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Chrome Industries will relocate from San Francisco to Portland

New Chrome store in downtown Portland-23
The Chrome retail store at 420 SW 10th Ave in downtown Portland.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We just gained another iconic cycling brand: Chrome Industries announced this morning that they plan to relocate to Portland in early April.

Chrome is well-known in the bike world for its messenger bags, shoes and apparel. Closely tied to the messenger scene since its start in Denver, Colorado in 1995. Chrome had been based in San Francisco since 2002 and the company opened a retail store in downtown Portland in 2012. The company makes custom bags in its retail stores and they make about 60 percent of all their products in the USA (bags are made in Chico and apparel is cut and sewn in San Francisco). A rep for the company said there are no immediate plans to bring production jobs to Portland.

In a press release, Chrome explained why they decided to move their head office here:

The head office move to Portland puts renewed focus on product development and innovation, setting it closer to the company’s main innovation lab – already located in Portland. It also serves to bring together Chrome’s Ecommerce team already operating in Portland. Portland is a vibrant, rider-oriented city that will be a strong base for Chrome to imagine international growth, marketing, and continued expansion of ecommerce and retail stores (called HUBS) in the USA and abroad.

The move also makes logistical sense because the company that owns Chrome, Fuerst Group, also owns Keen, a footwear and apparel brand based in Portland.

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Slate Olson, shown here at the BikePortland office in 2012, will return to Portland as Chrome’s new president.

Also announced today was that Slate Olson has been hired as the new president of the company. This will be the second time around for Olson, whom you might remember as the man who led Rapha’s first foray outside of the United Kingdom when that high-end fashion brand set up shop in Portland in 2008.

Olson left Rapha in 2014 to take the job of Chief Marketing Officer at Specialized Bicycles in California.

“The move to Portland sets Chrome up for a brave new chapter,” Olson said in a press release issued today. “I am excited to be part of a brand that is a performance cornerstone for riders, but with the attitude and appetite to define the style and culture for those people who are constantly challenging and redefining their cities.”

Chrome joins a stable of other cycling companies that have chosen Portland as a home base. These include Showers Pass, Rapha, Chris King Precision Components/Cielo Cycles, Castelli USA, Portland Design Works, Islabikes USA, and others.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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