Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thanks for your support!

I am most grateful for all the email support I have received. I had been keeping the situation private until I was sure the building was actually sold but the situation has been causing me sleepless nights for a while. Now I guess most people understand if I've been a bit testy. Sorry about that.

As everybody can imagine, I've put a lot into my shop over the last 10 years and the thought of seeing most of it on Ebay is a total bummer. I know that at 53, if I loose the shop, I ain't likely to get another one - at least not with a €25,000 cnc milling machine. And honesty, without that machine, knife making can't be more than a hobby for me: as a business/job it would be hopeless.

And exactly what I would do for a business / job, well, that will remain an open question for now.

The biggest killer for any small business is overhead. Overhead too high = business dead on arrival. If I can locate a place where I can work for the next 5+ years at least - that I can pay for - then I will somehow manage the moving costs. If I can't, I will have no choice but to sell out and quit. That's about as simple as I can put things.

I am looking and I do NOT think things are hopeless!

Who knows, maybe I'll end up with a better space than I have now?!

Many people have suggested building a building !! or moving to another city. None of these are going to happen. I reckon most people with any idea about real estate will know why the first idea isn't an option (lack of Capital) and moving away is not an option either. My wife is quite happy in her job and she has been the main breadwinner in the family for a long time now anyway.

What I will miss in relocating is my neighbors around the shop. The other three firms in the same complex have all become friends over the years and we all cooperate all down the line. When I need wood cut, the cabinetmaker upstairs has that covered. When somebody needs a knife sharpened, the knock on my door. I will miss that.

The Berlin district called Wedding where I have my shop now is home to many people of Turkish descent. Over the years I have studied the Turkish language at evening school and gotten to know many people in the area. We talk at lunchtime, they help me with Turkish grammar and it all makes the days more pleasant. I certainly recommend Turkish to anyone interested in languages. It is fascinating. I have also learned a lot about a culture and people about whom I really knew nothing and I've had a chance to hear about a lot of social problems and situations from a perspective I would otherwise not have had access to. If I have to leave the area, I will miss all of my friends there.

But for now the focus has to remain on finding a new spot AND keeping some production going to generate income. Looking at real estate is time consuming.

I do have a few new things in the works:
Two - count 'em, 2 new fixed blades. One is kind of a Tactical Steak Knife and the other is a Military Field Knife with hidden tang construction I've wanted to finish for a long time. The Military Field Knife will be going into short run production asap. The knife has a 105mm blade. More info as soon as I can release anything in public.

Thanks again for all your support and good wishes. Keep those real estate tips coming in via email too

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gonna have to move the Shop or shut it down

UPDATE: July 2012
Looks like the new owners have at least postponed their plans!
See my new post further up on this blog for more info!

For some months rumors have been going around that the owners of the commercial property where my shop is located were looking to sell. As of the 1st of January the rumors are reality. The entire complex has been sold to a company who plan to clear out all renters and convert the old commercial building into luxury living lofts. This affects not only my shop but the three other tenants who all have multiple employees and have been in the building for over 30 years.

Without going into the details, there is nothing we, the current tenants can do about it.

My lease expires in January 2013. I tried to obtain an extension from the previous owners when the rumors began and they turned me down. The new owners will not discuss any extension and I must vacate when my lease expires. I have asked if they would be willing to release me from the lease early if I can find a new space. It would be very difficult for me to pay both rents over months. I hope they will extend me this courtesy.

So now I am starting to search high and low in Berlin for the 80-100 square meters of commercial space I need. If any readers happen to know of anything here in Berlin, shoot me an email pronto! It cannot be located in a building with residential tenants and must be reachable with large, heavy machinery. My mill weighs about 1500 kilos.

I would also encourage anyone who wants one of my knives to buy it now if I have it in stock. When things run out, I can't promise when or if I will make new ones. Also, to be honest, I will need every penny to have the finances needed to get out of this situation without loosing my shop. The move alone will cost a good €6000. I must also face facts, if I can't locate a new space in time, I will be forced to sell the machines and cease operations. I can't move and store the stuff.

As of now, I will no longer be accepting Custom orders. This may change as the situation developes.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all my Friends and Customers for your support over the years. Now, with some Real Estate Luck, maybe I can move to a new shop and keep a' going