You don’t have to look far to realize that Cape Cod is the ultimate outdoor playground. Take Chatham, for instance: Fishing on Monomoy Island, kayaking along Outer Beach. To Michael MacAskill and Scot Butcher, the Cape’s great outdoors are “inspirational” and “life-changing.” These two outdoor enthusiasts have set out to spread that message, creating a community through their shared passion.
Last spring they opened North Chatham Outfitters (NCO), a specialty retail store where service matters most. “The concept is to provide people with the gear they need but also provide them more with the experience they want, whether that be with fishing, hunting, kayaking or paddleboarding,” explains Butcher. “We’re really trying to create more of a lifestyle brand for people to enjoy the outdoors on Cape Cod.”
For MacAskill and Butcher, NCO is more than a store, though the store itself is quite a draw. The 2,200-square-foot outpost on Orleans Road in Chatham features all of the leading outdoor brands, including YETI, Shimano and Penn, at varying price points. Information about any product or topic is always readily available from the knowledgeable NCO staff, many of whom also worked under MacAskill in his previous role as owner of Orleans’ Goose Hummock Shop. Comfy seating and a 75-inch TV help visitors feel right at home, and people are encouraged to stop by and simply hang out—whether it’s with a morning coffee to catch up on the latest fishing report, or at one of NCO’s summer cookouts.
The “NCO family,” as MacAskill puts it, is fast growing, thanks to not only the inclusive nature of the store but also the experiential services NCO offers. Popular are their chartered fishing trips. “We’ve aligned ourselves with upwards of 12 local captains, who we would argue are the best captains and provide the best experience on the Cape,” says MacAskill. NCO also offers lessons for children in fishing, BB gun shooting, paddleboarding and kayaking. And with the recent addition of fly fishing outfitting, NCO has started hosting fly casting lessons, even offering a guide to take participants on their first fly fishing excursion.
“Scot and I feel like we’ve created something on the Cape that’s very unique,” MacAskill says, “and we want to keep this a fun, personal, family-oriented business.”