High-End Outdoors Retailer 'Guideboat' Coming To Jackson Square

As part of the ongoing transformation of Jackson Square from antique and art galleries to high-end retailers, Mill Valley-based Guideboat has announced it'll open its second brick-and-mortar location at 441 Jackson St. later this month.

The brand is known for its rough-hewn, yet high-quality casual apparel, along with home and camping goods, tools, boats (yes, boats will be sold in the store) and more. Many items are made in the United States, Canada and Europe by people who are experts at what they do and get paid a reasonable wage—a major factor in purchases for many conscientious consumers these days.

The Jackson Square location was chosen because it reflects the brand's ideals of authenticity and quality, said Jamie Roche, vice president of digital for Guideboat. "We think it’s perfect. It reflects our values: We like beautifully made older things that have been brought to current quality levels and fashion expectations."

He particularly enjoys the neighborhood's history. "The Jackson Square area was the oldest continuous business area in San Francisco. These buildings were beautifully made, and they survived the fire and the earthquake."


The Guideboat store in Mill Valley. (Photo: Courtesy of Guideboat)

Stephen Gordon, the original founder of Restoration Hardware and the former CEO of Sundance's catalog, launched Guideboat in 2013. Its Mill Valley flagship store is in the old Mill Valley Lumber Yard Building, which dates from the late 1800s. “[Gordon] has a taste for these great old buildings," said Roche.

The idea for Guideboat came from a rare 1892 J.H. Rushton Guideboat that Gordon acquired. Recalling his memories as a youth growing up in the Adirondacks and rowing on Lake Champlain, Gordon wanted others to make similar memories. So he joined with Chad Hurley, the co-founder of YouTube, to develop new versions of the boats—much as Restoration Hardware developed home furnishings based on classic designs.

It's an interesting coincidence that Jackson Street will soon have a shop selling boats: much of it is built on the hulls of abandoned Gold Rush-era ships.

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High end outdoors retailer guideboat coming to jackson square