I have been designing knives almost since I could hold a pencil, actually making my first knife at about the age of nine. I made knives for fun until the early 1960s when I started selling them as a business. Having started the oldest mail order knife business (1964), the oldest knife collectors club (1969-1970), and the oldest after-market knife business (1968), I have had a wonderful 40 plus years in this business.
(Note: This letter, and photo of A.G. & Goldie Russell, was taken directly from AGRussell.com).
In November of 1988, my wife Goldie joined the business. She began by using her art background to produce the best catalog we had ever mailed. We mailed ten times as many of that catalog as we had ever mailed before. This began a period of growth that has continued unbroken. Our growth has varied over the past 15 years from 2.8% to 60%, averaging about 20% a year. Every year since 1988, our catalogs have increased in quality, as well as the number mailed. It took Goldie about two years to learn everything that I had learned in a lifetime of designing and making knives, then learning how to market them. By mid-1990, Goldie had assumed more and more responsibility, to the point that she was actually running the company. She is now the president and chief executive officer of this company and runs it better than I ever have, which accounts for our growth.
I have enjoyed the forty plus years spent in this small mail-order business and in the knife industry. Knowing and visiting with the great writers and editors in the gun magazines, Elmer Keith, Warren Page, Lucian Cary, Jim Carmichael, Pete Kuhlhoff, Charlie Askins, John Amber, and, of course, Ken Warner and more recent writers such as B. R. Hughes and Ross Seyfried, has been a great joy. I have had the opportunity to work with, and know as my friends, the great knifemakers of the 20th Century; men such as R. W. (Bob) Loveless, R. L. (Bob Dozier), D’Alton Holder, Jess Horn, Ron Lake, Buster Warenski and D. E. (Ed) Henry. Hundreds of very fine knifemakers have blessed me with their friendship as have thousands of knife collectors. I have been involved with guns and knives most of my life and my life has been much fuller because of that. If the next forty years is just half as rich, I will be well satisfied.
There are now almost 50 of us who work to produce all those catalogs and to help you who love knives acquire that perfectly suited knife. Instead of the 3,000-5,000 orders a year we processed before Goldie joined us, we now process over 100,000 a year. I design knives, work with knifemakers and with the companies who make the great production knives which we sell. I write copy for the brochures and catalogs, while Goldie does the tough day-to-day grind of running an ever growing business. I do not answer the phone now as I did for years, but in the unlikely event our really great staff cannot answer your question, ask for me and I will try to help.
Stage by stage we have outgrown our quarters, to the point that I feel like a chambered nautilus. I moved from my kitchen table to a small building on my farm (1966), then moved again to a larger but still small building in Springdale (1971). I bought the property and doubled the office space (1974), then in 1995, built a fine new 8,000 sq. ft. building. Very quickly, that space was filled. In March of 2002, we moved into new facilities located on Interstate 540, just up the road from our long time location in Springdale, Arkansas.
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All the best,
A. G. Russell
Founder – A. G. Russell Knives, Inc. (1964)
Co-Founder and Honorary President – Knifemakers Guild (1970)
President – The Knife Collectors Club (1970)
First Honoree – Knife Digest Cutlery Hall of Fame (1974)
Honoree – Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame (1988)
Regent – The American Knife and Tool Institute.