W. Chandler economy gains punch as Tenn.-based keyboards firm expands

Mechanical Keyboards will employ approximately 40 people at its new facility at 7300 W. Chandler Blvd. in roles that include logistics, administration, customer service and software development. –Chandler photo

West Chandler’s thriving employment corridor is growing yet again with announcement that Tennessee-based Mechanical Keyboards, among the largest providers in the world, recently acquired a 74,000-square-foot flex industrial building.

Approximately 40 employees will work at the facility at 7300 W. Chandler Blvd. in roles that include logistics, administration, customer service and software development.

The Chandler facility will provide keyboard fulfillment and distribution across the western U.S. from a building with nearly 33,000-square-feet of office space and more than 240 parking spaces.

“This building has been underutilized for multiple years, but I knew that it had a lot of potential with a few important tweaks,” said Jay Donkersloot, an investor and previous owner of the property.

Mechanical Keyboards’ vision for the facility also includes a showroom, office space for technology and entrepreneurial startups, tech-event hosting and unique facilities to support esports athletes and content creators.

Mechanical Keyboards specializes in high-end keyboards for computers that cater to gamers, tech professionals and a growing base of keyboard enthusiasts. It also has a facility in Fairview, Tenn., near Nashville.

Joel Tubre, president of Mechanical Keyboards, said buildout of the Chandler facility has begun amid “some exciting plans.”

“Our products look great online, but they feel and look even better in person,” Tubre said. “Chandler has been very supportive, and we’re really looking forward to showing customers in Phoenix metro and the surrounding areas just how awesome these keyboards are in the new showroom.”

MechanicalKeyboards.com has been a one-stop shop for all things mechanical keyboard since its launch in 2012. MK’s catalog features more than 3,000 enthusiast-grade keyboards, keycaps, switches, frames and other related accessories. Orders are shipped to customers in more than 60 countries.

With more than 7 million page views a month, MechanicalKeyboards.com hosts custom pages beyond the shopping cart, such as keyboard guides, switch rankers and even an incoming shipment tracker for users to keep up with the latest hit keyboard shipments. The company is known for its before- and after-sales support.

A mechanical keyboard is built with high-quality, typically spring-activated, key switches, which vary based on the keyboard’s application or user preference.

While some of the first widely sold keyboards, such as IBM’s Model M in the 1980s, utilized mechanical switches, the 1990s brought a wave of inexpensive rubber-dome keyboards that flooded the market. Rubber-dome keyboards still represent more than 90 percent of keyboards in use today and provide an inexpensive but dissatisfying feel and typing experience, according to Mechanical Keyboards.

A mechanical keyboard’s switches, framing, functionality, type print methods, key construction, PCB board, LED lighting (sharpness, brightness, adjustability), and a slew of other features are regarded in the industry as far superior to traditional rubber-dome keyboards.

Most of the improvements boil down to one thing: feel. Unlike their more common rubber-dome membrane counterparts, mechanical keyboards feature individual switches for each key and provide a comfortable, customizable typing experience.

Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke noted that Mechanical Keyboards will “bring additional jobs to one of our largest employment corridors.”

“Mechanical Keyboards has told us that workforce and freeway access were determining factors in their location decision,” Hartke said.

Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, said that Mechanical Keyboards’ expansion into Chandler “is yet another win for the East Valley and creates quality jobs for the residents of Greater Phoenix.”

“We look forward to watching them scale and being a partner in their continued success,” Camacho said.

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