For Mark McMahon and Jason McGibbon, the grand opening of Mission Playground, 2007 San Elijo Ave., on November 8 was the culmination of months of labor-intensive work to prep the storefront and a well-deserved homecoming.
In true retail fashion, it came down to the wire. “We got everything in today,” McMahon said we a sigh of relief during the packed party. With little room to move, people navigated carefully through the store while a ukulele player set the mood.
“I’ve been buying their stuff online for awhile, so it’s nice to have a place to drop in and shop,” said John Pederson, a Cardiff resident. “It’s got a good vibe to it; it definitely fits into the North County aesthetic for what people want.”
Touted as the “clothing company with a conscience,” Mission Playground apparel has been available for a decade at such storefronts as REI and Patagonia. The brand has now found a home in Cardiff’s Town Center, nestled in the northeast corner of the courtyard, next to Rimel’s. “We were looking for a space and this came available and we thought it was a perfect fit,” McMahon said.
After ten years of nurturing a brand, opening a full-fledged store was essential to keeping the mission in Mission Playground relevant. “I started this company because I care about the environment,” McMahon said. “When we’re kids, we have a confined playground but as we grow up we realize the Earth is our playground and we’ve got to protect and respect it.”
Hence, the company’s tag line: “the Earth is our playground, our mission is to preserve it.” In addition to having the designation as an environmentally conscious clothing company, they also uses apparel designs as a vehicle for change.
Since 2003 Mission Playground has built a team of environmentally conscious individuals dedicated to the brand's mission of protecting “the playground” according to McMahon, who recently moved to Cardiff, while McGibbon lives in Half Moon Bay.
All apparel incorporates sustainable fabrics, such as wool, thought-provoking graphics, a pledge to protect the environment and a sewn-in “Earth Tip,” such as “Plant Your Car - bus, bike, walk or carpool” to encourage wearers to take action for a healthier planet. In addition, the shop carries lines of eco-friendly accessories such as messenger bags made from recycled bicycle tires.
“I think the message will play out well here in Cardiff and the shop will probably be one of those places that becomes a gathering spot instead of just a place to buy stuff,” Perry Benton, a Cardiff resident said during the event. “It is really cool stuff though.”