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Lets talk GEC!

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by rockgolfer, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. Tx308

    Tx308 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 30, 2014
    The way I see it is that the chase was for the SFO's instead of the regular factory offerings thereby slowing sales of regular factory offerings. Perhaps this is being done to increase the market for GEC, Northfield and Tidioute. I could see them doing a pattern with a few different handle materials in larger batches like has been the case lately but with the addition of a limited number of 'special' handle options in smaller quantities. So instead of the companies with the SFO's setting prices it will be GEC and could mean more profit for them in the long run. Personally I appreciate the fact that the SFO chase has come to an end.
  2. Pàdruig

    Pàdruig Live and Let Die Platinum Member

    Dec 1, 2016
    I am just catching wind of this - I thought something was up when I read Mike saying that the two announced #33 variants were going to be it.

    This is rather tragic really as it has pretty far reaching implications for a lot of folks. Even if KSF, Waynorth, M&G, and others are able to move their brands elsewhere, I can't see the end products measuring up quite as well to what GEC has been able to produce in the past. This is going to hurt - a lot - my sympathies are with these companies/brands/people.

    I understand the sentiments regarding lolly scrambles and the subsequent flipping. That said, this is only going to serve to diminish GEC's brand if this is more than a temporary thing. Sure, I expect that whatever knives they continue to produce will be top notch as always but the lack of variety and outside vision that come with non house brands and SFOs is going to have quite the dampening effect.

    It really is a shame.

    I will continue to support them in anyway I can but I certainly will not be letting any of my SFOs go - they just became rather priceless.
    Jolipapa, tmd_87, Quiet and 8 others like this.
  3. Kiteman72

    Kiteman72 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 22, 2015
    I simply can't fathom GEC doing this to their rather extensive system of SFO dealers in a permanent fashion.

    I am certainly hoping the situation is a temporary one.
    tmd_87 likes this.
  4. fishin1635

    fishin1635 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 8, 2010
    This has the fb groups blowing up with questions, comments and concerns too. I feel bad for the distributors, that’s all they need now is more uncertainty. Only time will tell...
  5. blademan 13

    blademan 13 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 25, 2000
    I don’t like to speculate on the reasoning behind the decision to cease SFO’s and non-GEC branded production, I figure all will be revealed in due time. We may never know the true reasoning behind the decision but we will get to see how it all plays out. We may also never know if Bill is playing the hand dealt to him, or one he dealt himself? GEC has always been a little reserved in sharing their thoughts.

    I can’t help but wonder though what this means going forward as far as product offerings? There really is no reason that GEC could not offer all the variety seen in the past SFO’s with their own offerings? They certainly have the ability to produce the large @3,000 piece pattern runs in 4 or 5 cover choices and simply sprinkle in limited @50 piece runs of more desirable covers such as stag and the more exotic woods? This would provide both availability for the masses and some degree of exclusivity for the collectors all the while keeping production GEC branded. I also can’t help but imagine the possibilities of other trademarked names from the past being resurrected? That could be a very cool development.
    JonMcD and Augie like this.
  6. willc

    willc Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 13, 2013
    Thinking about this I think GEC made a good move.
    The last time I had the ability to purchase from a dealer a 77, TC Barlow, or any Northwoods knife has been at least 3 years.

    If they cannot make enough of these I am happy to see them go.
  7. Scott J.

    Scott J. Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 8, 2019
    They can.
    The limited availability is part of the charm and their business model not to store inventory or let supply beat demand
  8. Ron Sabbagh

    Ron Sabbagh Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 15, 1999
    I live in the small state of DE and I personally know 3 people that lost their businesses due to COVID. Others, including my company, have had to make significant changes

    Now I don’t know Bill Howard but I get the feeling he is a friend to all knife collectors and I would bet he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do to keep GEC operational without a sacrifice in quality.

    I say give the man & the company a little leeway. Never say never. SFO’s may be back on the table someday. I like GEC and I’ll continue to buy them and support a great American company
  9. bax229

    bax229 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 7, 2016
    Well said
    Tadeusz123, hornetguy and Fox79 like this.
  10. blanco112

    blanco112 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 1, 2016
    Just did the math and a full 96% of the GECs I own would no longer be made by them. o_O
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  11. BuckShack

    BuckShack Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 19, 2015
    There must be a good reason. I'm sure it's to benefit the continuation of the business and employee jobs. I will most likely support them because they make good knives. :thumbsup::thumbsup:
    Patrick Robbins likes this.
  12. Markeologist

    Markeologist Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 21, 2018
    Many SFOs including some of the most popular were still labeled as GEC knives including the TC and NF Barlows. As such, the thought that dropping SFOs allows them to concentrate on the GEC brands is somewhat misleading. I bet the SFOs for the GEC-branded knives far outstrips the Northwoods, Maher & Grosch, and club knife-type SFOs. Also, those who contracted for SFOs had financial skin in the game...you just don't call GEC and ask them to make a run of knives for you, you have to pony up funds for the SFO to be produced. As such, GEC's financial risks were reduced. Seems to me, if GEC was in severe financial stress that they would welcome the infusion of cash to produce SFOs. Just my opinion but GEC has been buying new equipment and ramping up production over the last several years. I think they may just be simplifying their production, more knives, probably less options (i.e., streamlining). I tend to favor this as a simple business decision to maximize their bottom line.
    ArchVV, Jolipapa, L.H.S and 1 other person like this.
  13. Camillus

    Camillus Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2015
    Yeah I agree. I feel that the recent decision to make the branding on SFO knives extra large was a tell-tale sign too. My take on this change was that GEC wanted to change its position in the market, to more clearly position its brand as the pre-eminent knife. Dispensing with SFO production altogether is consistent with that approach. I am just speculating, but I think this change has more to do with marketing strategy than it does production pressures.
    Tx308 likes this.
  14. JohnDF

    JohnDF Gold Member Gold Member

    May 14, 2018
    I appreciate quality and availability more than exclusivity or uniqueness.
    That being said, I do feel bad for the distributors that relied on those SFOs for more income.
  15. blanco112

    blanco112 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 1, 2016
    While SFOs were certainly limited the big draw for a lot of folks was simply that they were awesome. Take a look at just about any run, if the numbers were equal the SFOs would still be more popular almost every time. That's what I'll miss most. The creative minds of the people who ordered them.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  16. Sabercat

    Sabercat Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 9, 2015
    I think disappointment was my very initial feeling, but sometimes things surprise me. Who knows what's to come...

    All I know is I will continue to buy the knives I want, and won't buy the ones I don't.
    EngrSorenson, willc, JD Bear and 7 others like this.
  17. L.H.S

    L.H.S Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2013
  18. Scott J.

    Scott J. Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 8, 2019
    Maybe now they'll use that snakewood and blue camel bone on regular runs instead of saving the unique stuff for SFO's. I mean they have to know how popular those more unique materials were.
  19. blanco112

    blanco112 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 1, 2016
    Hopefully! I loved the golden camel bone Eureka so much I bought 3.
    Lander boy Matt and Scott J. like this.
  20. Fox79

    Fox79 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 24, 2017
    I’m just catching up on this SFO news today. I am saddened by the news as I loved the chase for certain SFO’s and it certainly makes the ones I own even more special.

    Many of the older non-SFO GEC’s were very beautiful Knives with great cover options. So let’s not forget that.

    If GEC continues to offer great traditional knives, well made, with great walk and talk people will continue to buy them.

    I’m going to continue supporting them.

    Bill Howard is true Knife guy and I’m sure he is going to surprise us all with new versions of cool old knives.

    I’m also going to to remain hopeful that we’ll see splitback whittlers again and hopefully the return of some SFO’s like Lick Creek, Waynorth, etc.

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