Biz Buzz

iFixit buys building in downtown San Luis Obispo for new headquarters

Tech firm will move to Monterey Street next year, co-founder says

jhickey@thetribunenews.comMarch 7, 2013 

San Luis Obispo tech company iFixit has purchased a downtown building with plans to create a new, employee-friendly headquarters.

iFixit, which sells do-it-yourself repair kits for electronic gadgets in an effort to empower consumers and keep technology out of landfills, purchased the Monterey Street Garage at 1330 Monterey St. from developer Rob Rossi for an undisclosed sum. The location previously housed Cole Motors and SLO Vespa.

“People have been fixing cars in there for more than 50 years. The site has a history of people making machines better,” which fits with iFixit’s mission, said Kyle Wiens, iFixit’s chief executive officer.

iFixit’s 35 employees will continue to work at the current location at 81 Higuera St. until renovations to the new site are completed in 2014, Wiens said.

He declined to disclose the value of renovations, which will add a second story within the existing 17,200-square-foot layout and create what he calls a “collegiate” atmosphere with roof decks overlooking downtown.

Wiens said that the company, which buys each new employee a bike, wanted to be centrally located for an easy walk or bicycle commute.

When asked if he has ever considered moving out of California or the Central Coast, Wiens admitted that California taxes are “brutal” for business. But iFixit has chosen to invest in staying in San Luis Obispo for its gorgeous location and proximity to the university.

“Our new location is halfway between downtown and Cal Poly, and that’s no accident,” Wiens said.

The business is owned by Wiens and Luke Soules, who started iFixit in 2003 while studying engineering at Cal Poly.

In 2011, the company reported $5.9 million in revenues, according to Inc.com, an online business magazine.

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