Well-made in Chico

Help fund a company’s efforts to do local manufacturing

I was skimming through a long list of emails a few Mondays ago, trying to catch up on communication after some days out of the office, when a subject line with the words cool, sleek and badass caught my attention.

Most of my email communication is strictly professional and proper—when you’re emailing back and forth with executives for major food companies, “badass” doesn’t usually make its way into conversations. But after opening the email from Marc Nemanic, executive director at the private nonprofit economic development agency 3Core, I realized there isn’t any clearer way to describe Jake Wade and his latest venture.

Wade was featured in this newspaper earlier this year, with a story highlighting Parallel Revolution, the sustainable clothing company he started with business partner Andrew Schrage. The story mentioned that Wade’s vision was to bring the manufacturing of the company’s hemp-based button-ups and T-shirts to Chico.

Now Wade is launching the first garment under Parallel Revolution’s new line, Jake Wade Well-Made—The Fastback Jacket—and the plan is to make them right here in Chico, at the Work Training Center.

Prototypes of the jacket, which will come in a stylish black hemp herringbone or gray hemp twill, have already been made, and Wade recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help support the launch of this new endeavor. The campaign ends May 24 and backers can get one of the hip and handsome jackets for $250-$350, with different support options available.

The jacket is slick and boasts seven pockets, but I was more fascinated with Wade’s commitment to growing the local economy. In a brief chat, the San Diego-area native reiterated his desire to grow his business here, in Chico, and his affinity for his adopted community. The Kickstarter campaign page notes that the project will allow the Work Training Center to increase employment at the manufacturing facility by 620 percent.

Visit tinyurl.com/jakewellmade to see a fantastic video introduction by Wade, a 24-year-old Chico State grad, which explains more about the fine craftsmanship of the jacket and Wade’s philosophy behind the business.

Wade is more than halfway toward his goal of raising $16,000 and the project will be funded only if the total is raised.

If you’re inclined to back the project, keep in mind that your dollars can have a greater impact through an investment challenge offered by 3Core. The nonprofit just announced that it will kick in $1 for every $2 contribution, up to $2,500. That’s because Wade’s project lines up with 3Core’s mission of cultivating heathy businesses. Plus, as Nemanic said, the jacket is just badass.

No more pies or palms. If you’ve driven through the Chico Mall parking lot in the last few weeks, you may have noticed something missing: The Marie Callendar’s restaurant has been demolished, making way for the new construction of Panera Bread in the same location. The palm trees, mentioned in a previous column, are also noticeably absent, taken out along with the old building.

There’s no definitive date for Panera’s opening yet. Stay tuned.