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A sharp idea: Ellenville knife company adds jobs

Author: Pauline Liu
Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2011
A knife factory in Ellenville will be adding eight jobs. Canal Street Cutlery has recently been awarded a $75,000 Empire State Development Grant. Under the terms of the deal, the company must add all eight jobs by 2012. The money is to be distributed in three installments. In an area with an unemployment rate of about 20 percent, the news of the expansion is considered a big deal. The knife company currently employs 12 people. The new jobs will pay about $10 an hour.

History of knife manufacturing

The village of Ellenville has been home to knife manufacturing for over 160 years. At its height, the industry employed hundreds. Canal Street Cutlery is a 7-year-old business. It is the last knife business left in Ellenville. President and CEO Walter Gardiner opened shop at 30 Canal Street, where the historic Imperial Schrade knife company once stood. “Is it a comeback for the knife industry in Ellenville?” asks Gardiner. “Yes it is. Don’t forget, we’re in the building where Imperial Schrade used to be. They were here in 1848 and closed in 2002.”

New products

The cutlery produces 25 different specialty knives; most of them are geared for collectors. One of the company’s newest products is, “Carry the Football,” a knife that looks like a football. Not only is it shaped like a football, but it has a leather handle with lacing that resembles a pigskin. It retails for $120.  Recently, Gardiner has been taking his products on the road to trade shows. He says he's still waiting for the state to formally close on the deal.

Jobs saved

The news was warmly received by Ellenville Mayor Jeffrey Kaplan. “From the village’s standpoint,” he says,” we’re excited about the cutlery, not only because of all of the new jobs that are being created, but also because the existing jobs will be retained. We thought that we’d lost the knife industry. We hope they will continue to grow. ”

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