The San Francisco-based Chrome had a presence at the Washington Avenue storefront when it was run by Handsome, and when the Minneapolis bike company decided to get out selling apparel and accessories to focus its real bread and butter: bike manufacturing, Chrome seized the opportunity to introduce itself to the cycling-centric Twin Cities on a larger scale. The new company store—Chrome's seventh nationwide—features the full assortment of bags, bicycle shoes that look good enough to wear on the sidewalk, and apparel (almost entirely men's with just a couple of jackets for women—more to come, they say).
Chrome's visual merchandising wiz Paul Wilson spent a month in Minneapolis getting the shop ready, and it shows. Chrome cleverly turns back stock into visual displays by using a conveyor system that runs along the ceiling, featuring its entire bag inventory. Recycled scaffolding is used for shoe storage above display racks so staff isn't constantly leaving the sales floor to get sizes. The back wall is made up of old doors from Bauer Brothers Salvage, along with old seating from the University of Minnesota's Northrop Auditorium. A stationary bicycle allows customers to try Chrome shoes in action, and there's a custom counter to create a Chrome messenger bag all your own.
After years of selling exclusively to indie bike shops, Chrome is growing rapidly—the brand recently debuted at select REI stores, including the one in Bloomington. Chrome, 115 Washington Ave. N., Mpls.