Tucked away in a barely visible storefront in downtown Jacksonville you will find Burro Bags. This small group of craftsman, numbering just over four people, is hard at work creating equipment for cyclists and other urban athletes. Their messenger bags, backpacks, t-shirts and hip bags (think fanny packs, but cooler) are adorned by street hikers all around the world.
Chris Williams, owner and operator of Burro Bags, began the business modestly but the popularity of its custom-made gear meant that expansion was inevitable. “We started out in a bedroom in Springfield, then after six months we moved to a little storefront on North Main Street for about two years and then changed over to our current location on Forsyth Street,” explains Williams. Their annual production has topped 12,000 units, but they prefer to concentrate more on quality over quantity. “We have recently scaled back on our wholesale line and have focused more on customized and individual orders,” states Williams.
While production has slowed to meet a growing complexity of preferences, Burro Bags uses a variety of means to engage their customers. “Social media is our biggest tool,” states Amanda Johnson, who handles marketing and public relations for the group. “We have also attended [many] trade shows in the past which is how we reach a lot of the retailers.” Their orders have been filled as far away as Japan and Italy.
The most popular item in the Burro Bag collection is the large roll-top backpack. This weatherproof bag has over 500 cubic inches of storage and offers everlasting promise. “We warranty all of our bags for life. If you ever have an issue with one of our bags, send it back and we will replace it or repair it,” states Williams.
When the rubber meets the road, look for Burro Bags to carry the load.