Columbia Trading Company was founded by Bob Glick, a school teacher in the Bronx, who began publishing a nautical book catalog in his basement in 1983. Bob had grown up hanging around the shore of Sheepshead Bay (you guessed it) messing around with boats. Once the business was established, Bob moved his family in 1995 to Cape Cod and set up shop on Route 6A out of his garage. Three years later, he was joined in the business by his son, Ed, and together they moved, with expanded product offerings, into new premises near Main Street in Hyannis, not far from the docks that serve travelers headed for Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Bob and Ed sold the business in 2000.
Today, Columbia Trading Company is owned and operated by Dick Hawkins, a former banker from the Boston area with a broad enthusiasm for the shipping industry, sailing, history and just about everything to do with the maritime world. Dick specialized in financing domestic and international transportation companies while a banker. He has been active with the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole since its founding, is also on the Board of the American Sail Training Association (ASTA) in Newport, RI, is an Overseer of the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Cape Cod Maritime Museum in Hyannis. Dick is a member of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Antiquarian Booksellers (MARIAB). Also active is Marian Ferguson, Dick's wife, who weighs in with the experience of a former editor at Little, Brown & Co. as well as a former school librarian. Rounding out the team is a small staff of hardworking helpers who sometimes include one or more of Dick and Marian's four children. The shop was moved to 1022 Main Street (Route 6A), West Barnstable in April, 2007 in order to have more space for more books and other items.