscellany and such for knives. That’s something I’m always interested in. In fact, one of the early transactions I made a number of years ago with a well known customer involved a rather extensive collection of Colt parts for some cash and a knife or two I believe. And more recently, another really good customer took around 30# of miscellaneous parts off my hands.
Anyway, the main point is I’m not going out of the knife business but I am making some business changes. Other then the disappearance of the auto’s, you probably won’t see many other startling changes happen overnite. But as opportunities arise…..who knows???