The sign for Michael Williams’ store, Blade and Bones, on North Howell Street reads “swords and knives, furniture, computers, camera security systems, backpacks, niteize gear, pallet gear, and more.” Williams opened the store this past summer on July 20 and like the sign says, he sells a large array of things.
The store is full of odds and ends — everything from couches, loft beds, and a mini pool table, to swords hanging on the walls, computers, and cases of different kinds of knives.
Williams’ goal with his store is to keep his prices low.
“My big thing is I want to beat internet prices,” he said. “If you find one of my products on the internet from a legitimate site, I will beat that price. Because we are a disposable society and everyone wants things so cheap. But this is actually good quali-
ty stuff at super discounted prices.”
For example, Williams had a couch that was originally $600, but he was selling it for $200.
“The furniture is actually returns that I get from a liquidation site. If I notice damage on it, the price goes down even further,” Williams said.
Williams’ has been working with heating and air conditioning systems for the past 26 years in six different states. But after so many years of standing on concrete floors in front of furnaces or air conditioning, Williams had to have surgery on his knee and the doctor told him that if he keeps working full time he will have to replace the knee in about five years. So Williams decided to scale back on his time in heating and air conditioning and open Blade and Bones.
“I had to gear toward something that would not be as stressful on my knee and the swords and knives have always been a passion, ever since I was a little boy,” Williams said. “My dad was the same way. We always had things hanging on the walls. And I’ve always had a man cave with things hanging on the walls.”
Right now, Williams is limiting his amount of products and trying to see what people like.
“I figured I’d stay small and see what people react to. People love the dog stuff and things like that,” he said.
But, Williams has been having a hard time getting Blade and Bones recognized in the community. So far, everyone who has walked in the store has said they had no idea it was there. Williams is trying to advertise, but knows time is the key.
“It’s kind of frustrating because I just spent $600 on advertising,” he said. “I just started the Facebook and its slowly catching on and reaching more people. I know it will just take time.”
Williams said he is at a disadvantage only being at the shop for three days a week.
“The other three days I’m still doing the heating and air conditioning for Ryan and Bradshaw,” Williams said.
It would be better to have the store open more often, but Williams is raising his two kids by himself and the bills have to get paid so he has to keep working part time in heating and cooling.
“I got two teenagers. I’ve got to pay the bills. Whether this makes it or breaks it I got bills I got to pay. I got to feed those kids. I got soccer shoes I got to buy,” Williams said.
He has gotten a good response from the customers who have come in so he is hoping it will eventually get more well known.
One student, junior Kiara Freeman, checked out the store and said, “I haven’t been in a store like that. It was a bunch of cool, random stuff with kind of a dark vibe. The owner was very friendly.”
Another student, junior Lydia Paroline, visited the store and said, “It’s an epic store with awesome swords and something for everyone.”