Santa Cruz Tech Beat

Companies

Heathkit Moves to Santa Cruz

By Kevin Karplus
Gas station without pumps

October 8, 2015 — Santa Cruz, CA

[Editor’s note: Heathkit’s contact page says: “We plan to have a customer-friendly retail location you can visit soon. Our postal address is PO Box 3115, Santa Cruz CA 95063.”]

According to a Hackaday post, Heathkit: Live, Die, Repeat

This morning, the president of Heathkit sent a message to the ‘Heathkit Insiders’ email group explaining the goings on and new happenings:

“We’ve designed and developed a wide range of entirely new kit products. We authored the manuals for these kits, complete with the beautiful line art you rely on, preserving and respecting our iconic historic Heathkit style. We developed many new inventions and filed patents on them. We relocated Heathkit, and set up a factory, and a warehouse, and offices, in Santa Cruz, California, near Silicon Valley. We built the back office infrastructure, vendor and supply chain relationships, systems, procedures, operations methods, and well-thought-out corporate structure that a manufacturing company needs to support its customers, to allow us to scale instantly the day we resume major kit sales. All this effort enables us to introduce a fleet of new kits and helps ensure Heathkit can grow, prosper, and continue to bring you great new products for a very long time.”

If this news is real, it is very exciting. Heathkit was one of my favorite companies as a child (see Thanks, Dad), and I have fond memories of building some of their kits.  I can’t think of a better place for them to be than here in Santa Cruz.

Unfortunately, the kit that they seem to basing their hopes on, the Explorer Jr AM radio kit, is rather overpriced at $150.  It will only sell to nostalgia fans, which is probably not a big enough base for reviving the company.  What they need to do is to make kits in the same price range as Velleman, but with Heathkit-quality manuals.

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Editor’s note: Here’s The Story of Heath: http://www.heathkit-museum.com/hvmhistory.shtml

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