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Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge 1073

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,793
Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« on: November 19, 2020, 10:07:44 AM »

Victorinox Destination Store – Sharp Edge

I recently had the good fortune to be hosted by Stan Gordon, together with his wife and son, at their new destination store in South Africa. The Gordons are the owners of Sharp Edge, and have been the distributors of Victorinox in South Africa for three generations. I had traveled to their new store to collect a Pioneer X Winter Magic pocket knife that I had asked Stan to put aside for me, so it was an opportunity to meet Stan and talk a little about his history with Victorinox.

Victorinox in South Africa goes back to 1954, to a meeting Stan’s father had with Victorinox at a German trade show. Initially as an indent agency, Stan’s father built up wholesale demand for the brand over the next eighteen years, bringing Stan on board in 1973.


Stan and his father’s SAKs from the 1970s

During a trip to Italy, Stan came across a knife digest book, triggering the start of what would become a household name in South Africa; the retail store still known today as Sharp Edge. Opening in 1974 in the Carlton Centre, the tallest building in Africa in the center of Johannesburg, the Gordan’s retail business started with their sample stock, with customers buying what was wired to the shop walls.

Their retail trade gave the Gordons the advantage of knowing the buying preferences of customers, helping steer their wholesale business. Stan also took inspiration from a relationship with the San Francisco Gun Exchange, the largest dealer on the US West Coast, broadening his distribution to other iconic brands such as Puma and Kershaw.

Stan was behind the original supply contract to the South African military in the 1970s, with a version of the Pioneer with NATO stock number on the top scale. The contract started with a unique prototype with bale, stainless steel scales and brass end pivots. In the late 1970s, long before the internet, the Gordons had a successful mail order catalogue called Sale by Mail, and even distributed their catalogue on VHS cassette.


Prototype Stainless Steel Scaled SAK


Prototype and SA Military Issue Pioneer

In 1981, Stan saw an opportunity to open a new retail store in Sandton City, one of the largest shopping centres in the Southern hemisphere with over two hundred stores, in the fast-growing suburb north of Johannesburg. As retail and business shifted away from the CBD, Sandton became the new shopping destination, increasing trade and helping establish Sharp Edge as a specialist knife store known not just in South Africa, but also globally.

Stan’s son, David, was exposed to the Victorinox factory at the early age of just four, playing with the children of the Elsener family in the corridors, while Stan met with Victorinox management. With a flair for design, David has been the inspiration behind many of the unique limited series commissioned by Sharp Edge over the last decade, including the recent Africa Edition Pioneers and the South Africa flag models.


Pioneer Africa Edition (blue, red, green, black variants)


SA Flag 58mm Classic SD

Attending university in the US, David saw first-hand the decline of shopping malls and the rise of online retail, often at the expense of specialty stores. Drawing on their international experience, and anticipating a shift in the local market, the Gordons were an early adopter of the internet and online sales.

Recognizing the need for a different shopping experience, and outgrowing their Sandton City store, the Gordons began remodeling their distribution head office just before the global pandemic hit earlier this year. And while the closure of Sharp Edge in Sandton City was the end of an era spanning almost forty years, the new concept store at their Savoy Estate head office redefines Sharp Edge as the destination for customers expecting more from a retail environment.


Stan and David Gordon – Sharp Edge


Lego Scales SAK, historic sample not for sale


Kellogg's 3-D Scales, historic sample not for sale

Asked what Victorinox SAKs they each carry, David retrieved a Spartan with a deployment lanyard prototype he was working on. While Stan sported an original SwissTool, carried in a belt pouch.

With a family relationship with Victorinox stretching back sixty-six years, it is understandable that the Gordon’s have quite a collection of rare and unique products.  Stan’s wife, Margi, is the curator of the display room, an invitation only presentation of some exceptional examples of Swiss Army Knives and related product. While the cataloging and display of product has just begun, I was fortunate to have been given a sneak preview of the room. I can only describe it as an Aladdin’s Cave of rare and beautiful products, many with a personal story linked to members of the Gordon family. Below are just a few examples:


Wenger Swiss Business Tool 60. Not a successful product and now considered rare


Huntsman Lite 2006 limited edition


Gold Bar Classic form 1996


Karl Elsener Pioneer Commemorative Coin Set 2018


Sammlermesser Collection (Battle Series) from 1983-1991


Swisschamp 500 Million limited edition, 2017


Climber Gold limited edition, 2016


Recognition of 60 years of partnership

My time with the Gordons has given me a new perspective on Victorinox, and how this long association between two families has helped promote and develop the brand in this market. The new Sharp Edge destination store is a showcase that provides an excellent representation of the brand, but it is only through the passion and enthusiasm of the Gordon family that we can appreciate this in South Africa.

I would like to extend my thanks to Stan, Margi and David for their hospitality, and the opportunity to gain a little more knowledge that I can share with other enthusiasts of the humble Swiss Army Knife.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 01:45:18 PM by SteveC »

Education is a journey that starts when you realize that knowing a little about something opens the door to the universe.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,033
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2020, 11:08:56 AM »
Thanks for sharing this interesting story
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,793
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2020, 11:41:19 AM »
 :hatsoff:
Do the pictures show? Had some problems with hosting.

Education is a journey that starts when you realize that knowing a little about something opens the door to the universe.
Full Member Posts: 100
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2020, 11:43:46 AM »
No, can't see pictures.

:hatsoff:
Do the pictures show? Had some problems with hosting.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 10,127 \o/
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2020, 11:44:40 AM »
Excellent post, waiting for the pictures to show :whistle:

You should seriously visit vicfan.com. All the hoopy froods are doing it.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,793
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2020, 11:51:01 AM »
Image hosting drives me crazy. Shows in one browser and not another. Will have to edit the post, apologies...  >:(

Education is a journey that starts when you realize that knowing a little about something opens the door to the universe.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,793
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2020, 12:28:36 PM »
Moved hosting to Flickr, should be showing now  :cheers:

Education is a journey that starts when you realize that knowing a little about something opens the door to the universe.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 10,127 \o/
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2020, 01:10:36 PM »
Wowzers!

Their own 1970s 74mm SAKs are very cool. I'm looking for one with alox scales & bale :pok:

Those prototypes are just :drool: Never knew of their existence.

I saw that LEGO SAK in a promotional items catalogue just a few days ago!

You should seriously visit vicfan.com. All the hoopy froods are doing it.
No Life Club Posts: 1,266 The Spirit of Central Asia
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2020, 01:51:10 PM »
They really earned that 60 year gift from the Elseners!

What a cool story. And so many special SAKs in that room...

 :like:
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 10,127 \o/
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2020, 01:53:05 PM »
I tried to order a few SAKs from them a decade ago:
Show content
They asked me to send a copy of my passport and all my credit card info. I declined :)

You should seriously visit vicfan.com. All the hoopy froods are doing it.
No Life Club Posts: 1,664
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2020, 02:31:06 PM »
WOW!! How KOOL is that?!?!  :tu:

All who wander are not lost..

It only take a little bit of sharp..
Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 25,808
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2020, 03:31:14 PM »
Can't see pics but one helluva story.  Thanks for sharing. 

Esse Quam Videri
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 10,230
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2020, 03:46:39 PM »
(Image removed from quote.)
Victorinox Destination Store – Sharp Edge


I would like to extend my thanks to Stan, Margi and David for their hospitality, and the opportunity to gain a little more knowledge that I can share with other enthusiasts of the humble Swiss Army Knife.

Thank you Max for posting a very interesting story with great pictures! :like: :tu: :tu:
Sr. Member Posts: 495
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2020, 03:49:02 PM »
Max Stone, thank you for the great story!  :like:
(Pics are visible for me now.)
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,951
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2020, 04:24:30 PM »
Max, I sure enjoyed their story and thank you for sharing it with us.  :cheers: 
I can't see the photos using Safari, but using Chrome I can.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 9,421
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2020, 04:53:04 PM »
Max, great story and history with the store!  I have seen a few dealers around the world developed life long connection with the Elsener's and it's a beautiful thing how they developed their business while honoring the long term relationship.  The 500mil and last SAKs said it all.

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No Life Club Posts: 1,019 Brick Bradford of multitool universe
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2020, 05:01:03 PM »
Thank you for sharing this amazing story!

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,793
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2020, 05:57:29 PM »
Thanks everyone  :hatsoff:
The Gordons were great hosts and the store is really exceptional. I'm hoping to get another opportunity to explore their display room. It was just getting set up and a lot of the SAKs were still to be put out, and I had limited time. Here's a pic of some vintage beauties in MOP, buffalo and stag horn.  :tu:

Education is a journey that starts when you realize that knowing a little about something opens the door to the universe.
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Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2020, 06:03:04 PM »
Great story, thanks for posting!
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 10,230
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2020, 08:11:36 PM »
Thanks everyone  :hatsoff:
Here's a pic of some vintage beauties in MOP, buffalo and stag horn.  :tu:

Nice pic Max! :like: :tu: :tu:
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 33,534
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2020, 08:37:15 PM »
That's an awesome write up Max.  Thanks for telling us the tale.  :tu:

Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...
No Life Club Posts: 1,694
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2020, 08:56:19 PM »
Really fun post. Wish I could see the pics!
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,793
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2020, 09:04:16 PM »
Here's the album images: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmSfgkhm

Education is a journey that starts when you realize that knowing a little about something opens the door to the universe.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 10,127 \o/
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2020, 09:16:59 PM »
I think some browsers don't understand the image proxy used on MTo. That's only a problem if your image URLs are non-https.

You should seriously visit vicfan.com. All the hoopy froods are doing it.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,793
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2020, 09:50:16 PM »
...thanks for the tip - but I'm not moving 19 images a third time  :facepalm:

Education is a journey that starts when you realize that knowing a little about something opens the door to the universe.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 10,127 \o/
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2020, 10:06:38 PM »
It's probably enough to change the URLs from http:// to https:// (aks an admin to do that for you).

Does this one show, Myron?


You should seriously visit vicfan.com. All the hoopy froods are doing it.
No Life Club Posts: 2,551
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2020, 11:17:16 PM »
Thanks for the good read, Max! :like:

Reinier- that last pic shows for me (the originals are just captions on my browsers). :tu:
No Life Club Posts: 3,639
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2020, 11:44:21 PM »
:drool: :like: :tu:
What a great story and superb looking shop, my wallet wouldn’t be able to cope! :cheers:
Jr. Member Posts: 72
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2020, 12:03:49 AM »
Well I know where I'm heading next time I'm in Jo'berg...
No Life Club Posts: 1,694
Re: Victorinox Destination Store - Sharp Edge
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2020, 12:14:29 AM »
It's probably enough to change the URLs from http:// to https:// (aks an admin to do that for you).

Does this one show, Myron?


Yes!  Thanks Reinier. 

Not sure what everybody else here uses, but I use Imgur and it always seems to work fine.   Sorry for all the trouble you're going to, Max!

 

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