The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

November 30, 2008

Case Knives avoids mass merchants

In business for 120 years, W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co., or Case Knives, works to support the independent business owner.

Based in Bradford, Pa., Case Knives distributes its product nationwide, focusing on small-town hardware shops. Employing around 425 people, the company makes everything from pocket knives to rare find knives and each knife is still handcrafted.

Case Knives has focused on helping independent businesses by not distributing its products to mass merchants. Ed Jessup, vice president of sales and marketing for Case, said he believes it is important to support these retailers because of what they represent.

“These stores can tell our stories about real American backgrounds and small-town values,” he said. “We think downtown America is so important that we want to draw a lot of attention to it.”

One local authorized Case dealer is Priddy’s Hardware in Sophia. In business since 1975, Priddy’s has carried Case products for more than 30 years and co-owner Don Priddy says he has enjoyed working with Case over the years.

“Case is a household name,” Priddy said. “They’re a trustworthy brand and they don’t sell their product to anyone. You have to be an authorized dealer and have to have certain qualifications to sell them. Discount stores, for example, aren’t allowed to sell them.”

The qualifications include: making a commitment to talking to customers, advertising the company and a willingness to compete with mass merchants.

“It’s more than being a pocket knife and it’s more than a label on the side saying, ‘Made in America,’” Jessup said. “It’s about real values, real people and real communities.”

Priddy’s stocks everything from Case’s pocket knives to collectors knives. Many of the items it carries are souvenir and rare find knives which he said do just as well. The good thing, Priddy added, is that they gain in value as the years progress.

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