In the second episode of our new podcast The My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles we will dive deep into the history of Eastman's Sport & Tackle in Falmouth.
Eastman's began as a neighborhood hardware store in Falmouth about 100 years ago. The Eastman family has now been servicing the Falmouth community for 4 generations.
In 1988 Charles Eastman shifted the focus of the store to fishing. Since then the store has serviced Falmouth anglers who fish for everything from scup, to tuna.
This picture was taken in the basement of Eastman's (circa 1940) where fishing tackle was sold from the 1920's until 2001.
Our guest on this episode of the Chronicles is Evan Eastman. Evan took over ownership from his dad in 2019 and is the 4th generation Eastman to operate the store.
In this in-depth interview, Evan shares with us family stories and more from 100 years of doing business in the Falmouth area.
You can listen to our chat with Evan by clicking play below
Click here to read the Podcast Transcription
0:01 Speaker 1: Welcome to the My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles. The My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles Podcast profiles impactful members of our fishing community and beyond. Now here's your host Kevin Collins.
0:17 Kevin: Hello and welcome to the second edition of the My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles Podcast here on myfishingcapecod.com. This is your host Kevin Collins back with you for episode number two of the 2019 chronicle season. It's a pleasure to be back with you once again, we had a great first episode with Jeff Miller of Canal Bait and Tackle and today we've got another outstanding guest lined up for you.
He's going to be joining us here in just a few minutes and his name is Evan Eastman and he is the owner of Eastman Sport and Tackle down on Main Street in Falmouth and for those of you that listen to the My Fishing Cape Cod Podcast you might be familiar with Evan's voice as he's joined us throughout the first 10 or so episodes of the season providing a ton of fishing reports both surf casting, and boat reports from the Falmouth area, Vineyard Sound and Nantucket Sound.
He often fishes over at Middle Ground by boat as well as the Elizabeth Islands so he's got a lot of expertise in that area that he shares with us every week. But today we're going to take a deeper dive into Evan Eastman and Eastman's Sport and Tackle and we're going to get into how this local business came to fruition over the course of the last 30 or so years. Those of you in the Falmouth area are probably familiar with the last name Eastman as that family has run Cape Cod small businesses for over four generations now so we're here today to bring you a closer look at Eastman Sport and Tackle down in Falmouth as well as introduce you to Evan if you don't know him already.
He's a great guy and I'm really looking forward to our sit down today so without further ado it's time to get to our guests and that guest is none other than our good buddy Evan Eastman of Eastman Sport and Tackle down on Main Street in Falmouth Massachusetts. Evan, how are you today?
2:06 Evan: I'm doing great. Thanks Kevin, how are you?
2:08 Kevin: I'm doing fantastic and we got a little bit different audience with us today than our usual podcast so I want to take some time off the top of the show to kind of introduce folks to Evan Eastman. Evan can you explain a little bit about your background, your childhood, where you spent your summers as a kid, where you went to high school, college that type of thing?
2:27 Evan: Yeah, absolutely. So I was born and raised in Falmouth so obviously lived here year round, went to Falmouth public schools up to the age of 15 and then I went to boarding school in Connecticut and went to Pomphret school. During that time you know spending the summers in Falmouth during high school, I worked at Eastman Sport and Tackle. Obviously love to fish during the summers and I also spent some time going up to the Thousand Islands. My mom is from upstate New York so I would spend a month every summer going up to the Thousand Islands and I was able to do a tremendous amount of fishing up there as well. Then I ended up going to Denison University out in Grandville Ohio, graduated in 2007 and then moved back to Massachusetts, actually moved back to Boston and I worked for John Hancock so I was in finance for my entire 12 year career prior to owning Eastman Sport and Tackle. So I worked for John Hancock in Boston for seven years and then I moved out to San Francisco and worked for two different companies but Fisher Investments for three years as a financial advisor and so I decided to move back east in 2017 and decided you know, just kind of worked out with my dad where I was able to take over the shop and buy the shop back in February so here we are.
4:04 Kevin: I know that the shop in general and the Eastman name in general has been in business in the Falmouth area for a long, long time. It didn't necessarily start as a bait and tackle shop I understand. The Eastman name in the shop was something a little bit different before it became a bait and tackle shop. Can you give us a little bit of history on the Eastman name in terms of the business structure in Falmouth and how the shop has evolved over the years?
4:29 Evan: Absolutely. So my family's been in Falmouth since the late 1800 and my great grandfather started Eastman’s Hardware which is 150 Main Street in Falmouth in 1913. Initially it was a hardware store and a bicycle repair shop and he also sold bikes. And in the mid to late 1920s is when he really started selling fishing tackle and then my grandfather started working for his dad and you know my dad was telling me stories of the late 30s. My grandfather would make the bamboo rods and take a little skiff out to Cuttyhunk and sell the rods to the Cuttyhunk Striper Club. So Eastman’s has been around for over 100 years and my grandfather ended up taking it over after World War Two. Then my dad Chuck bought it from his dad in 1977 and during that whole time the store, at least a quarter of it, was dedicated to selling fishing tackle. So eventually in the mid-80s my father was starting to get interested in potentially starting another store in addition to Eastman's Hardware that would exclusively sell fishing tackle and so what happened there was a company called The Tackle Box, which was a mail order tackle company, went bankrupt and so my dad purchased that company. Then in 1988 he started Eastman Sport and Tackle. It initially was across the street from Eastman’s Hardware then it was moved in the basement and in the mid to late 90s it was the entire basement of Eastman’s Hardware. Then in early 2000s my dad decided to move the shop from 150 Main Street to 783 Main Street where it currently is and so that was about 2001, been here 73 Main Street quite a few years now and so yeah, that's the kind of the progression of my family's history and legacy in Falmouth and kind of transition to having two separate stores and now me being owner of Eastman Sport and Tackle.
6:43 Kevin: So Evan, you guys have been in the sport and tackle end of this business for over 30 years now. That's a huge accomplishment and you guys are such a part of the fabric of the Falmouth community. Can you just touch on what it means now that you're back home in this region and you've officially joined the family business so to speak and you're leading Eastman's into the future. Explain what it means for you to kind of be part of the Falmouth community and kind of take over that family legacy that must really be an honor for you.
7:17 Evan: It absolutely is, It really is an honor and you know, countless times every week I get someone coming in and saying you know, it's so rare to see you now owning a four generation retail business anywhere and you know, people have come in and said “I used to go to Eastman's when it was in the Toffee Shop and you know, I knew your dad or your grandfather”. Whatever the case may be I think people really appreciate how long we've been doing business in Falmouth and serving the Falmouth community and it seems like it is kind of rare these days where family businesses are kind of a dime a dozen so definitely been an honor to carry the legacy.
7:54 Kevin: Evan talk a little bit about what you remember in terms of growing up fishing, whether it be with your grandpa, your dad. Who kind of got you into fishing kind of took the family business in that direction where it focused just on the sport and tackle end of the business, who was the real driving force in your life as a young guy to really get you the fishing bug?
8:15 Evan: Certainly was my dad you know, always loved to fish and we've always had a boat. As a kid he worked a lot so we weren't fishing a tremendous amount but when we were able to get out there you know, he's definitely a driving influence on me and it also started with my grandparents too. My grandfather, Elwood Eastman, loved to fish, was always on the water, always willing to take us out whenever we wanted to go and so you know him and then also you know, spending so much time in the Thousand Islands with my mom's dad and having him teach me about freshwater fishing up there boating. Both my grandfather's served in World War Two so, they had lasting impressions on me. Growing up I particularly remember when I was 10, 11, 12, spending that month in the Thousand Islands taking out the boat fishing every day, fishing every night, obviously the Cape but also the Thousand Islands was two places where my love for fishing came from.
9:14 Kevin: Let's talk a little bit about your personal journey Evan after college you highlighted a little bit. You went across the country and you tried your hand at a completely different industry than you're in right now. Can you talk a little bit about that time in your life and what really pulled you back here to the Cape Cod region in Falmouth in particular to join the family business and take the baton and run with it.
9:37 Evan: So at the time I got a job offer to move out there and I wasn't sure if I really wanted it but my dad just said to me if you don't like it you can just move back. When I moved out there I was expecting to stay one year, I ended up staying about five and came back to visit a lot. I love California it’s a great place. San Francisco is an amazing city but it's extremely expensive and after five years I just felt like that was enough time and I really wanted to move back. I initially was going to be living in Boston but some things happened with the shop and the opportunity came up and I approached my dad. He was going to do something different and we ended up spending a couple weeks talking about it and decided that I wanted to trade in my suit and tie for a backwards hat and a bait shirt, where I can go fishing every day and help people. That's what I really truly enjoy and that's what I really enjoyed about being a financial advisor is truly helping people and seeing them just really thank you for the time and seeing them catch some fish so I really, really enjoy helping people and that's going to be a driving force for me at Eastman's as I grow my business.
10:53 Kevin: So Evan talking about your personal journey still as a fisherman can you talk about how your passions? If they've evolved at all over the years from when you were a young kid growing up in the Falmouth area to now as a full blown adult running his own sport and tackle shop on Main Street in Falmouth. Can you talk a little bit about how your tastes have evolved? Did you go from fishing freshwater as a youngster and all the different kettle ponds or were you salty from the beginning? Talk a little bit about how your fishing habits have evolved over the years as you grew up here on Cape Cod.
11:26 Evan: For sure, absolutely so obviously living in West Falmouth a lot of the fishing I did as a kid was to just ride my bike. Many spots to fish in West Falmouth where it was five minute bike rides, just strap my rod in, go down there, make a few casts, catch a few fish and I was able to get back before the sun went down. So obviously striper fishing from shore is always been something I've done a lot of and like I said growing up we would spend that month on the St. Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands. So the majority of the freshwater fishing I did was when I went up there so obviously there's a ton of ponds in Falmouth that you could fish. I certainly did fish there but I would really, really look forward to getting up there (New York) and we had to basically live on an island, so we had to park our car, take the boat to the house and the minute I got there I had the rod in my hand ready to go and I was able to fish from shore and then take the boat out as well and as I got older in high school. Definitely did a lot more targeting larger stripers and I did a lot of fishing for Bonito and so I've done countless trips out there. I've learned from some really, really good fishermen, one in particular Captain Eric Staplefield of Hairball Charters. He would take me out on many trips, he's taught me a lot about bonito fishing and so over the years, that's been one of my favorite things to do is to get out in the hooter and catch a ton of bonito. So as I evolved over the last six months or so trying to target larger fish from shore, something I've had a lot of fun doing, throwing eels or Danny plugs and things of that nature, so now it's my job to go fishing to test out some new products, rods and reels and different lines and all that stuff so I can't do that sitting at the store so it's definitely fun and now it's actually my job so it's been a blast.
13:39 Kevin: So Evan, I'm going to ask you a loaded question here. If you had one day to go fishing what type of fishing would it be and where would you go?
13:48 Evan: That's a tough question, I guess I would say this, I was kind of thinking about my favorite trip or if I had to say one story about one fish, it was at the hooter, and my dad and I were fishing for bonito on the water, the lines have been in for no less than five minutes and first rod off and I had never seen so much force just smoked the rod and snapped and then the left rod went off and I was able to grab it and I knew right away that it was a tuna and so that was really, really fun. So I would say using light tackle to catch small tuna. The one that I am catching was about 20 pounds so it's a great ride out there. It's really, really beautiful from Falmouth Harbor. The scenery on both sides of the Vineyard and the getting out there and fighting a big fish on really light tackle, I would say that's if I had one day left, I would do that for sure.
14:56 Kevin: Well Evan now, pivoting into the business end of things, I want you to put your thinking cap on your business man outfit back on from San Francisco and I want you to give us a little bit of a taste of what it's like to run your own business, to be your own boss, you know some of the pros and cons of being a small business owner here on Cape Cod.
15:15 Evan: Well, I must say being my own boss is really great and there's an article that was written quite some time ago about my family, Eastman’s Hardware, and how my great grandfather had started it. My father was quoted saying he wanted to be a small business owner because he didn't want to have a boss and work for large companies. For 12 years I kind of felt like it was time for me to try something new and be my own boss. Sounded really attractive but it is a double edged sword as many small business owners know and maybe a few other people because things happen and nothing's perfect and while you're working for those large companies you can outsource a lot of that problem solving. A lot of the stuff that happens to other people whereas you’re a sole proprietors or a small business owner you're really just relying on yourself. But it's been fantastic running a retail shop in today's day and age. I think it's obviously something that people can get online but I really do believe that people enjoy coming to tackle shops. A lot of the time they need something in a pinch, they lose a lure, rod tips replaced, but they come in and talk to the guys at tack shop, get educated, figure out where to fish, how to fish, what to fish for and I think people really truly enjoy and value the advice and the help that people provide in tackle shops. One thing I think about local tackle shops is that people really would like and appreciate coming in and actually feeling the rod and reel in their hand and I think you really can't replace that and so that more than anything is something that's definitely in our favor as you know a small local retail Bait and Tackle shop is that you know especially those items that you really want to feel in your hand before you purchase them.
17: 11 Kevin: Well Evan, for everyone that listens to the weekly My Fishing Cape Cod podcast, we often talk about all the different live bait, frozen bait, rods, reels, lure’s, and all the different apparel that you guys offer. I want to give you the platform for a sec to maybe bring up something that you guys have in shop or maybe an area of expertise that we don't often talk about that you want the folks on Cape Cod to know about.
17:34 Evan: Yeah absolutely, so one thing that's been quite popular over the years and this year in particular is we sell a lot of clamming equipment. We have about eight different types of clamming rakes, we sell clamming baskets, the baskets with the inflatable floats. You're required to have a clam cage so we sell those as well so that might be something that the general audience wouldn't think that we may carry but we sell a lot of rakes and it's something that people love to do. Particularly their family so a lot of people coming in couples, kids, whatever the case may be seem to really, really enjoy doing the shell fishing.
18:17 Kevin: And the last question Evan, I know I've been putting you through the gauntlet here, putting you on the spot left and right but the last question is a little bit of a loaded one so I apologize if it's a little bit difficult but just as a new small business owner you mentioned you came back home here, you're taking over the family business and you're taking Eastman Sport and Tackle well into the future here. Can you talk a little bit about the kind of your goals as we move into the future and those goals may be intertwined with the goals of the shop in general but I just wanted to give you a little bit of a platform to talk to the people out there who are listening to the podcast who may have never met you or who may not have even known that Eastman Sport and Tackle existed. I want to give a chance to talk to those people and just describe your vision for the future and your goals for yourself and for your business.
19: 07 Evan: So obviously as a new business owner, as someone who hasn't lived in Falmouth basically since I was a teenager year round just trying to grow my business, getting a great customer base, start to get to know more local fishermen, people who are visiting and tourists business as well but one area that I'm really trying to put a lot of time, effort and money is to increase my fly fishing selection. So I've actually hired someone to help me triple the size of my inventory for flies, fly time material, line, carry some more rods and reels and things of that nature so I really like to make that a very big part of me moving forward. Over the last few months I felt like there's definitely a demand for it. People are certainly interested in learning and one thing I might be interested in doing as well is potentially doing some classes with some professionals like fly fishing classes where you get a rod and reel with the price of the class and something like that where people helping people and get people involved in fly fishing, so that's one of my goals. I think that starting in the spring of next year, I'll have that accomplished but in addition to that like my dad did before me, he really got involved in the Fountain community. He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce for a very long time serving the board, he was actually voted citizen of the year and so I'd just like to follow in his footsteps, get involved in the community and do things like that so really looking forward to continuing serving the community and get involved.
20:51 Kevin: That's an awesome answer Evan, I know it's a loaded question but I really enjoyed hearing more about your dad and your grandpa and I don't want to put you on the spot but it seems like you've got some awful big shoes to fill.
21:02 Evan: I definitely do, I definitely do that's for sure.
21:05 Kevin: So Evan, I want to thank you for sharing so much of your time with us and so much of yourself with us on today's podcast and I want to take a moment here at the end of the show to promote Eastman Sport and Tackle. Eastman Sport and Tackle is located down on 783 Main Street in Falmouth. Their store hours are Monday through Thursday 7am to 6pm and on the weekends Friday and Saturday they're open a little bit later 7am to 7pm and on Sunday its back to 7am to 6pm. Their website is Eastmanstackle.com. And I urge everybody to not rely on technology but go in and if you get the chance meet Evan, meet his friendly staff, check out the shop, I know that you won't be disappointed. Evan thank you so much for spending some time with us on today's second ever edition for the My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles. I wish you the absolute best with Eastman Sport and Tackle, I look forward to our weekly podcast visits for many more moons to come my friend.
22:05 Evan: Thank you very much Kevin. Great job, great questions really appreciate it and had a great time.
22:09 Kevin: Thanks to our podcast guests Evan Eastman for joining us on today's second ever edition of the My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles here on MyFishingCapeCod.com. I hope all of you enjoyed getting to know Evan and learning about the institution that is Eastman Sport and Tackle down in Falmouth. I encourage everybody in that region as well as folks that may be passing by to swing in the shop say hi to Evan sometime. He's an awesome guy to talk to and he's a great resource for fishing in that region. That's going to put the wraps on episode number two of the My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles. I want to thank everybody for tuning in and listening to today's program. In another week or so we're going to be posting the third episode of The Chronicle so be sure to keep an eye out for that as well as our weekly My Fishing Cape Cod podcasts which posts on every Friday during the season from now through October so thanks everybody for listening. It was an absolute honor to be with you as always and I look forward to catching you again on the next episode of the My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles. Until then this is your host Kevin Collins signing off tight lines and take care.
23:21 Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles podcast. From all of us here at My Fishing Cape Cod, tight lines and take care.
23:32 Speaker 2: For the latest information on how to fish the cape be sure to check out MyFishingCapecod.com, become a member today and receive your first month for just $1. Join us as a My Fishing Cape Cod member.
Evan Eastman (pictured above) was born and raised in Falmouth, MA. Growing up he spent his summer days fishing the waters of Vineyard Sound, and working at Eastman's with his dad Charles. Evan worked for 15 years in the finance industry before taking over ownership of the store in 2019.
In this photo from 1988, Charles Eastman Jr., left, and his manager James H. Young, are getting ready to open Eastman's Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth. Current owner Evan Eastman (son of Charles) is the fourth generation Eastman to run the business, and Jim still works at the shop to this day.
Our mission with the new Chronicles podcast is to share the magic of Cape Cod through through interviews with local experts and members of the Cape Cod fishing community.
Each Chronicles episode will last around 25 minutes, and will include a written transcription of the podcast for people who prefer to read instead of listen.
Episodes of the Chronicles can also be listened to on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you get your podcasts!
Thank you as always for listening to our podcasts here on My Fishing Cape Cod.
Tight lines and take care!
Kevin spent almost 10 years with the New England Patriots and New England Revolution producing podcasts and other digital content. He currently serves as the host and Executive Producer of the My Fishing Cape Cod Podcast. In addition, he serves as a Radio Color Commentator for Boston College Men’s basketball and produces various other podcasts for major outlets across the country. He is from Manomet, MA and has salt water running through his veins.