It was good to see some of you make it to the Detroit Lakes show this past weekend. Thought I’d follow up and pass on a few notes.
Last year the DL show wasn’t held due to a major remodeling project at the Armory. The Armory looks 100% better and was worth the time and effort. I do think shutting the show for a year did throw off the rhythm a bit and attendance was really down this year. On the good side, the folks that showed up were ready to buy.
The last show I attended in Fergus Falls resulted in the sale of a number of the Artisan Cutlery knives. It was interesting to get to talk to some of the people who had purchased them to get some feedback. Everyone I spoke with had nothing but positive comments. One customer bought a second Artisan at the show. The consensus is for the price, Artisan represents one helluva value for an EDC knife.
White River was another knife that got a lot of attention. They came in a bit late for hunting season but one of my customers has been using his Backpacker Pro on a regular basis and he said he wouldn’t part with it. The workmanship and materials are top notch.
I picked up several NIB Benchmade knives in a collection this winter and took them to the show. Both sold the first day. I have a Benchmade that I’ve carried from time to time and like the knife. With so many knife options out there, I’ve just never seriously considered carrying them. I’ve never listed any in the store but I may end up adding a few to the inventory.
It’s really interesting to see the difference between what sells online and what sells at the shows. Part of it has to do with the ability to touch and feel the knife. Another difference is the ability to actually talk to the customer and answer their questions in ‘real time’. And finally, it’s interesting how many people still have (or are developing) an aversion to buying on line. Or they don’t use the internet. Hard to imagine.
Most of my local customers are people that use their knives. While they may also collect, they lean toward Case (as a collectible), and a high percentage have no idea who Great Eastern Cutlery is. They’re also more interested in quality used collectible knives. NIB is great, but a nice clean stockman that’s been taken care of always gets a second look.
It’s interesting to talk to knife enthusiasts in person. You tend to develop beliefs based on current experience which get blown apart when you enter a different off line environment. When your working with someone its fun to pick up a knife they’ve never seen or considered and watch them open up to a ‘new’ idea. I really enjoy the one on one interaction and wish it was possible to do more of it. I love the internet for sales, but…..