Knife_sharpest_014submitted by Tom Linehan [Email address: tlinehan #AT# austin.rr.com - replace #AT# with @ ]

If you ever need those kitchen knives sharpened and you live
in Allandale you’re in luck. The only knife sharpening and sales store in the
city is just a few blocks away on Burnet Rd,
right across from Blue Star Cafeteria and next door to the AA Lawnmower.

I wasn’t planning on taking my kitchen knives for
sharpening when I went in the shop on a Saturday afternoon.

I wanted to get my
lawnmower blade sharpened. Kitchen knives or lawnmower blades, it doesn’t make
a difference to Knife Sharpest, they can do them all. They sharpen garden
tools, paper cutters, pocket knives, chainsaws, saws – basically anything that
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has a blade on it. And they do it with their own sharpening machine, one they
designed and built themselves. If you want to do it yourself, they sell knife sharpening equipment as well.

I walked in and introduced myself to Thomas Stuckey, the
owner of Knife Sharpest on a recent Saturday afternoon. He started the business
19 years ago with his Dad. It began when his father, suddenly unemployed,
turned to Thomas, who was 11 at the time, and asked what kind of business he
thought he could take an interest in and help him out with? That was easy for
Thomas who was a knife collector. He said let’s sell knives. And with $1,000 they
set up at flea markets and out of their home doing just that., selling and
sharpening knives. Four years later, they had enough business to open up a
shop on Burnet Rd. where they’ve been ever since. Thomas’ father sold his
interest in the business to Thomas a few years ago and moved to Tennessee where he’s opened up a similar shop. Thomas is now the sole owner of Knife
Sharpest.

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Part of my curiosity in Knife Sharpest is how it has been
able to stay in operation for so long just selling and sharpening knives? Turns
out there are a lot of dull knives in this town and not much competition in the sharpening business.

There are a total of 4 people employed at Knife Sharpest. Even
though the internet has cut into knife sales, (excuse the pun), his sharpening
business, which represents about 70 percent of the business, is doing quite
well. A good portion of that is sharpening knives for restaurants. Thomas has a
mobile service going from restaurant to restaurant sharpening knives. He tells
me there are about 3,000 restaurants in this city and Knife Sharpest sharpens
knives for about 150 of them.

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When it comes to sales, Knife Sharpest has a broad range of
knives including: pocket knives, hunting knives, throwing knives, custom
knives, tactical knives, switchblades (their illegal to carry but not to own),
and kitchen knives. On the wall he has a rack of samurai swords. His most
expensive knife is a small custom knife – a William Henry stainless steel damascus knife with 24 carat gold screws that costs $900. His best selling kitchen
knives are Messermeister, Wusthof, and Henckels – all made in Germany.
Thanksgiving is his busiest times of the year when it comes to knife
sharpening, Christmas and Father’s day for knife sales.

Thomas, who has lived in nearby Crestview all his life, has
no plans of leaving his location on Burnet Rd. It has served him well over the years. Turns out I was unable to get the blade
off my lawnmower so I went into Knife Sharpest with just my dull self. I will
return though. Thomas reassured me a sharp blade makes a difference. Good thing
I don’t have to travel far. It’s one of those Allandale conveniences.