Small maker of electronic keypads plans to move manufacturing to Petaluma

PETALUMA – Electronic keypad maker Digilock will move into two buildings near its subleased Petaluma headquarters and is transferring manufacturing operations from Santa Clara to Sonoma County, the company confirmed. Its current lease on Old Redwood Highway runs out in October of this year.

The Petaluma buildings were purchased by NSA Investments, LLC, whose owner also owns Digilock under the name Security People Inc. Security People in December leased the 91,000 square feet of space across the street from the Digilock headquarters on Willowbrook Court, county records show.

"This represents an expansion for us," said Digilock Manager of Sales Administration Julie Advocate. "We've moved our entire manufacturing operation from Santa Clara to Petaluma."

The privately held company had about 10 workers at the Peninsula location, she said. Only three opted to make the move north, so Digilock is hiring locally to replace them.

The company currently has 20 employees, according to its profile on business networking site LinkedIn.

Digilock makes a line of wireless electronic key pad locks for lockers and cabinets. Schools, fitness centers, golf and country clubs and businesses that require a high level of physical security such as casinos are Digilock's market focus.

The company also makes lockers and automation software for lock companies.

The locks can be easily reconfigured so they can be shared by employees on different shifts or used by a continuing series of students. Digilock has ADA-compliant, one-touch locks for disabled students.

Digilock's keypads cost from $200 to $300 with electronic user keys. They're distributed throughout the U.S., in California by R&H Wholesale in San Francisco and Innerspace Engineering in San Mateo, among others.

The company's manufacturing operation will expand into 9 Willowbrook Court, a facility once owned by AFC and later by its purchaser Tellabs. The adjacent office building at 1 Willowbrook Court was most recently the property of Cisco Systems.

According Mark Carrington of Orion Partners, who's familiar with the property, Digilock will need to spend a few months modifying the interiors, but "the large spaces for computer labs will lend themselves well to high-tech manufacturing."

Although Digilock executives declined to discuss the operation, local brokers and the Sonoma County Economic Development Board are pleased to see a buyer for some of the empty space that followed the collapse of the telecom bubble.

"This is great news," said Economic Development Board Director Ben Stone. "We're delighted that innovators like Digilock, who have found great markets for their products, have chosen to make Sonoma County a participant in the technology of the future."

According to Cushman & Wakefield broker Sean Heaton, who with colleagues Glen Dowling and Josh Lindberg represented the seller in the sale, Digilock is very good for Petaluma.

"I’m a big fan of companies like Digilock staying in the area and employing people locally," he said.

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