If you travel often, you learn about businesses that are unique to their community. Maybe it’s a local restaurant serving specialty food, or a custom tailor who uses cloth or patterns not generally found. If you come to Sevier County, chances are you’ll see or hear something about the Smoky Mountain Knife Works, and for good reason.
The origins of SMKW are rooted in the early 1970’s
when Kevin Pipes and John Parker started selling pocketknives at local flea
markets. During that decade, they worked with vendors and customers to ensure
their business grew. In 1978, the first SMKW showroom opened. Today, it is in
its third building, located on Highway 66, right across the French Broad River
as you come into Sevierville from Interstate 40, Exit 407.
But let’s be clear – this isn’t a Mom-and-Pop store.
They have more than 1.2 million people visit each year! They offer more than
120 brands of knives and nearly 30 types of knives. It’s not just pocket knives
– it’s nearly every conceivable type of knife: tactical, multi-tool, military
and tactical, fishing and hunting, camping and outdoor, martial arts, kitchen.
And it’s not just knives; swords, flashlights, lighters, apparel, books and
videos, sharpening tools are all available. If you can think of anything
related to a knife, or a knife-type activity, then they probably have it.
You can shop online, or request a catalog, or even
see them on satellite television. But to really appreciate what they have to
offer, you need to go their headquarters and see the multi-level building
filled with everything I’ve mentioned and more. Like a kitchen area with
sauces, a novelty/collectibles section, old signs, stuffed animals, etc. Smoky
Mountain Knife Works is certainly a unique shop that is worth the visit.