Quaker Lane was first founded in 1972 by Frank Bestwick. It started out humbly, as a small Quonset hut that sold bait to local anglers. The store was run by Frank himself and as business grew, his son's Michael, David and Frank Jr. It didn't take long for word to spread about the reputation and charismatic nature of Bestwick Family, so it didn't come as a surprise that by the mid 1980's the Shop became the largest independently owned tackle shop in the State of Rhode Island, selling bait, tackle, and even canoes!
By 1989 after nearly two decades of service Frank Sr decided it was time to take a break and retire. Determined to keep the business in the family, Frank's Son Michael bought the store from his father that same year.
A "go-getter" by nature Mike hit the ground running. He teamed up the store with the local fresh water bass fishing clubs nearly doubling the existing business and in an effort to meet the needs of the surrounding community, expanded the stores services to include Propane Filling, Ice Sales and even transitioned the stores successful canoe sales and rental business into the ever growing kayak industry. Under Mikes careful supervision the shop reached new heights during the 90's and was even featured as the shop to be in "Fishing Tackle Retailer" Magazine.
Tragically, in December 2005 Quaker Lane suffered devastating fire losing everything but the buildings foundation. Most people counted the shop out, disoriented anglers spread out all over the state in search of gear and a new hang out. This gave rise to many smaller shops through out the state. Not ready to throw in the towel Mike, vowed to bring the store back to its original glory and better. It took nearly 6 months of blood, sweat and literally tears to finally get the shop back on its feet before for the spring of 2007.
Today Quaker Lane still stands and as Mike promised, continues to remain under the ownership of the original Bestwick family. Quaker Lane has quickly adapted to changing needs of today's anglers, specializing in all aspects of angling from light tackle fresh water and offshore Big-game to extreme spin-fishing for Tuna and Japanese style Jig and Pop.
Stop by the shop today, meet the team and be part of New England's angling history!
WHO WE ARE
Shop Owner: Michael Bestwick
Continuing Bestwick tradition, Mike is the lifeblood behind Quaker Lane.
A master of communication and a man "Rich" with friends and network contacts he assures that shop maintains is standards in quality and service.
Mike prides himself on hiring the best men for the job, assuring that is customers are getting not only the right equipment, but the right know how to go along with it.
In addition to serving as President of the business, Mike also loyally serves the stores home Town of North Kingstown as an elected Town Councilman.
Having literally grown up inside the shop, Neil has mastered every aspect of its operation, the products sold and the services offered.
You might consider him the man behind the curtain, Neil handles all of the stock orders, special orders and service/returns for the store.
Over the past few years Neil has taken the reins over from his Step Father Mike and has begun running the day to day operations of Quaker Lane.
Steve McKenna started fishing at age five and instantly fell in love with the sport. He fished freshwater for many years, learning how to use all types of tackle and caught many of the freshwater species available in R.I. and through out New England.
In his early teenage years Steve discovered fly fishing, enthralled by the technique and discipline required, this soon became his main style of angling through High School. At the time his favorite species on fly were trout and salmon.
After High School Steve attended college along the southern coast of Maine. It was during his sophomore year that he landed his first striped bass in the saltwater from shore at the mouth of the Saco River.
Upon graduation he returned to R.I. and continued surf casting for striped bass
as he had grown to love while at college. Rhode Island being a virtual epicenter for striper fishing, it was a natural transition for him. For the next 37 years he has fished the surf for stripers from Maine to Connecticut, though most of that fishing has taken place along Rhody's south shore.
During the last ten years Stevie "Van Staal" has become a local fishing legend. McKenna written numerous articles for several regional and local saltwater fishing magazines and was even featured in one of Mike Laptew's Fishing DVD series. He has also recently collaborated on two books that focused on surf fishing for Bass. Steve has conducted numerous seminars on Surf fishing for sportsman's clubs, regional trade shows, and other organizations.
In addition to being a two time Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers "Governor's Cup" recipient, (an award given to the angler who "releases" the largest striped bass of the season,) This "Surf Sharpie" has landed over 40 striped bass over 40lbs from shore including one over 50.
Capt. Thom Pelletier has been here at Quaker Lane for quite while. “ThomCat” has spent over 45 years on the waters of Narragansett Bay and RI’s South Shore as well as destinations including the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, Aruba, Virginia Beach, North Carolina, Texas and Louisiana. He has also experienced the fantastic salmon and steelhead fishing of Lake Ontario and the landlocked salmon, lake trout and smallmouth bass available in the remote regions of New Hampshire and Maine.
Although he’s tangled with everything from giant bluefin tuna to tarpon to diminutive native brook trout, nowadays, his efforts focus mostly on inshore and ground fishing.
He operates ThomCat Charters, running inshore trips, as well as ThomCat Tackle, producing the very popular ThomCat Fluke Rigs, which outsell all the other fluke rigs in the shop combined. TC writes an “Insiders” column for On The Water magazine along with frequent contributions to several other publications, both regional and national, including Salt Water Sportsman, where his writing and tackle have been featured. He’s also behind the counter at the shop at least a few days a week to serve our valued patrons. He’s as adept at accommodating his customers with suggestions on the “latest” as he is at cracking a timely joke.