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Found Downtown: Jerry Faver's Knife Stand

By David Markland
Published: Thursday, November 11, 2010, at 03:04PM
IMG_0531 David Markland [Flickr]

86 year old Jerry Faver sells from a collection of knives for $2 on up from a stand at 12th and Los Angeles on Fridays and Saturdays.



At 86 years old, Jerry Faver hasn't abandoned his entrepreneurial spirit. The World War II began his business selling knives only a couple months ago after purchasing his inventory through DIRECTV. After initial efforts to sell his wares at flea markets proved unsuccessful, he now operates from a table he sets up in front of the Big Stige at 12th and Los Angeles on Fridays and Saturdays.

“Two dollar stainless steel pocket knives,” is his quick pitch to anyone who asks what he’s hawking, though he also has hunting and fishing knives, straight razors for shaving, samurai swords, and even one comically oversized pocket knife the length of a baby's arm. While the prices are good - he says one collectible knife that he sells for $6 is priced at Big 5 for $40 - he tells me he’s only sold one of the $2 knives all day.

Now a Long Beach resident, Jerry says his father moved his family here from New York in the 40s to provide for a healthier environment for their sickly mother. Also a lifelong businessman, Jerry said his father's ventures "went up and down a hundred times."

Jerry tells how his father started from scratch selling luggage out of an old bank at 7th and Figueroa. The elder Faver began by lining up a slim stock of paper and wood suitcases out in front of the business, but as business boomed he was filling the store, including the abandoned vaults, with luggage made of finer materials including leather, "and gen-u-ine alligator," Jerry adds with a giggle. "Can you believe that?"

The Bronx native says that he enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17, and earned five bronze stars serving on the USS Indiana in the South Pacific, participating in campaigns at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the Phillipines.

After being discharged, he joined his sister Pat operating a wholesale women's clothing business at Pico and Broadway. He beams when discussing his sister, but solemnly adds that she passed away two days prior. Together they owned the Black & White Building for a few years, before selling it when sales slowed down.

His sister went on to become known locally as Princess Pat, the host of a KTLA show called "Give The Kids a Break" in the 1950s, and later became the first woman in Los Angeles to own an automobile dealership. Jerry says that he continued to remain versatile in a number of jobs including working with a party business in Arcadia. Into his 70s Jerry says he stayed fit playing racquetball against 20-year-olds "and whooping 'em," only being slowed down by triple bypass surgery twelve years ago.

If you’re Downtown and in need of a knife, Jerry should be easy to find. You'll find him sitting behind a stand with the big sign that reads, "World War II Combat Veteran Selling Brand New Custom Knives."

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