Crafting Quality Knives and Gunstocks

The combination of modular chassis and Italian-designed wood stocks help WOOX stand out.

Crafting Quality Knives and Gunstocks

Having only entered the market a few years ago, WOOX quickly made a splash with its classic wood stocks made for modern firearms, and the company has continued to innovate from there. 

We spoke with Chip Hunnicutt, WOOX’s general manager and vice president of marketing, to talk about the company’s role in the industry and what it expects moving forward.

SSR: Can you talk about the company’s history and its place in the industry today?

Hunnicutt: WOOX was started in 2019 by Danilo Minelli, the family behind Minelli Group, an Italian company started in 1937 by Francesco Minelli and his three sons in northern Italy. While WOOX is recently established, this “wild child” of Minelli Group has 85 years of woodcrafting and manufacturing experience. WOOX is headquartered in Hickory, North Carolina, with products made in Italy and the U.S.A. Minelli Group had an office here, but WOOX quickly outgrew the shared space and opened its own office and assembly plant nearby, and this is where we fulfill orders for customers across the country today.


SSR: What specific product or model have you seen the most growth in recently?

Hunnicutt: WOOX rifle stocks were immediate hits. The combination of a modular chassis with Italian-designed wood stocks gets a lot of attention. Shooters long for the classic feel of wood that’s also smartly designed with the full functionality of polymer stocks. By far, the Furiosa is the most popular stock and a great introduction to the world of WOOX for outdoorsmen and women exploring truly premium outdoor gear.


SSR: Is there developing technology that might change the way shooters buy or use stocks or cutting implements in the future?

Hunnicutt: The modularity aspect of the WOOX chassis enables our design team to focus on the stock components. One piece, the monoblock, is designed one time for compatibility with multiple forend and shoulder stock designs that can be attached to it.

Like our wood gun stocks, WOOX cutlery has benefitted from our relationship with Minelli Group, an 85-year-old leader in woodcrafting. When chosen meticulously, treated respectfully, and designed innovatively, wood surpasses other materials in beauty and performance. That manufacturing experience is apparent in our supply chain, the tools for creating our products, the materials and coatings.

SSR: Have the recent supply chain problems translated into supply issues in your corner of the industry as well?

Hunnicutt: Like most everyone, WOOX has been affected by the ongoing worldwide supply chain issues. Most pronounced have been logistics related — getting the Italian-built products to our North Carolina assembly and distribution center. 


SSR: Do you have any predictions on what we can expect out of the hunting industry in general in the next year? The next five years?

Hunnicutt: If anything good came from the pandemic, it’s been the increased numbers getting out to explore the outdoors. The premium outdoor gear space has seen much innovation, with WOOX right in the thick of it. Gun owners will continue to add to their collections with firearms dedicated to their pursuits rather than single guns for multiple uses. Similarly, premium cutlery for the outdoors that appreciate with use will continue to be popular as a user’s experience outside grows.


SSR: Where does Woox see potential for growth? Is there part of the industry that’s shrinking?

Hunnicutt: Our growth relies squarely on our ability to add compatibility for our chassis. On a near-daily basis, we get questions from shooters wanting to add our stocks to their rifle, shotgun, AR and even grip panels for handguns. The interest from the industry is just as encouraging, as manufacturers continue to approach us about collaborations. 

More broadly, personalization is where we see things going. Manufacturers are smartly adding custom shops to their online stores, coating and decoration options are as popular as ever with new patterns and colors being released every season, and we’re meeting customer expectations before and after the purchase, wherever that purchase occurs. 

What’s shrinking? Advertising options. Social media and search continue to broadly define what’s permissible. If it’s sharp or scary or can merely be attached to a product, even to make that product safer, it remains a violation of advertising terms. I’m not worried about the loss of access to social media advertising; if you’re building a brand like we are at WOOX, it’s one tool in a balanced portfolio, and not even the best one. Creativity is paramount, because if it’s not noticed, it doesn’t matter what you do. 

SSR: What can we expect out of Woox in the first half of 2023? What products have you most excited for the future?

Hunnicutt: While we don’t comment on unannounced products, I can relay we’ve got a packed roadmap that will keep us busy all year. In the first half, we anticipate shipping the Ruger American chassis, opening up our full line of stocks to that platform’s customer base. We’ll also see the Gladiatore ship, our first entry for shotguns.


SSR: How does Woox support its dealers?

Hunnicutt: WOOX provides a wholesale website for ordering direct any time of day, and we have a variety of downloadable marketing assets. Our sales team members are available to educate dealer staff and provide demonstrations. Co-branding is available to dealers who would like to see their logo on our products, and we have incentive programs for dealer sales teams.

SSR: Do you have any advice for retailers about selling gunstocks and Woox products specifically?

Hunnicutt: Our most successful dealers display a full gun build using our stocks. There’s just no better way for a customer to envision their own rifle in a beautiful WOOX than seeing and holding an example build. We also suggest dealers keep our full compatibility list handy, either for customers to see or, at a minimum, for staff to readily answer questions. In many instances, a dealer will produce a recent rifle target that reinforces the accuracy improvement a customer can expect from a WOOX.


SSR: What’s your personal favorite Woox product, and why?

Hunnicutt: Right now I’m loving the Bad Boy knife. It’s a fixed blade for everyday carry, which, to my genuine surprise, has replaced the trusty folder I kept inside a pocket. Mine is the drop point version, and the size and wicked sharp blade has done double duty as a skinner on my fall hunts.


SSR: Is there anything you’d like retailers to know about Woox and its products?

Hunnicutt: WOOX is coming into the market at a time when hunting interest is at a high, with products that place a premium on quality derived from experience in the craft — these are stocks, knives and axes your heirs will fight over, and that’s why we back them with 100 years of service support.


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