HISTORY OF AMERICAN EDGE as told by the Founder, Jay:
“Still the proprietor after 21 years, I, Jay Saldana, formed the business American Edge (originally a sole proprietorship) after being laid off for 10 months with no great job prospects. It all began when I signed up for school in the sales marketing program so that I could start my own business. I made this decision because I had worked several jobs where there was promise of more money and no follow through. I figured that I couldn't do any worse. During school, I had to have a part time job, preferably in the sales.So, I answered an ad for Vector Marketing, the sales arm of the Alcas Corp., who make the high-quality, American-made, Cutco kitchen cutlery. I was guaranteed a large amount of money if I did the required number of sales calls. Unfortunately, Vector would call my potential customers and disqualify the appointment if they answered a question different than they thought they should. While the job wasn’t all that I was promised, I did learn quite a bit about sales and that the cutlery industry intrigued me. Shortly after, and I’m not sure why, a list of knives from a bankruptcy sale for The Cutlery World was sent to me. At this time, I had $1600 already set aside for a business start up. Instead, I took the money and bought a bunch of the coolest knives off of the list, and started selling them. I thought that maybe if my Vector sales leads did not want or need an expensive cutlery set, they may want a pocket or hunting knife. Then, I started to get creative. I put a display together and started selling my knives at motorcycle shows because I am an avid motorcycle enthusiast. This was all during my time in school.
After I finished my first 9 months at the St. Cloud Technical College, I applied for and received a Minnesota sales tax number for myself. It was then that I started a DBA account to do business as the American Edge, a sole proprietorship set up July 1, 1992, just a few short months after my first child, Jordan, was born. My first show on the books was just a few days later in Runnels, Iowa over Fourth of July. I had gone into the business knowing that the biggest part of growth comes from being present. While I might not sell to someone today or tomorrow, the longer that I’m there, the better chance that I would have of selling them something sooner or later.
When I began college, I had originally thought about having a website. I had signed up for 7:00am computer class to help me with it, but found it was hard for this night owl, so I struggled to pass the class with a C- (the worst grade I had gotten since going back to school!) While that C- was not great, my grade point average was still 3.75 my first year, and I am quite proud of that because I had never done that well in all of my prior schooling. At that point in time, I was doing shows to make money and thought, “Who needs the internet anyways?” So instead, I traveled for 10 years and went to trade shows- doing from 25 to as many as 35 shows a year!
Through the personal connections and lifelong friends that I had gained through the trade shows, I continually grew my business every year, and I had learned quite a bit in the process. It wasn’t until about seven years in that I finally bought a home computer and revisited the thought of starting a website. So I did some research and was approached by a company that offered to build a website with free, lifetime hosting for a fair deal. Little did I know, when they said they would build the site, they really meant that they would put whatever I sent them on the website. This led to a year of my site, buyknives4u.com, coming up “under construction.” I thought that having my own site was going to be cool until I received a letter saying the company who was building my website, was filing bankruptcy. They gave me the option to keep my domain name, but it was going cost more money- more money than I could afford. After that experience, I was a little gun shy. Then, it dawned on me. I remembered that there was a man, Jon, who would show up at the trade shows, and continually offer to build a website for me. Jon did not have much couth, but he was persistent. Eventually, Jon showed me his work and his database of how he started helping this other guy make sales. The website that Jon had made, started with sales here and there, and before he knew it, the website owner was over $100 thousand in sales in a year! I thought, “Wow! If he can help that guy, he has to be able to help me too!” After we bartered over the price for a while, the new website, jaysknives.com, was begun at the end of April 2002 and went live in 2003. After Jon had begun his work in 2002, I went home to prepare for a motorcycle trip to the west coast with my long time friend, Vern.”
American Edge Corporation was founded by Jay Saldana in his basement in 1992 with just a small selection of knives that Jay had been collecting. With tireless work and ambition, Jay, and his wife, Leah, built the business into what it is today. In 2003, Jay quit his part-time job to go into the knife business full-time. In 2013, we moved from the basement of Jay’s home into our current location next door that houses a showroom, warehouse, workshop and offices in 3,600 sq ft. In that same year, we also made the switch from jaysknives.com to americanedgeknives.com in a rebrand to be more inline with our business name, as well as the changing times. Over the years, our selection and love of knives has grown dramatically to include knives of all types; both new production and vintage collectibles. I, Jordan Saldana (Jay’s Son) had the privilege of growing up in the knife business and learning all about it from my dad. As a kid, I always traveled along with him to the trade shows, and my passion for knives grew as I did. After a few years of part-time work during my high school years, I chose to come on full-time as the Operations Manager when I graduated in 2010. I am so glad that I did, and I am grateful for the time I had to work in this business with my dad. When he passed away in 2018, my wife, LeNeigh, and I purchased the business, and together, we run all of the aspects of American Edge. We are both so proud to carry on my father’s legacy, and we hope to pass it on to the next generation when our time is done.
American Edge is located in Central Minnesota. At American Edge, we have been shipping and selling knives all over the world since our foundation, and have met so many great people along the way. American Edge prides itself on top-notch, personal customer service and its ability to provide its customers with products that will suit any need, purpose, or lifestyle.
If there is ever anything that you need help with or a hard to find knife you are looking for, Jordan or LeNeigh are only a phone call/email away and are more than happy to help in any way.