In 1924 the Eberhardt family started their first adventure as a retailer. Not in the capacity that we can now. It was an Asian art shop. This shop exists to this day. Under a different name, Asian Spirit.
In the 50 years that followed, Amsterdam became increasingly popular for tourists. It became easier for everyone to travel and because of Amsterdam's tolerant reputation, people all over the world came to experience it for themselves. The Red Light District, the Coffee Shops, the beautiful canals and the distinctive architecture. Amsterdam grew into a real metropolis and we grew with it. Asian art remained, but space was made for smoking materials, hash pipes, rolling papers and seeds. At the same time, as a kind of crowd puller, a statue was placed just in front of the store entrance. An African statue of an old man slightly bent over, with detailed contours in his face, a thin build and a short beard.
The Eberhardt Asian art store was well known in the street. But this name turned out not to stick with the locals. If you wanted to get something from our store in the vernacular, you went to the ''Old Man''. This name became so well known that in 1978 a name change took place, Eberhardt Asian Art became The Old Man. The name changed, the Old Man stayed and he is still there. Every day. The man now has a legendary almost mythical status in the street. A familiar face in the always dynamic city center. A piece of Amsterdam heritage if you ask us.
At the same time, the smoking products became more and more popular and it was decided to split the store into two unique stores. Asian Spirit and The Old Man Smoke Supplies & Gifts. The first Old Man as we know it today was born. The success of this coincided with the development of the city. The Old Man Smoke became one of the first Headshops in the Netherlands. And grew into one of the strongholds in the city center. An authentic souvenir shop wrapped in a piece of history, with a heart for Amsterdam.
Four years later it was time to take a new direction. From the passion of Frank and Dick at the time, an idea arose to start a shop in the middle of the city center that sold steel goods. Crazy you would think? But passion goes a long way. There was always enthusiasm about the latest gadgets, innovations and developments within the knife market. Many regular customers, hobbyists and enthusiasts came to visit here for a nice cup of coffee and a good conversation about knives, swords and so on. The energy of that team 40 years ago still lives in the team today. As in the past, they are up-to-date with everything that is going on in the market. And can we see that they act as a knowledge center when it comes to Knives & Tools.
Because of this growth there was room for new adventures. The idea, born in the youngsters of the family business, was further fueled by the trends in the city and in the mountains. Boarding, on the street and in the snow was more and more popular. However, both sports were still in their infancy. There is still snowboarding with hard boots and ski bindings. Dick, the current owner and his best friend and colleague Roy (also still in the store), saw the opportunity to pioneer the snowboard and skate market in the Netherlands. In 1988 The Old Man Boardsports was founded. Designed as a store for skaters and snowboarders. This is now our core business with 3 boardsport shops. One on the original spot, the Damstraat. Our largest store The Old Man South is located in the Rijnstraat, which is mainly snowboard oriented and our skate shop Tom's Skateshop / The Old Man West can be found on the clerqstraat.
Now we have arrived at the current situation. A time where a lot has changed, but one thing always remains the same: De Oude Man in front of Damstraat 16. It was difficult for us during the Corona period. Amsterdam was deserted and The Old Man in the center was mostly empty. We decided not to stand still. We flew onto the web during this crisis. We worked hard to develop and improve a web shop that is in line with the stores. TheOldMan.com, which had great success during the corona period, kept our heads above water. And is still growing with our customers in 2023. The Old Man Smoke and Knives & Tools have also developed webshops. Appropriately named TheOldManSmoke.com and TheOldManKnives.com. The unique combination of 3 specialty shops in one can now be found on the internet.
We hope to expand our brand more in the future. Our mission for the near future is to bring back old-fashioned shopping, integrated with current technologies. Nowadays money has to be made quickly, everyone wants to get rich quick and companies see you more as a bag of money than a real person. We offer a counterpoint. In our (almost) 100 years of shopping experience, we know how to treat customers. Not fast, fast, fast. But take your time, give good advice, drink a coffee quietly, make a joke, make some extra effort. You can always contact us if you want honest and sincere advice about tobacco products, steel products, snowboards, surfboards, skateboards, winter jackets, shoes and everything else that can be found in our stores. Always with a smile, always with some Amsterdam bravura, always with a humorous witticism and always with a (ironically enough) youthful, fresh look. Trusted shopping, just like the Old Man on the doorstep, always trusted. The Old Man stands for old-fashioned familiar shopping with a youthful entrepreneurial spirit.