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Chrome Founders Launch Mission Workshop

Published December 22, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (BRAIN)—Two years after selling Chrome Bags, founders Bart Kyzar and Mark Falvai have resurfaced with a new urban backpack startup called Mission Workshop.

The business partners officially launched Mission Workshop in October after their noncompete contract expired following the sale of Chrome, a company they started in the mid 1990s.

While the brains that were behind Chrome are the same as those behind Mission Workshop, Kyzar said the similarities basically end there.

"It's pretty different than Chrome. It's the same people who started Chrome so there's always that symmetry, but the product is a bit more high-end. We're bringing a lot of the outdoor and mountaineering elements into the functional side of the pack, Kyzar said.

Mission Workshop is named for San Francisco’s Mission District, a hub of the city’s urban bike scene where the design and prototype office is located and where an eventual showroom will be.

Manufacturing is done at a factory in Colorado.

“What we’re really trying to bring with this company is to take it to the next level. People who live in an urban environment who don’t have a car spend a lot of time outdoors. We wanted to make a bag that basically would fill that kind of that need. If you live out of your bag you generally need lot of versatility and very large expansion capability,” Kyzar said.

Mission Workshop’s first product, the Vandal, strives to solve those needs. It’s a weatherproof, urban cargo backpack that expands from 1,200 cubic inches to 2,200 cubic inches on the fly. The pack incorporates three built in compartments: The main roll top, the middle laptop compartment and a smaller compartment designed for personal organization.

The Vandal, which retails for $225, also has an integrated a frame sheet and fiberglass rods for support with heavy loads. It is PVC free and uses only urethane-coated fabrics.

Kyzar and Falvai are developing the Vandal in several different sizes, as well as a messenger bag series and a line of stripped down backpacks that come in at a lower pricepoint. They showed early iterations of the products at this year’s Interbike, but the entire updated line will debut at the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow next month in Salt Lake City.

Mission Workshop is using three channels to sell its products: online through its Web site, at its showroom in San Francisco and through quality specialty outdoor and bicycle retailers throughout the country.

For more information, click on the link above to go to the company’s Web site.

—Nicole Formosa

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