Zoopla loses nearly a quarter of its agents

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » Zoopla loses nearly a quarter of its agents previous nextProducts & ServicesZoopla loses nearly a quarter of its agentsZoopla loses almost a quarter of its agents despite a noteworthy rise in website traffic.PROPERTYdrum1st June 20150635 Views Despite a significant increase in web traffic, a growing number of estate agents are cancelling their subscriptions to Zoopla to join rival site OnTheMarket.com (OTM).Shares in Zoopla Property Group (ZPG) dropped last week, after the firm reported that the number of estate agents listing their properties for sale and to let on the Zoopla website had dropped by 23 per cent over the past 12 months, largely due to the recent launch of OnTheMarket.com (OTM) which continues to have an adverse impact on its business.OTM, solely owned by the agents that list on the website, with more than 5,000 estate agency offices now signed up, has had a dramatic early impact on the market with its ‘one other portal’ rule requiring their member agents to stop advertising on either Rightmove or Zoopla, with the vast majority of agents opting to drop Zoopla.Ian Springett (left), Chief Executive of OTM, said, “Since our launch four months ago OnTheMarket.com has already taken almost one quarter of the estate and letting agent members from Zoopla Property Group. Less than 10 per cent of OnTheMarket.com’s member firms are using Zoopla as their other portal.”“In addition, OnTheMarket.com has already overtaken Zoopla in many areas across the UK with its number of property listings, meanwhile new member agents joining OnTheMarket.com continue to rise week on week,” he added.But despite losing almost a quarter of its estate agency advertisers, Zoopla reported a 10 per cent rise in revenues, suggesting that many agents continue to remain loyal to Zoopla, thanks in part to the fact that web traffic to Zoopla has increased by 11 per cent to an average monthly rate of 44.2 million.Lawrence Hall (right) of ZPG insists that the majority of agents who have remained with Zoopla and Rightmoveare in a “far stronger position” than those that have switched to OTM, “and are growing their market share as a result”.Analysis from ZPG claims that the average number of listings and new instructions per branch has been steadily climbing since the start of the year for agents who have remained with both Rightmove and ZPG, whilst the average number of listings per branch for agents who have joined (OTM) has been steadily falling.“This analysis provides compelling evidence of the impact of OTM’s ‘one-other portal rule’ on its members as many vendors and landlords clearly see the benefit of choosing an agent who provides the widest possible exposure for their home when entering the property market,” said Hall.He added, “It is no coincidence that we have already seen dozens of members return to ZPG having quit OTM due to the negative impact on their business and we welcome back any members who have realised that we are a key partner whose sole focus is on driving them more business.”But without more detail of this ZPG analysis, OTM’s Springett insists that it is “hard to take it seriously.”He continued, “It seems simply to be another desperate set of unsubstantiated claims geared to stemming the flow of agents away from it as they join OnTheMarket.com. The claims are directly contrary to the consistent feedback that leaving Zoopla has made no difference to instruction-winning capability.“The claims also seem to be at odds with announcements recently by Countrywide and LSL, both major shareholders in ZPG and with some 1,400 offices between them listed on Zoopla. As recently as 30th April it was reported that for first quarter 2015 compared with first quarter 2014, Countrywide experienced a 13 per cent fall in exchanges and LSL saw income from sales fall 15 per cent.“Meanwhile, Spicerhaart Group, a major group supporter of OnTheMarket.com, has announced a surge in new instructions.“Moreover, analysis published recently by Home.co.uk indicates that our member agents are selling the properties they are instructed on materially faster than those who remain non-members.”OTM rival site agents Zoopla June 1, 2015The NegotiatorWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles 40% of tenants planning a move now that Covid has eased says Nationwide3rd May 2021 Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicensed rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021last_img read more

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Back of the net! Branch launch gets the Grobbelaar thumbs up

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » Back of the net! Branch launch gets the Grobbelaar thumbs up previous nextAgencies & PeopleBack of the net! Branch launch gets the Grobbelaar thumbs upLegendary former Liverpool goalkeeper joins other sporting stars at opening of NW of England estate agency’s latest new officeNigel Lewis4th November 20190531 Views Any independent estate agency planning to launch a new branch pulls every string available to stir up publicity for its new office.But eight-branch NW England firm Ashtons has pulled an extraordinary coup after persuading former Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar (above, second left) to launch its latest high street location.Its new branch on Kiln Lane in Eccleston, Lancashire was launched over the weekend by former footballer Grobbelaar alongside local rugby star Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.Zimbabwean Grobbelaar spent 14 years at Liverpool between 1981 and 1994 winning six league titles, three FA Cups, three League Cups and a European Cup in his time at the club.McCarthy-Scarsbrook joined Saints in 2011 and was part of last month’s Grand Final winning team and has been granted a testimonial by the club ahead of his tenth season with Saints in 2020.“We have longed to open an office in Eccleston and we are delighted that so many local residents and familiar faces have spared their time to help us celebrate,” says Ashtons managing director Kristian Derrick.The launch co-incided with a raffle with prizes including signed Liverpool and Saint shirts, pro-golf lessons and Haydock Racecourse tickets. bruce grobebelaar Ashtons Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook Liverpool November 4, 2019Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021last_img read more

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Deputy Secretary of Defense Visits Nimitz-Carrier Aircraft Carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower

first_img View post tag: Naval Share this article View post tag: Secretary View post tag: News by topic View post tag: USS View post tag: Aircraft View post tag: Carrier Training & Education View post tag: Eisenhower Back to overview,Home naval-today Deputy Secretary of Defense Visits Nimitz-Carrier Aircraft Carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower View post tag: D.center_img The Deputy Secretary of Defense visited Nimitz-carrier aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) to thank Sailors for the role they are playing in support to regional partners as the ship operates in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility, Oct. 19.Dr. Ashton Carter‘s visit to the ship came as part of several stops he made throughout the region to regional partners to extend to them sentiments of U.S. commitment to stability and to thank them for their longstanding support to the United States.“You are doing remarkable things aboard this ship. You have been working incredibly hard for these last five months, at great sacrifice, for all of our security,” said Carter during an all-hands call with ship and squadron personnel. “I know that you will be out here beyond the typical seven-month deployment, for an extended nine months. So today I wanted to come out and visit and thank you for all that you do for our country and our national defense.”During his visit, Carter toured the ship and recognized 28 Sailors with coins at the all-hands call. He also ate a meal with Sailors, hearing from them about why they serve and what their brightest moments have been on deployment so far. The trip to the ship concluded with an airpower demonstration by aircraft of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7.Carter said that he observed a tremendous amount of pride from Ike Sailors.“This ship symbolizes the great spirit of American military innovation and strength,” said Carter. “It is a source of immense national pride.”Meeting Carter was a proud moment for Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 2nd Class (AW) Charles Hubbard of the Patriots of Electronic Attack Squadron 140. He said that Carter’s visit deeply motivated him as Ike continues its deployment.“It’s an honor that he came all the way over from Washington, D.C., to touch base with us and talk to us about current events,” said Hubbard. “To come out and talk to your [Sailors] when you’re in such a high position, it means a lot.”As part of the air power demonstration, the aircraft of CVW 7 performed everything from high-speed maneuvers to formation flying. Carter said he was impressed and understood clearly why the team is an integral piece in providing maritime security and stability in the region.“You are playing a part in history, right now. Every time you prepare a jet to take off. Every action you take to keep this ship moving forward. You are what matters most,” said Carter. “You extend that long line of naval service that has carried our nation through every decisive moment in our history. We are all made safer and more secure because of you. And the nation is forever grateful.”[mappress]Naval Today Staff, October 22, 2012; Image: US Navy View post tag: visits View post tag: Nimitz-Carrier View post tag: Navy October 22, 2012 View post tag: Deputy View post tag: Defense Deputy Secretary of Defense Visits Nimitz-Carrier Aircraft Carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower View post tag: Dwightlast_img read more

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Franchise success

first_imgJumping up six places in British Baker’s Top 50 bakery retailers table this January, was UK coffee chain Coffee Republic. Currently at ninth place, up from 15 last year, the firm has seen massive expansion in the last year and shows no signs of slowing down.It may still be behind Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Caffè Nero in terms of store numbers, but it managed to more than double its estate in 2008, from 102 outlets at the end of 2007, to just over 200 stores at the start of 2009. And it plans to achieve a total of 250 outlets by the end of the year. So what is the secret of its success? Successful franchising it seems.The coffee house, established in 1995, has franchised outlets in the UK, as well as concessions in Cineworld cinemas and pub retailer and brewer Greene King. According to head of franchising Kath Cooper, the expansion was achieved due to an aggressive recruitment marketing programme throughout 2006 and early 2007, as well as a drive to find suitable concessions partners, which saw them strike the deal with Cineworld.”Our concessions department grew from 36 at the end of 2007 to 111 by the end of 2008, and Coffee Republic will continue to grow its concessions profile in 2009,” says Cooper. “Our strategy is to target different market sectors over the year, with the opportunity to add incremental sales through our premium branded coffee offer.”In terms of bakery, Coffee Republic offers a wide range of products, including traditionally popular pastries such as croissants and pains au chocolat, and it believes the quality of the food is equally as important as the drinks it offers. “We bake most of our pastries and baguettes, from raw, frozen dough, in-store daily,” says Cooper. “Where we gain the edge on our competitors is by baking fresh every day.”The company says it always tries to improve its food range and introduce new products. “We wouldn’t compromise on the quality we provide to our customers, no matter how tough the market is. The best way to drive footfall into our stores is to offer our customers some special offers and promotions on the products that we provide to them.”Cooper says the business has felt the threat of other high-street coffee chains, but that this can often be used in a positive way. “For example, Christmas 2006 was all about the gingerbread latte at Starbucks. Guess what drink we included on our Christmas 2007 menu?” One of Coffee Republic’s strengths is its ability to change procedures or promotions quickly, she says.As with a lot of businesses, the UK’s current economy has stifled expansion plans somewhat. “Potential investors are being cautious, as are the banks and other financial institutions,” explains Cooper. “What we have found is that we are attracting candidates from different backgrounds – for example, candidates who are now coming into the system have good operational experience but, due to the current climate, have faced redundancy or have simply not found a suitable job. Franchising is a good option in this environment.”The chain has also expanded its reach into overseas coffee culture, with franchises in Malta, Dubai, Bulgaria, Kuwait and Turkey to name a few. Cooper says that, despite the fact many people put the popularity of coffee shops down to them often being focal points in US television series, such as Central Perk in Friends, few people realise that coffee houses actually originated in Turkey.”Coffee Republic has international operations in nine countries, with further expansion plans in place for Asia, Europe and the Middle East,” she says, adding that it’s the business’ aim to cater for the varying tastes of the different cultures in which it is located. Coffee Republic may not be about to knock Costa from its number three spot in the current Top 50 table, but it is definitely going to try.last_img read more

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Medeski Martin & Wood Announce Intimate 25th Anniversary Run In NYC

first_imgBeloved trio Medeski Martin & Wood formed in 1991, and they haven’t looked back since! Comprised of John Medeski, Billy Martin and Chris Wood, each musician brings an incredible amount of musical talent to the table, compounded by their seemingly telepathic inter-connections that result in some of the tightest grooves and wildest improvisation.MMW recently let fans in on plans for a new album, and today they’ve made quite the fun announcement. The trio will hit intimate NYC club Le Poisson Rouge for two nights in October, the 19th and the 20th, to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Will there be new music on the table? There’s only one way to find out!Tickets for the shows go on sale on Friday June 17th, and can be found here for night one and here for night two. We’ll leave you with some Medeski Martin & Wood jams for the road.last_img read more

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AEG Presents And Barclays Center Owners To Purchase NYC’s Webster Hall

first_imgOne of Manhattan’s nightlife staples is going corporate. After 27 years of operating multi-floor East-Village nightclub Webster Hall, the Ballinger family has announced that they will sell the 131-year-old venue to concert promotion giant AEG Presents and Barclay’s Center owners Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment, according to a report in Billboard. The two firms will assume operating rights, assets and the long-term lease from building owner Unity Gallega while Bowery Presents (whom AEG purchased earlier this year) will take over booking and talent buying.The deal originated as a Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment venture, but they eventually made the call to bring in AEG as a 50-50 partnership. Says BSE CEO Brett Yormark, “While we were having [preliminary] discussions, AEG finalized the acquisition of Bowery Presents, which used to book Webster Hall. We’re going to partner on all facets of the business, but obviously let those that know it best lead the way,” Yormark said. Up until March 2014, Bowery had an exclusive at the venue, and Yormark said that the new agreement means the Bowery team will once more be charged with programming and marketing Webster Hall.AEG and BSE plan to spend about $10 million renovating Webster Hall’s Grand Ballroom, The Studio and The Marlin Room spaces to bring them up to contemporary standards and add a few more customer features.According to AEG chairman Jay Marciano, “You can’t replace a venue of its size and stature anywhere on the island of Manhattan, and we jumped at the chance to bring Webster Hall into our growing venue portfolio” which includes staple New York City venues like Terminal 5 and Music Hall of Williamsburg. “It would be cost prohibitive to try and build a venue like Webster Hall from scratch,” says Marciano. “Knowing what I know about New York real estate, I don’t think you could build it for less than $100 million. Webster Hall is a landmark, historic building whose use as a public assembly venue dates back to the 1800s. It’s a venue that any promoter would want to have in their portfolio.”Yormark hopes Webster Hall and other AEG/Bowery Presents facilities become feeder venues for rising artists who aspire to play big arena shows at Nassau Coliseum and Barclays Center.“We’re trying to diversify our venue portfolio so we can connect with artists early and often,” he says. “We have a progression approach that allows us to get to know them and let them understand the experience they’ll have when they play one of our venues.”[h/t – Billboard]last_img read more

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Georgia Beef Challenge

first_imgMore than 1,000 young beef cattle took a special trip to Kansas last fall as a part of the GeorgiaBeef Challenge. Those cattle and their predecessors provided information that helped the Georgia beef industryearn $10 million more in 1994 than in years past. The state’s cattle are still sold at a discount, but the rate has dropped to 4 percent, dramaticallyincreasing Georgia beef farmers’ income. “The ideal would be a combination of heavy muscling with the minimum acceptable marbling fortenderness,” Stewart said. The Challenge continues into the 1995-96 calf season. With the next group of calves to beshipped out this month, Stewart expects producers to consign about a thousand animals to theprogram. Over the past decade, consumers have demanded leaner, tenderer beef at the grocery store. Butfarmers can’t find out how lean their animals are unless they follow them through the feedlot andpacking house. The program is providing benefits all around: the feedlots are getting better-quality calves fromGeorgia, beef lovers are getting better steaks and roasts, and (the benefit that makes it all work)Georgia farmers are getting more money for their cattle. Randolph County beef farmer Bobby Lovett found the Challenge enlightening. “It should be veryevident to people whose calves don’t perform well that they need to make some changes — mostlikely, genetic changes,” he said. After finding out why Georgia farmers receive less money for similar animals, Stewart worked toset up the Challenge with the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, the U.S. Department ofAgriculture Market News, and Hitch Feeders II, a Garden City, Kan., feedlot. Producers usually base the value of their bull selections on how much money they take homefrom the buying point. Stewart said those numbers don’t always tell the whole story. The Challenge does just that. “Because of that reputation, Southeastern farmers’ beef prices were discounted by 7 percent,”Stewart said. Over the years, that discount has cost the Georgia beef industry millions of dollars. Then, after slaughter, each animal’s fat percentage, rib eye area score and other facts are added toits record. “I think it’s making better cattlemen out of all of us,” Lovett said. “The Georgia Beef Challenge is a method for these cattlemen to see where their genetics are atthis point in time,” said Robert Stewart, an animal scientist with the University of GeorgiaExtension Service. Stewart began the program just four years ago to eliminate the reputation Southeastern calves hadfor being inferior to beef produced in other parts of the country. Some cattle are more heavily muscled with very little fat. Others lay extra fat within the muscle– this marbling makes meat tenderer, but higher in fat. Stewart said most industry trends start at the feedlot and packing houses, “and we’re far removedfrom there, so we may miss some of that information.” “It’s the only reasonable way that they can get feedback on what their genetics are producing andcontributing to the industry,” he said. The news is not always good for the farmer. “It’s going to point out his strengths and weaknesses,and we have to emphasize them both,” Stewart said. Consumers want beef that’s lean and tender. Armed with information from the Georgia BeefChallenge, a farmer can adjust his genetic program to aim for that perfect combination. Cattle in the program travel to the Kansas feedlot, where assistants record the daily weight gainof each animal as the cattle mature. The county Extension office has information about producing beef and including beef in ahealthy, well-balanced diet.last_img read more

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Flavor of Georgia

first_imgFrom cheeses to chutneys, craft chocolate to chorizo, the 2015 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest—hosted by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development—will celebrate Georgians’ creativity and craftsmanship by finding the best value-added products in the state. Registration opened Monday for the 2015 contest.“Flavor of Georgia is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain publicity and exposure for their products,” said Sharon P. Kane, a UGA food business development specialist and the contest’s coordinator. “It’s also a chance for them to network with other food entrepreneurs and industry experts.” Nearly 90 percent of the finalists in the 2014 Flavor of Georgia Contest reported seeing increased interest in their products following the contest, and many others benefitted from increased sales, profits, publicity and website traffic, she said. Some also indicated an increase in full- and part-time employees. More than 50 percent saw an increase in new contracts within one month of the contest. A follow-up survey of past finalists, from the 2007 through 2012 contests, found that they attributed about 11 percent of their business revenue to their participation in Flavor of Georgia. Finalists and winners will be eligible to participate in a number of high-profile industry showcases throughout 2015, including the Georgia Grown Symposium, the Georgia National Fair and showcase days at the Buford Highway Farmers Market. They also will receive industry feedback and use of the Flavor of Georgia finalist logo for their product’s packaging. Winners will be featured in the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown magazine, a statewide publicity push, a booth at the Georgia Food Industry Association conference, a spot at the Sherwood Food Distributors annual food show and receive use of Flavor of Georgia winner logo for their packaging. Contest finalists will be invited to participate in the final round of judging and a public tasting March 9-10 as part of the Governor’s Agricultural Awareness Day in Atlanta. Food marketing experts, grocery buyers, chefs and Georgia agricultural experts will judge each product based on flavor, Georgia theme, unique or innovative qualities and commercial appeal. Registration runs through Jan. 30 and includes commercially available products or market-ready prototypes. Product categories include barbecue sauces; beverages; confections; dairy products; jams and jellies; marinades and sauces; meat and seafood; salsas, chutneys and condiments; snack foods; and miscellaneous products. There is no limit to the number of products an individual can submit. Follow @Flavor_of_GA on Twitter for updates. For more information or to register, see flavorofgeorgia.com or call 706-583-0347. Registration is $100 per product for entries completed online or $115 each for entries received by mail. Registration prices will increase in the last weeks before the deadline.last_img read more

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Williams Honored

first_imgAfter more than 30 years, Frank Williams has retired from his position as the groundskeeper for the University of Georgia Coastal Georgia Botanical Garden (CGBG) at the Historic Bamboo Farm, but he still works there three days a week. Even at 75, he hasn’t slowed down.Friends of the Coastal Gardens (FOCG) recently named a classroom at the Savannah, Georgia garden complex in Williams’ honor to show their appreciation for his hard work and dedication. Photographs of Williams adorn the walls of the Frank Williams Classroom.“I was honored when Mr. Jim asked me if they could honor me,” said Williams of FOCG President Dr. Jim Andrews. “Mr. Andrews has always come up with ideas, and he has worked alongside me to make things happen here. When we started work on the camellia garden, it looked like a junkyard. But we dug up stumps, worked hard and got it done.”Williams’ work at CGBG has always been very labor-intensive, but he never complains, and he has never taken a sick day.“The work was hard, and I did a lot of it by myself. But I believe you can’t let the work, work you. You have to work the work,” he said. “And, at the end of the day, your work will speak for you. I prayed for this job and God answered my prayers. And I told Him I would work hard at it.”Williams’ work does speak for him. More than 100,000 visitors come to CGBG each year and enjoy the results of Williams’ weeding, mowing, tending, planting and pruning. Seeing visitors enjoy the garden brings Williams joy.“The more I do out here, the more people come. They enjoy the beauty, and they enjoy nature. I cleared trees and cleaned up the back part of the pond, and now more people come to that spot and get peace,” said Williams.He is fondly called “Mr. Bamboo” and earned his nickname by tending CGBG’s 160 varieties of bamboo. Now an expert on the plant, Williams says bamboo can grow 18 inches in 24 hours. Williams strongly suggests home gardeners think long and hard before adding bamboo to their landscapes.“If you get it, you’ll be stuck with it because it’s really hard to get rid of,” he said. “People always come here to see the bamboo. I used to wonder what they saw in the bamboo, and then I saw something.”Over the years, Williams began to appreciate bamboo and has since crafted bamboo chairs, tables, display racks and fans.“If someone has an idea for something made from bamboo, I can do it,” he said.Williams also turns bamboo pruned from the groves into bamboo chips to use as mulch throughout CGBG. He says bamboo chips keep weeds down and don’t decompose as quickly as bark or pine straw.Gardeners know that there are always things to do in a garden. Williams favorite garden chores are pulling weeds and working in the bamboo. His secret to staying cool working on Georgia’s hot summer days is to wear a thin, long-sleeved shirt and to drink cold water.Like many state workers who manage limited budgets, Williams found ways to stretch dollars and often recycled or repaired items at CGBG. He repaired an old surplus tractor and brought it back to life to use in the garden.Now, Williams teaches the new generation of garden workers how to maintain the gardens and the tractor.“Mr. Frank is a great example and mentor to the younger employees at the garden,” said Tim Davis, current CGBG director and University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Chatham County coordinator. “When others would sit out of work, Mr. Frank is always here. He recently came to work and never missed a day despite being treated for a medical condition.”Williams, who was fighting cancer, happily reports he is cancer-free.“Way back, I told the Lord if He found me a job, I would work and work and work,” he said. “I did and I was able to build a house that’s paid off. And it’s got insulation. It’s not like the one I grew up in where you could see the ground through the cracks.”To learn more about CGBG, go to coastalbg.uga.edu.last_img read more

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Origins of the Swiss Army Knife

first_imgA red handle, a small white cross, a blade or two, and fold-out tools for the job— a Swiss Army Knife is an icon of utility and smart design recognizable the world over. Invented in the 1880s, and today still made exclusively in only two factories in Switzerland, the pocket knives are produced in dozens of varieties at a tune of more than 15 million per year.This summer, on a trip to Europe, I toured Swiss Army Knife factories in Ibach and Delemont, the idyll Swiss towns where pocket knives have been made for more than 100 years. Amid the pounding of machines and the bins of knife implements on the factory floor, workers assembled knife after knife to meet the world’s demand.It was in Ibach, in 1884, where Karl Elsener and his mother, Victoria, opened a cutlery cooperative that would soon produce the first knives sold to the Swiss Army. The original model, called the Soldier Knife, was made for troops who needed a foldable tool that could open canned food and aid in disassembling a rifle. The Soldier Knife included a blade, a reamer, a can opener, a screwdriver, and oak handles.Today, similar simple pocket knives roll continuously off the line at Victorinox A.G., the company that grew out of Elsener’s small cooperative decades back. Blades, corkscrews, files, punches, can openers, scissors, saws, and tiny toothpicks are long-time features.Other Victorinox knives include 21st-century touches like laser pointers, USB storage drives, and fingerprint scanners with data encryption built in. All the implements, from blades to data drives, are foldable or set on springs to disappear when not in use.In Switzerland, I traveled by train from city to city. Across the country, in the French-speaking region of Jura, I toured Wenger S.A., the other half of the Swiss Army coin.The Delemont company, founded as a cutler in the 19th century and later modernized by businessman Theodore Wenger, shares the Swiss Army knife trademark with Victorinox. Both companies’ knives have a similar history, and both have been purchased in bulk quantities by the Swiss Army since the 1890s.Like Victorinox, the Wenger Swiss Army Knives come in dozens of types. The company sells simple pocket knives on up to multitools like the Mike Horn Knife, a half-pound beast with two blades and a pliers. Its EvoGrip line has added ergonomic contours to knife handles. In 2006, Wenger introduced the Giant, a gargantuan, nine-inch-wide “pocket knife” with 85 implements that sells as a collector’s item for $1,400.Wenger and Victorinox are distinct companies. But both are owned by the Elsener family, with the great-grandchildren of Karl Elsener still overseeing production and managing a business that employs thousands of Swiss workers.In Ibach, after a tour of a factory where up to 28,000 Swiss Army Knives are made every day, I sat down with Charles Elsener, one of the great-grandchildren of the company’s founder. He pulled a couple knives from his pocket and started snapping blades and implements out for show.Charles Elsener talked about the hidden springs on which the blades and screwdrivers snap open and closed. It was a type of this spring mechanism, invented in the original Ibach cutlery, that made Swiss Army Knives stand out 100 years back.At my meeting this summer, Charles Elsener spoke about new implements, test products, and the science of metallurgy for making a perfect blade. From the factory below, I could hear the machines beat. It’s been 126 years in Ibach. The Swiss Army Knife machine continues to crank on.—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.last_img read more

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