WICKER PARK — Timbuk2, a San Francisco-based messenger bag shop, opened quietly in an old Wicker Park firehouse this week and is celebrating its first Midwest expansion with a party on Saturday.
The soiree, which takes place from 2-8 p.m. Saturday, is set to include food from Tamale Spaceship and Stan’s Donuts and Coffee, beer from Revolution Brewing, Uber ride deals, a photo booth, $5 Miir pint glasses benefiting Chicago's Active Transportation Alliance and a made-in-San Francisco gift with purchase.
At 2,100 square feet, the store at 1623 N. Damen Ave. is the retailer's largest location yet.
The shop includes a spot of benches for cyclists to sit and charge their phones, use the shop's tire pump and bike tubes, or get a sip from an indoor drinking fountain.
The area was inspired by a West Coast "parklet," commonly an outdoor sitting area that takes up a few parking spaces.
"We want it to be a place where people meet and hang out," Timbuk2 spokeswoman Defne Altan said.
There's also a custom station where customers can design a messenger bag, tote or backpack, which will then be made in San Francisco and shipped in.
Ordering from the store rather than online gives customers "the ability to touch and feel" various fabrics, Timbuk2 San Francisco manager Jared Fickel said.
The company's future plans for Chicago include partnering with Active Trans for various Bike to Work events in June and launching its own bike-sharing program that month.
As with other stores, the company will offer customers a loaner bike, if available, along with a helmet, Timbuk2 bag and lock. In exchange, cyclists usually have to fill out a form and then hand over a driver's license and credit card for the shop to hold onto.
Inside the Damen Avenue shop, various West Coast touches include the "parklet," a California collection and even a cactus plant.
"We wanted to bring a little bit of San Francisco to Chicago," Altan said.
Timbuk2's 1623 N. Damen Ave. store hours are from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays and 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Sundays.