I found a few different numbers when I looked. I saw one figure that I think was 36 worldwide.
Yeah, I saw that but wasn't sure how accurate it was. They reported 28 jobs for their PPP loan, so it's probably less than 50; 36 is probably pretty close.
I wonder if we will ever see the likes of someone like LT again. He's was the perfect combination of business savvy and carnival barker. Billy Mays with a broad sword. I think if anyone else attempted to be that, it just wouldn't come off as genuine. He really embodied the company and moved with the times without diluting his brand. He knew his lane and he kept to it. Crazy-strong folders, swords, and defense items marketed as something so utterly common place that the absurdity of the product was completely forgotten when you started to watch him beat up an employee with a scarf.
I wish him all the best. And I think what is happening in this thread is that we have a community disconnect between those being sad (and maybe a bit pessimistic) that a real cornerstone of our hobby is probably no more and those that are not ready to accept the probability that this really is the end of Cold Steel as we know it. Using educated speculation to be bummed (and a bit ticked off how the sale was handled) does not mean that we are out to get LT or run his company into the ground. It's really not been a dog pile, and those few that actually have been snarky about being glad CS is basically gone have been publicly chastised by many of us arguing our points about why Cold Steel most likely will not come out better at the end for real honest to goodness knife knuts (GSM profitability is not my concern).
At the end of the day, there are lot of things we don't know about this yet. However, there is a lot of information that we DO know that can't be ignored either. Furthermore, love, hate, or be lukewarm towards, the sale of Cold Steel is most certainly an end of an era. I think a lot of this would be been easier to digest if there had been an official statement on the subforum here. The way it was handled looks and smells like a corporate muzzle, so I don't begrudge people finding it dubious that Cold Steel is really going to move on to bigger and brighter things.
I think LT was able to "get away with" his personality because it'd been a staple in the industry for years. If somebody tried it today, it'd probably get panned like ZT's advertising. I think the only way you could really pull it off is to go the ironic route (something like TacticalKnifeBro).
I don't know if Cold Steel will ultimately change all that much, but I think it will probably change in a way that BF members won't like. Using an entirely un-scientific barometer, 32 of the 50 most popular Cold Steel products on BladeHQ are priced under $50 (and only 6 above $100). If roughly 2/3 of what they sell is budget-oriented, is it really that much of a change for them to stop catering as much to the high-end pocket knife crowd? Since folks around here tend to be myopic and a bit out of touch with how niche our hobby is, it's easy to forget that a huge part of Cold Steel's product catalog is cheap mall ninja "tactical machetes" and the like rather than enthusiast-grade knives.