And finds a knife store!
Back in June I attended the 2011 Blade Show here in Atlanta. The W.R. Case & Sons knife company was set up showing off their wares. If you've never seen a W.R. Case factory display it is amazing. It's like they set up your rich uncle's study on the showroom floor, with deep carpeting and oak display cases holding hundreds of beautifully finished folding knives. It's a jewelry store for real men. I often say that Case knives "sparkle like Christmas", and the Case factory displays are specifically designed to highlight the high polish and unique handle materials Case uses on their knives.
Anyway, as I was looking at the knives in the display cases and leaving nose prints all over the place I asked the factory rep if they were doing any sales at the show. Most of the other factory booths were selling knives to the show attendees and I'd already filled my backpack with new and exotic blades. The Case factory rep told me that Case was not doing sales because they did not want to undercut any of their dealers who may also have a booth or table at the show. His comment made sense; Case is highly reliant on their authorized factory dealers and wants to protect them as much as possible. Many of these dealers are small mom & pop hardware or sporting goods stores that have been selling Case knives for decades. Case promotes the idea of the Case knife as a uniquely American product that is still available in small town stores - it fosters the idea of small town America that is part of the perception they build around their products.
During our conversation the factory rep mentioned that one of the biggest Case dealers in the southeast was located just a few miles from where the Blade Show was taking place. I pressed him for more details, and while he couldn't remember the name of the store, he did drop an intriguing bit of information - this dealer was also a pharmacist and he's got his knife store set up in his pharmacy. I knew that CVS or Walgreens wouldn't be letting any of their pharmacists sell knives out of their stores, so this place had to be an independent operation. Some internet sleuthing quickly turned up what I was looking for.
|Tracy's Medicine Center|
Hmmm... apparently Mr. Tracy isn't shy about the fact that he's both a pharmacist and a knife dealer. See Mom, knives and drugs do go together! And Tracy isn't just a nickle and dime knife peddler, he's a Case Master Dealer. That means he sells LOTS of Case knives.
I just had to see this place in person so a few weeks after the Blade Show I headed up to Tucker (about an hour from where we live). Tracy's was easy to find - it about the only business with English language signage left in the neighborhood. An outpost of Americana in a sea of 'se habla Espaniol'. I imagine Mr. Tracy feels a wee bit isolated.
I walked into the store and rounded the aisle holding cold remedies and was greeted with this sight:
Oh, there's more!
And yet more...
I love mashup of 'Home Health Care' and knives. It works for me!
And a bit more...
By my estimation almost one third of the pharmacy is given over to knife sales.
When I entered the store I noted a guy about my age with a brushcut poking through the displays. He commented that if I wanted to look at anything he'd be happy to help me. This was Brett Tracy, the pharmacist and owner. I took him up on his offer, and he proceeded to take me on a slow and careful guided tour though the display cases, not trying to make a sale but to demonstrate the variety, uniqueness and beauty of the knives Case produces. It quickly became clear that Brett doesn't sell Case knives because they turn a good profit. He sells them because he's a Case fanatic and he's found a way to subsidize his own addiction.
Yes of course I bought a knife from him. Or two. Or three. I won't admit publicly. And I've been back at least once and I'll be back again soon to do some Christmas shopping (a great excuse, eh?).
If you are in the Atlanta area and have an interest in Case knives I encourage you to drop by Tracy's. You won't be disappointed! They are located at 3171 Tucker Norcross Road in Tucker, GA.