Chattanooga's Frost Cutlery expands retail shop

Chattanooga's Frost Cutlery expands retail shop

May 17th, 2013 by Shelly Bradbury in Business Around the Region

Frost Cutlery shoppers Doug and Lorre McFalls, of Detroit, Mich., peruse the stock inside the company's Ooltewah warehouse Thursday.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

AT A GLANCE

Company: Frost Cutlery

Founded: 1972

Employees: 115

Annual revenue: $30 million

Website: frostcutlery.com

Chattanooga knife company Frost Cutlery is adding a new retail store to its Ooltewah headquarters.

The 17,000-square foot building will include about 9,000 square feet of retail space -- dubbed The Knife Shoppe -- as well as additional offices and warehouse space. The facility will be next to the company's headquarters, just off Interstate 75.

"We've been trying [retail] for the last couple years back here on the side of the building, and it's been successful for us," said Cameron Thomsen, director of strategic projects. "It's another revenue stream for us. We have the fifth largest interstate running right in front of us, and we need more exposure. So by having a storefront, we'll hopefully have more traffic coming to us."

The company already pulls in more than $30 million in annual revenue. About 60 percent of that comes from Frost Cutlery's TV show, the Cutlery Corner, which is filmed on site and broadcasts live four nights a week to a potential audience of 90 million people. Knife experts peddle products with an 800 number on the screen live from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., and customers who dial that number are connected to one of Frost's 50 on-site operators to make the sale.

Six months out of the year, Frost Cutlery sells about a million knives a month -- about 20,000 different products. But most of those sales are wholesale orders to companies such as Ace Hardware, not retail. And that's what company executives hope the new shop will help to change.

Currently, about 25,000 people visit the company's headquarters to browse Frost Cutlery's small retail offering each year. Retail manager Jay Haggard hopes the new shop will boost that number to about 250,000 annual visitors.

"We're really looking to push this," he said.

Thomsen said he expects The Knife Shoppe to be finished and open by August. Frost Cutlery will hire about four people to manage the shop, which will include a variety of products, from knives to T-shirts.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at sbradbury@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525.