If you ever happen to find yourself in the mission district of downtown San Francisco, rest assured that a good burrito is very easy to find. However, if you look a little further you may just find an awesome little shop down an unassuming alley filled with cycling gear and great coffee. Ok, being in the Bay area that doesn’t really narrow it down very much, but I’m of course talking about Mission Workshop.
While in SF recently, I had a chance to stop by the spot MW calls home to check out the bevy of bags, shoes, clothes and even coffee that fills their tiny warehouse.
Jump past the break to check out what’s going on at 40 Rondel Place!
While finding the alley may be a little tough, once you’re there, there’s no mistaking the airy sales room. Step through a giant garage door and you are greeted with the full Mission Workshop line along with DZR and Quoc Pham shoes, and Outlier and Aether clothing. Even though this is a store front, the relaxed atmosphere leaves it feeling more like a hang out than a retail environment.
Production of MW bags has been moved to a different location in Malibu, but you can still find a few industrial sewing machines on site which are used to make repairs and work on prototypes. A quick look around the tiny second floor will reveal a a collection of vintage sewing machines, piles of shoes, and Tom Selleck’s likeness staring back at you from a Magnum P.I. lunch tray. Honestly, it’s fairly impressive that Mission Workshop is able to utilize such a small place for their base of operations. It’s tight, but cozy.
If you happen to stop by, one of the first things you will likely be greeted with is a delicious cup of coffee from Bicycle Coffee which is a small, but quickly growing coffee brand delivered 100% by bike! Bicycle coffee only deals in organic, fair-trade, hand-picked, shade grown Arabica beans that they roast themselves. Initially, they learned to roast the beans on a wok, then moved to a stove top popcorn maker, and recently aquired a gas powered coffee bean roaster.
With the roastery located in Oakland, Bicycle Coffee Co uses a small corner of Mission Workshop’s space as a packaging and distribution center. The roasted beans are transported in 5 gallon buckets by bike to Mission Workshop where they are weighed out and packaged. Once the bags of coffee are ready to hit the shelves, employees then saddle up and deliver the goods to local cafes, markets, bike shops, and Whole Foods all over the Bay area.
Their favorite method of carrying the coffee to their customers? That would be the new Mission Workshop Fitzroy RuckSack. Not only is the Fitzroy waterproof, but its size and shape allow Bicycle Coffee to carry five 5lb bags, or twenty five 12oz bags of coffee while still keeping the coffee bags looking fresh upon delivery (not to mention still having room for all your stuff-lock, computer, sunglasses, etc). Just after I left, Evan and Brad were going out to finish up the filming on the following video which shows how Brad typically uses the Fitzroy while he’s buzzing coffee around the city. If you’ve ever ridden in SF, then you know the hills are no joke especially when carrying upwards of 20 pounds of coffee on your back.
Thanks to Evan and the MW crew for showing me around, and Bicycle Coffee for the joe!