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The biggest end of the year surprise in the knife world was when Cold Steel founder Lynn C. Thompson announced the sale of his company to GSM Outdoors earlier this month. Immediately questions arose about the future of Cold Steel’s products, materials, and, most importantly, the personnel.
We had a chance to talk with Doug Mann, Vice President of Product Development & Brand Management at GSM Outdoors, to discuss the acquisition, and what will and won’t change going forward.
Who’s Staying, and What’s Changing?
First and foremost, the GSM deal means that Cold Steel’s California-based operation has been shut down. This means that, yes, Cold Steel employees lost their jobs. “Operations were relocated to our headquarters in Irving, TX,” Mann explains. He goes on to say that some personnel was retained. “Employment offers were extended to several people, some accepted while others did not. The lead sharpener and designer were among those that have either relocated or accepted new jobs with the company. Unfortunately some positions were eliminated.”
Mann also told us what Thompson himself already confirmed: that both he and Andrew Demko are staying with the company. “Lynn Thompson is still on board and is currently working to finalize the 2021 new items and will be working with our team on new designs for the future,” Mann says. “Andrew Demko will continue to do what he has done for Cold Steel for years by bringing cutting edge knife designs to the table.” More than 20 new products were in the pipeline prior to the sale, and those are still expected to be revealed in the coming months.