Pop in and see Gerry and Sue Hopkins, who own and run Ware Bros Cutlery – otherwise known as ‘The Knife Shop’ – at 177 Elizabeth Street in Hobart, just north of the city centre.
Gerry and Sue made the ‘sea change’ lifestyle move from Sydney to Hobart back in 2002, without any intention of buying a cutlery shop. But Gerry’s previous career in IT was too specialised for him to expect to find work in the same field and they were contemplating buying or starting a business. One day the builder who was building their new house said to them “Don’t suppose you’d be interested in a knife shop, would you?”
Originally called Southern Cutlery, there had been a knife shop on the site since 1977, when it was opened by a master sharpener trained in Germany by the name of Max Blonner. When Max decided to sell, the purchasers ended up closing the business for a short while, before it was bought by brothers Brenden and Richard Ware in 1993.
“When we took over the business, we made a conscious decision to keep the olde worlde look of the shop, with lots of cream and burgundy colours.” says Gerry. “The old fashioned look is one that’s appreciated by our customers, who range from individual chefs to private customers, to groomers and vets that get their clippers serviced and blades sharpened by us.”
Ware Bros stock both the Nirey range of electric knife sharpeners and the TKC I.O.Shen range of professional kitchen knives.
“We had a customer come in who had bought a Nirey sharpener and was telling us how good it was, so we decided to stock the Nirey range. We’re now listed as an official distributor on the Total Knife Care website and we get a lot of people coming in from that site and from coverage of the Nirey range in shooting and fishing magazines.” Gerry explains. “The I.O.Shen knives again we didn’t originally stock, but Scott from TKC sent a sample to try out and we really liked it – that original sample is now an employee’s husband’s favourite knife! We made room for the I.O.Shen range, and, of all the brands we stock now, the I.O.Shen knives stand out as being the sharpest ones when they arrive at our shop.”
Gerry and Sue also stock the Alan McKee guide ‘Sharpening’ (which you can get as a free download from this site) and originally put Scott and Luke from TKC in contact with the author.
Here’s something you don’t get at many kitchenware stores – the first sharpen is free! The Knife Shop offers a ‘free sharpen’ for any knife worth more than $15 when you buy from them, so if you’re buying a block set of knives you could save up to $50 in sharpening in the first year.