San Luis Obispo-based iFixit, the all-purpose repair advice and parts supply company, has unveiled its new office featuring two stories of open office space, a photography lab and even an auto repair shop.
“We want this to be a friendly place,” said co-founder Kyle Wiens. “So many office set-ups seem like a prison. The people who work here are our biggest asset. We want to make them happy.”
He declined to disclose the cost of the new office at 1330 Monterey St., a former car dealership. The site was remodeled from August 2013 through February, using some renewable materials such as recycled wine barrel pallets for interior walls and a Chinese shipping container to section off offices. The building was also expanded to 17,000 square feet from 14,500 square feet and a second story was added.
Staff members have continued to make interior improvements over the last few months.
iFixit was founded out of a Cal Poly dorm room in 2003 by Wiens, a computer science major, and Luke Soules, an industrial engineering major. Wiens and Soules, now 30, oversee 50 employees.
The company generated $9.8 million in revenues in 2012, and the company grew 223 percent over a three-year period, according to the latest figures from Inc.com. Wiens declined to elaborate.
iFixit prepares free manuals and repair information and sells parts for a variety of electronic products, machines and devices.
Staff members dedicate themselves to scrutinizing the makeup of products as varied as video game systems, iPhones and cappuccino makers.
“We don’t really limit ourselves,” Wiens said. “We want people to teach people how to repair anything. We want to reduce the amount of electronic waste and empower people to fix things themselves.”
The company operated out of office space in the Pacific Coast Center at 81 Higuera St. from 2010 to 2014 before it moved. iFixit purchased the Monterey Street building from developer Rob Rossi for an undisclosed sum in 2013.
The iFixit staff is setting up an auto repair shop in the back of the property to tinker with vehicles for repair advice purposes.
The company’s staff members all have the ability to do some car repairs, and the shop is also an opportunity for them to improve their skills and save money on their own car maintenance costs.
An outdoor deck overlooks Monterey Street, and a cafeteria serves employees meals a couple of times a week.
About two-thirds of iFixit’s employees are Cal Poly graduates. Many transition from internships there into full-time work.
A newer addition, Dozuki, is a software startup that allows customers to create their own interactive, visual online repair manuals and contribute suggestions to a larger web-based community.
Wiens said that iFixit employs a slow, steady growth model unlike the rapid growth trend of some Silicon Valley companies. The company doesn’t plan to go public, Wiens said.
“There are limits to how fast you can grow,” Wiens said. “We want to be stable, reliable. We don’t want to be another boom-and-bust company like you see a lot of in Silicon Valley. We’re not going to be adding 100 employees.”