BLADE Show West 2022 Was A Smashing Success In Its New Home Of Salt Lake City.
So you’re having BLADE Show West in Salt Lake City,” the man began, interjecting a pregnant pause before continuing. “In Utah? Isn’t that kind of a gamble?”
Of course, any change in a knife show venue is a gamble, and so it was with the switch of BLADE Show West from Long Beach, California, in 2021 to Salt Lake City this past October. But the gamble paid off as BLADE Show West ’22 in the plush Salt Palace Convention Center met with banner reviews.
Makers Loved BLADE Show West
The main concerns of any knife show—attendance, the venue and easy accessibility both to it and to the surrounding hotels and restaurants, and, most importantly, the number of knife buyers and how many knives they bought—were all addressed in fine fashion. The fact that the weather was sunny and in the 70s on a beautiful fall weekend didn’t hurt, either.
“The show surpassed our expectations,” observed Spyderco’s Joyce Laituri. “Not knowing what to expect in Salt Lake City, we were amazed.”
“The crowd was way more than I expected,” echoed BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Bill Ruple. “I’d say it was close to BLADE Show Texas this past March in terms of attendance.” And those numbers were very good.
“It was extremely busy,” wrote knifemaker Mike Tyre. “Both days were non-stop people.” Chimed in knifemaker Duane Dwyer, “The show was full for both days and that’s all we as exhibitors can possibly ask for. I had a great show and met a good group of new people.”
“Numbers seemed good for the venue size,” wrote knifemaker Princeton Wong. “The traffic stopping by [our] table was more consistent than even at the BLADE Show in Atlanta.”
As for the all-important issue of knife sales, a goodly number of makers came away very pleased.
“Sales were great. I sold all my high-end fixed blades and several folders,” wrote Tyre. “There were a lot of serious buyers at the show.”
“Most everyone I talked to had really good sales,” Ruple stated. “I saw a lot of the same buyers but also sold to some local folks. I took 10 knives and sold all of them.”
Knifemaker Tim Robertson said he brought seven knives and sold six. “We brought 11 knives,” ABS master smith Steven Koster wrote. “I only sold four but they were in the medium price range, and took two orders: one fixed blade and one folder.”
Wong indicated there seemed to be plenty of buyers for the custom folder and balisong markets, and he did a healthy business with some knife purveyors in attendance. “I had dealers requesting between five and 100 pieces,” he observed, “and had approximately 10 buyers from the show waiting on book spots.”
The Salt Palace Was A Star
As for the venue and the accessibility to it and nearby hotels and restaurants, the Salt Palace Convention Center met with high marks from almost everyone.
“The venue was excellent. My hotel was really upscale with great parking and a free breakfast that was good,” Tyre noted. “The show was a short walk across the street. The convention center was a great place.”
“The venue was good, we liked it and the city was good, also,” Koster observed. “The hotel and food were very convenient and easy to get to.” Added Wong, “The show venue was nice and easy to access. It’s relatively close to hotels and the weather was good for the short walk. We had surprisingly great meals.”
Awards & Seminars
Some outstanding knives won awards in both the factory and custom knife judging competitions*. Highlights in the custom category included Trevor Morgan winning both Best in Show and Best Kitchen Knife for his damascus chef’s knife and Shayne Carter taking home Best Hunter and Best Bowie.
WE Knives was the big winner in the factory judging, capturing Best Folder and Best in Show for the Peter Carey Nitro Mini and Best EDC for the Shakan. All of the winners were announced and presented trophies at the show’s After Party sponsored by Black Rifle Coffee at the company’s facility Friday night.
The show hosted a state-of-the-art slate of seminars, among others including 3D Printing for Canister Patterns conducted by ABS master smith Steve Schwarzer and Ron Hardman, Let the Pros Critique Your Knife with Schwarzer, Enrique Pena, Bill Ruple, Will Stelter and Lucas Burnley, and the 3rd Annual West Coast Flipping Championships hosted by Squid Industries.
BLADE Show West 2023
Next year’s show will return to the Salt Palace Convention Center Oct. 13-14. Plan to attend now. Many already have. “We’re in for the next two years,” Spyderco’s Joyce Laituri wrote, “and our employees are already arguing over who gets to work the show next year.”
For more information on BLADE Show West ’23, visit bladeshowwest.com or email email@example.com. For more on BLADE Show Texas ’23, visit bladeshowtexas.com, and for more on BLADE Show ’23 visit bladeshow.com.
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