Kodiak Daily Mirror - Business spotlight Roberts passion for knives sparks business
  
Business spotlight: Roberts passion for knives sparks business
by Nicole Klauss/nklauss@kodiakdailymirror.com
Dec 19, 2012 | 183 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Willie Roberts pulls out one of the swords he sells for Kodiak Blades, in Kodiak on Dec. 5. (Nicole Klauss photo)
Willie Roberts, owner of Kodiak Blades, started collecting knives and swords when he was 14 years old.

Almost six years later, he is still collecting blades but now wants to share his passion with the people of Kodiak.

Kodiak Blades carries a variety of folding knives, throwing knives, machetes and swords for both collectors and outdoorsmen.

“I had a passion for knives, enjoyed collecting them, and found a way to make a penny off something I love,” Roberts said. “I know enough about it that I can sell it really well, and at the same time still get to play with things.”

Roberts became interested in knives after a conversation with a neighbor.

“My neighbor was showing me his collection and the place where I could get them, and I ended up ordering from them and buying in bulk,” Roberts said. “I'd have lots of extras, around so I started selling them.”

Roberts has three swords and more than 30 knives in his personal collection.

“I've cut down,” he said. “It's from years of collecting. Almost everything I sell, I've had one and tried it out.”

When Roberts was 16, he opened in his first Crab Festival booth, sharing a space with another vendor.

“I ordered extra stuff, took my collection and had a card table in the corner of the artsy tent,” he said. “The smallest amount of space was me, and I ended up making the most money.”

After the festival, he became serious about the business and obtained a license. That was four years ago.

Roberts said Kodiak's outdoor enthusiasts have particularly taken a liking to his products.

“I've found that the hunting and fishing community have been my best selling points,” he said. “I have assisted blades with serration so they can cut line and sometimes log enough blades to cut a fish.”

The products range in price from $1.50 for a small keychain knife to upwards of $200 for swords.

One sword he is particularly proud of having in his inventory is a 2010 Valiant Sword designed by Gil Hibben, the man who designed knives for the movies “Rambo III” and “The Expendables.” Only 1,400 of were created.

Roberts said his knives and swords make good gifts, which is why he's been selling them at all of the local bazaars this Christmas season.

“I've had a few people give them as gifts,” he said. “They're mostly used as wall decorations, but come as functional swords.”

Roberts said he is looking to expand by opening a storefront in Kodiak. So far, he hasn’t had any success matching his budget with the available options.

“If I do end up branching out, I'll look at selling materials for making knives, retailing and maybe professional sharpening as well,” he said.

For the time being, he will continue reaching clients through Facebook, email requests and local bazaars.

Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at nklauss@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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