NEW BEDFORD — Kilburn Mill has added an experienced fisherman to its roster of knowledgeable vendors with the opening of Gear to Go Fishing Supply on the first floor.
“I know what works and what doesn’t,” said Peter Farland, co-owner of the new fishing gear shop. “I’m out there fishing and using the products myself.”
Farland comes from a family of fisherman. His father, as well as eight of his uncles, all fish commercially. The New Bedford native remembers his first fishing trip with his dad when he was only 9 years old: a three-day scalloping excursion out of Gloucester.
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After Farland was expelled from New Bedford High School during his junior year, he tried to make it on his own.
He started a landscape company in Falmouth as well as a painting business, but he said he didn’t feel very fulfilled. “It was paying bills, but it wasn’t getting me anywhere in life,” he added.
“I just turned to fishing and was like maybe I should go to my roots.”
Farland has worked on scalloping boats for over 12 years, but admits it’s a hard lifestyle, especially on family. “You’re gone a lot, but I had to kind of make a sacrifice to be where I am,” he said.
Launching a fishing gear shop
In 2019, Farland decided to also invest in selling equipment and apparel, launching an online shop through his personal website.
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“You basically need a certain type of gear to go out fishing,” he said. “Everyone’s gonna need a raincoat, rubber boots… no matter how good you are.”
He said there are only four gear stores in New Bedford where people can purchase commercial fishing gear and he thought there was room for one more.
Farland’s original plan was to be a delivery service for the fisherman at the docks, providing last-minute gear or clothing. “Once you’re out at sea, you can’t get anything,” he said.
But he struggled to reach consumers, so he decided to enter the retail scene quickly discovering the Kilburn Mill.
Inside the nautical-theme shop
Located directly across from the mill’s front entrance, he said the windows that peer into his 1,000 square-foot nautical-themed store have been a big draw.
Farland’s fiancè, AnaMaria Baptista, 34, co-owns the store. “She’s like my manager slash everything,” he said sweetly.
Baptista, who has a one-year-old daughter with Farland, said she’s excited, but also nervous to be in charge of the store, especially when Farland is away on fishing trips.
“All that I have learned is from Peter,” she said. “I went from no knowledge of any type of fishing gear to finding big distributors and was able to make some credit accounts. That’s how we’re running things.”
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She hopes to add a little “girl vibe” to the fishing scene.
Farland said the store will be open (most days) at 7:30 am to meet the morning rush for fisherman seeking last-minute gear.
Educating people on scallops
The store offers men’s shoes, boots, gloves, knives, as well as women’s and kids’ clothing. Farland hopes to change the apparel scene offering new brands including his own. He also has newer kinds of gear including a pad to cover the stomach while cutting scallops to protect fishermen and keep them dry. “Nobody in the world actually has one,” he said.
Farland said he’s thrilled to open the store so he can educate people about the industry and its heritage.
“A lot of people don’t even know where a scallop comes from,” he said. “I want to try to enlighten them and give them a good experience in here.”
Standard-Times staff writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.