Office Ahoy
By Michael V. Copeland

(Business 2.0) – Tim Parr, founder of the recently relaunched Swobo bicycle-clothing brand, is the kind of manager who likes to rock the boat. After years of persuading fashion-challenged cyclists to trade in their tight-fitting Lycra attire for Swobo's hipper (and baggier) athletic gear, Parr was determined not to settle for a conventional office space. Instead he found room aboard the City of Seattle--informally known as the Yellow Ferry--a 19th-century wood-hulled side-wheeler that's the oldest on the West Coast. Once used to transport passengers on Puget Sound, the vessel was brought to California in 1959 for restoration and resides today at Yellow Ferry Harbor in Sausalito, along the San Francisco Bay. To Parr and his colleagues, who have done brand consulting for L.L. Bean, Patagonia, and Timbuk2, the 121-foot boat is "the anti-office." Aside from the obvious benefits--bay views and fishing from your desk--the location helps Swobo revitalize the company offsite: Every week (waves and storms permitting) Parr and his team convene for a quick cruise on the other company craft, a small motorboat kept on the ferry's stern deck. "We love getting out there," he says. "Being on the water is a great way to think, to get the ideas flowing." Better yet, clients never turn down an offer for a bayside meeting on the ferryboat. Says Parr, "The last thing this world needs is another office."