Cutting edge shop allows man to fulfill dream of business ownership | Ozaukee Co. Business News

CEDARBURG — Daniel Parsons, the proprietor of Cedarburg Emporium in Cedarburg’s Cedar Creek Settlement, has been in retail most of his life — beginning with helping his mom Robin Parsons, the former owner of three shops at Cedar Creek Settlement, when he was just 6 or 7 years old.

His tasks included opening boxes, stocking and pricing items and later filling in on the cash register as well as working in the Settlement’s various strawberry booths during Cedarburg’s Strawberry Festival.

Fast forward, and now at age 28, after working a few decades in the Settlement, Parsons has established his own shop focusing on “anything and everything a man could want” — including jewelry, watches and, most importantly, sought-after hand-made collector knives.

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But the store also sells items with a softer side, like fudge, fine chocolates from fourth-generation chocolatiers the Abdallah Family from Apple Valley, Min. retro candies, Door County products, antiques, jewelry and other gifts.

Parsons said that his loyal customers account for 150 half-pounds of fudge sales each week.

Parsons also knew what he was getting into with a shop open seven days a week. In fact, he worked 360 days out of 365, his only days off being holidays.

But like most entrepreneurs, he had a burning desire to do his own thing, the freedom to be independent, totally responsible and to make his own decisions. Parsons said he knew he was good with people and a leader, with a business management and marketing degree from Concordia University Wisconsin. He has worked with GSC and 3-D CAD software and at a 3-D printing company as a marketing specialist and campaign coordinator before venturing into his own business.

But, by far, the products that have set his business apart from anywhere else in greater Milwaukee are hand-made knives for anyone and everyone of all kinds that never lose their value. In fact, Parsons said that Cedarburg Emporium now has the No. 1 custom handmade knife collection on display in the United States, awarded to him by Damascus Steel Manufacturing in the U.S.

Through extensive research, Parsons has become an expert on all things knives, and he stocks blades from worldrenowned bladesmiths like Oregon-based Dakota Wilson Knives, and his 2022 Blade of the Year, “The Eclipse Hunter.”

Part-time bladesmith Luke Sparrow of Feathered Knife Works in Tennessee has his “Best Ever Bowie Knife” available in the Emporium. It is made from “Baker Forge & Tool” Damascus Steel, Parsons said, Jordan Berthelot of JB Blades, one the United States best bladesmiths in Texas, is also featured in the Emporium. The number one selling custom handmade knives in the store are by Semper Sharp Custom Knives from Wasilla, Alaska owned and operated by Landon & Haley Chapman. These blades are aesthetically pleasing and will last generations, Parsons said. One of the most sought-after blades in the store is the “Time Keeper” by Alex Norten of Valhalla Ironworks based in Tasmania, Australia.

Parsons said there is a blade for every person, every job and for every day carry (EDC) at the Cedarburg Emporium. Some are made using unusual objects like wooly mammoth teeth and tusks and semi-precious stones like turquoise, malachite, lapis lazuli and jade.

Just as important as his extensive displays, Parsons also excels at personal service — sharing his knowledge and helping educate customers about how to take care of their valuable knives.

Parsons is also involved in the custom knife community and trade and the numerous blade shows, including Blade Atlanta, Blade Texas, Blade West and a blade show in Madison, Parsons is well known on Instagram in the knife community by the username: @cedarburg_emporium.

Parsons said his interest in knives was piqued through spending time with his grandfather Kenneth Hypki, when he was a little boy. As an Ozaukee County farmer, Hypki — a 97-year-old veteran of the USA Air Corps in World War II — had to forge metals in his workshop out of necessity and taught his grandson how to appreciate the usefulness of working with metal and steel.

It’s one of the reasons that Parsons gives all active duty and veteran military members a 10% discount on all items in his shop.

Cedarburg Emporium was founded just one year ago. Parsons said his plans now are finding a few knowledgeable employees and to start another business supplying makers with materials they need, like semi-precious stones.

Once in a while a potential new business partnership idea serendipitously appears, like the afternoon a gentleman from Arkansas casually wandered in, someone who deals in precious stones, crystals, minerals and meteorites, Parsons said.

The Cedarburg Emporium is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is located in The Shops of Cedar Creek Settlement, N70W6340 Bridge Road Cedarburg. Parsons can be reached at Danparsons172795@ gmail.com, @cedarburg_emporium on Instagram or by phone at 262-618-2835.

Cedarburg Emporium owner Dan Parsons is pictured with just a sample of his vast knife collection he has for sale at his store in the The Shops of Cedar Creek Settlement.

Photo courtesy of the Cedarburg Emporium

Left, the Alpha is made by Keaison Knifes in Texas. Right, the Hornet Knife.

Photos courtesy of the Cedarburg Emporium

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