Chrome Bags Announces Same-Day Delivery by Bike Messenger in SF

Chrome Bags has undertaken a new initiative to further root themselves in the local bicycle community that affords them much of their customer base: using bicycle couriers to deliver bags in San Francisco. Starting November 20th, anyone buying a bag in San Francisco by 3 pm will get that bag same-day, delivered by a hot and sweaty Godspeed Courier, at no extra charge. 

Godspeed_small.jpgGodspeed and Chrome, a match made in San Francisco. Photo: Seng Chen

"The focus here is Chrome supporting the working messengers and this further embeds that," said Rob Reedy, Chrome’s spokesperson. "I think most folks are going to be stoked for that instant gratification."

Same-day delivery by courier hearkens to the heady days of dot-com hyper-convenience, when messengers were dispatched to deliver everything from DVDs to ice cream and beer. Chrome manufactured the bags for one of those short-lived companies, Kozmo.com. Reedy explained that Chrome had loosely talked with Godspeed and other couriers about bag delivery by messenger since then, but the idea hadn’t been implemented. Asked whether the effort was to help Godspeed avoid the plight of downsizing or closure that has hit bicycle couriers across the country, Reedy said his consideration was more about the connection to the messenger community in general.

"Godspeed is doing extremely well, they’re fast,
dependable, legit. We’ve organized events and parties with them in the past," said Reedy. When asked how far Godspeed would ride, Reedy said, "Godspeed will pedal everywhere, they’re animals. They’ll ride over the bridge if needed."  He admitted some longer-distance deliveries might have to be next morning, depending on just how far away and how much business the new promotion engenders.

"The retail store is going to act as the epicenter," said Reedy, who envisioned a swarm of couriers coming in and out on runs. "It’s going to add to the
mystique of the retail store." The new Chrome store, located on 4th Street and Brannan in SoMa, suffered a break in and theft of goods a couple of months ago, but has been doing well, according to Reedy.

For a small business, working with Chrome can be a significant boost. The kids over at Bicycle Coffee Company, who we profiled in July, recently finished a promotion with Chrome, where each new bag purchase included a half-pound of their coffee.

Mikael Kirkman, who roasts the coffee in his pottery studio in Berkeley, said they had moved 600 pounds through the Chrome deal, an enormous boost to their fledgling company, but one that required near-constant roasting.

For Chrome, the coffee promotion grew out of a connection they had to Matthew McKee, one of Bicycle Coffee Company’s co-founders, who had done some artwork for the company’s San Francisco store. Reedy was drawn to the path McKee and Kirkman followed to start their company and said Chrome was looking for similar entrepreneurs.

"For us that was just a cool story, period," he said. "Chrome can be tied to bikes, to urban culture, to art. If something feels good and legitimate, that’s when we jump on it."

  • zsolt

    Quite a long essay dedicated to a marketing gag by a company devoted to selling “sexy”. But what does this have to do with livable streets issues?

  • friscolex

    Plus, Chrome has been supersweet to me as an SFBC bike valet when we’ve parked bikes at their parties (or at parties there). Community involvement FTW!

  • @zsolt,
    I think people who make biking and walking and transit riding “sexier” or more appealing to a broader base are improving the livability of a city. Car companies certainly have been successful with a similar motif, albeit for a much less desirable outcome. And we don’t want to just hit you with policy all day long!

  • zsolt

    This is probably out of place on this forum, but I disagree that Chrome is making biking appealing to a broader base. It is focused on a very narrow thing. What it does is, it sells you the illusion of a piece of that “slightly outlaw bike messenger cool” by having the bags delivered by “animals who bike over the bridge” and some such. In fairness, Chrome’s bags are of good quality. But it’s a bit like saying that Vans’ skateboarder antics contribute to walkable communities. While largely I think everyone should ride wearing and carrying what they want, I think overall the biking community moving *away* from the messenger image (as in the picture in the story) will be a good thing.

    I’ll add a few companies who in my opinion promote biking to a broader base:

    * Right now REI has a sale on waterproof jackets and pants. Very handy for the coming winter rains.

    * Rainbow Grocery, a worker-owned cooperative, is permanently giving 10% discount for SFBC members upon flashing your ID. That is a *huge* deal for a store that sells high quality, mostly organic groceries, and has the greatest bulk bin section in the city.

  • Chris

    I think that what is interesting about this article is that its about a retailer that instead of throwing their goods onto a truck for a local delivery, throws them onto a bicycle. Sure, someone who lives in San Francisco probably could just as easily go to the store to pick up their own bag… but I will give Chrome credit for cutting out the delivery truck and supporting a local bicycle messenger company.

    I bought a chrome bag not because I am trying to look like a messenger, but because they are a great local company that is very active in the local bicycle community.

  • i like it a lot!

    and very happy to see the coverage. more and more of this type of thing is exactly what we want. finding connections and highlighting them, whether successful or not, is what we want — that’s what organizing is — pooling resources to help one another achieve our goals. great stuff.

  • the greasybear

    Chrome and Godspeed (and the two teaming up to sell/deliver) are all part of our evolving local bike culture and economy. You see stuff like this on bikeportland’s blog all the time–they really promote their local bike-related industries.

  • Thanks for sharing the information. and very happy to see the coverage

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