A few months back while visiting San Francisco I met up with Tellason founders Tony Patella and Pete Searson. I’ve known those guys since 2009 when I first interviewed them for ACL and over the course of a few years we’ve become friends. As Tony and Pete are good guys who know a lot about what’s going on, I do my best to connect with them whenever I visit the Bay Area. When we met up for breakfast we spoke about Oakland amongst other things, and I told Pete and Tony how I have been hearing a lot about the city and how I was keen to check it out. They suggested a few places that they thought were interesting and I made a plan to spend the day out in the East Bay. We finished up our coffee and right before I was about to depart Pete mentioned a new shop out in his hometown of Mill Valley. “Oh yeah, you’re going to love this place.” Pete said. After checking things out in Oakland for most of the day I headed for my last stop of the day in Marin. And that’s the story of how I discovered something new in Mill Valley and how I came to love the Guideboat Company.
Inspired by a childhood in the Adirondacks, Stephen Gordon founded Guideboat Co. to be an amazing collection of well-made and long lasting things loosely organized around collection of boats and a nautical theme. The beautiful new store occupies a historic old saw mill which helped give this affluent North Bay town it’s name. It’s the perfect use for the long mothballed site that many in Mill Valley had worried would not be preserved. While it could certainly be considered off the beaten path for a flagship store, Guideboat is an enthralling retail showcase for this ambitious new endeavor. Though this isn’t the first retail launch for Gordon. Way back in 1979 he founded another little company you may know called Restoration Hardware. Guideboat’s other founder Chad Hurley is also no stranger to success himself, having co-founded YouTube. After spending a few hours in the shop in Mill Valley, I’d say these serial entrepreneurs are on to something.