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February 13, 2024 2 min read

We love our Opinel retailers! This month we're heading to Bloomington, Indiana to highlight Opinel retailer JL Waters - Indiana’s oldest outdoor store!  Learn more about the store, how they discovered Opinel, and why they chose to stock our knives!

Tell us a little bit about yourself! 

JL Waters is Indiana’s oldest and most complete outdoor store. Located on the west side of Bloomington’s courthouse square, we have been helping those in the Bloomington area with all of their outdoor adventure and world-traveling needs since 1973.

JL Walters - Opinel USA retail storeJl Walters - Opinel USA retail store

How would you describe your store?

Mike Gostola, the founder of JL Waters, named the shop after his grandfather - John Lewis Waters -  who was an avid outdoorsman. The store readily captures the rustic soul of that sentiment. Stepping through the doors offers a quick glimpse into the wealth of knowledge and experience within the four walls. This history is conspicuously displayed throughout the store in the form of antique products and canoes, and perhaps most notably, hundreds of framed pictures of customers adventuring around the world. Take a look at some of those adventures here!

JL Walters - Opinel USA retailer

How did you hear about Opinel? 

To the best of our memories… we were shown the Opinel products by one of our reps back in the mid 70’s. More than 45 years ago.

Why did you choose to carry Opinel? 

They were simple, cleanly designed, had a nice story and were affordable.

Corporate gifts Opinel USA personalized

For JL Water’s 50th anniversary, Mike and his team ordered a limited series of Opinel knives they gave away at a raffle.

Did you know you could customize your knives? Opinel also offers a corporate gift program: learn more here.

What do your customers like most about Opinel?

Customers are drawn towards brands with heritage and quality, both of which Opinel offers. Along with a timeless value-performance that is different from much anything else that you might find in our knife case.

Do you have a favorite Opinel knife or tool? 

It’s hard to pick a favorite Opinel. The stainless steel No.08 might be the best everyday carry starter knife. The No.08 Mushroom Knife will always be a fixture in our store. Lastly, the No.02 and No.13 always make for excellent conversation starters.

JL Waters - Opinel retailerJL Waters - Opinel retailer
Opinel USA JL Waters retailer JL Waters employees carry Opinel products everyday at the shop.  Opinel USA retailer feature JL Waters

What is your favorite thing to do in your city/town?

From paddling around or fly fishing at Lake Monroe, to hiking in the Charles Deam Wilderness, there’s no shortage of outdoor opportunities in Bloomington, IN. Please stop by and pay us a visit. We’d be happy to get you ready for your next adventure, or simply trade a few of our stories.

JL Waters

109 N College Ave, Bloomington, IN 47404

Experience our knives at your local shops! With over 1,000 retailers in the US, there is most certainly one near you! Check out the Store LocatorNot finding a local retailer? We'd love to hear where you think we should be found! email

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