August 9, 2009 in City

Buck Knives makes cuts

Staff and wire The Spokesman-Review
 

These aren’t the kind of cuts the folks at Buck Knives like to make.

The Post Falls-based knife manufacturer is cutting the pay of every employee by 10 percent in response to the slow economy. The decision affects about 200 employees.

The pay cut follows a round of layoffs last year when the company shed 23 jobs.

Company president C.J. Buck said the move is intended to position the company if the economy doesn’t improve. National economic figures released Friday indicate that while the economy is rebounding, the number of unemployed Americans will likely continue to grow, at least through the end of the year.

Chief Operating Officer Phil Duckett said Buck’s customers are struggling. Some have filed for bankruptcy, he said, while others are buying fewer knives than anticipated.

The company, which traces its roots to 1902, moved to North Idaho from California four years ago, in part to cut business expenses. Opening in Post Falls with 225 employees, Buck officials had said that if things went well, the workforce might grow to 300 – optimism spurred in part by the closure of one of Buck’s closest competitors.

That was in 2005, when the unemployment rate in Idaho was at a historic low of less than 4 percent – less than half its current rate.

Buck, which makes all manner of knives but is legendary for its “folding hunter,” has weathered bad times before.

The recession of the early 1980s was especially hard, according to “The Story of Buck Knives,” a book published by the company. But when Sylvester Stallone made “First Blood” in 1982, there was a surge in demand for the Buckmaster 184, Buck’s version of what would become widely known as the “Rambo knife.”

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