At the start of 2017, Tech Dump, a socially-focused electronics recycler, had a specific expansion vision in mind. That vision is now coming to fruition, at least partially, as the company just signed a purchase agreement for a 90,000 square foot building in St. Paul – more than doubling their existing space.
The purchase is being funded in part by a $130,000 grant from the City of St. Paul’s STAR program and a $170,000 low-interest city loan, as well as help from Sunrise Bank and Propel for Nonprofits.
“This [new] property is ideally situated, delivering convenience and accessibility to our customers, clients, and most importantly to our employees,” says Mark Evenson, Tech Dump board chair and managing director at Avison Young Nonprofit Group, which helped broker the deal. “I am truly excited to part of this next chapter of a really great story.”
Tech Dump, a St. Paul-based nonprofit, provides job training and experience to adults particularly likely to face barriers in employment, including individuals with criminal records or prior addiction struggles, through the work of recycling and refurbishing old technology.
The company is comprised of 48 employees, more than half of which are the trainees who participate in Tech Dump’s paid 18-month job readiness training program. The company emphasizes reuse and recovery over disposal of unused and broken computer, cell phones and other electronics. When disposal is necessary, the company uses environmentally responsible solutions.
Adding the new building to its list of sites, which include a 30,000-square-foot space on Prior Avenue in St. Paul and an 8,000-square-foot space in Golden Valley, will enable Tech Dump to deal with more electronics at once.
The new building, located at 860 Vandalia Street, will also accommodate expanded jobs training facilities, larger secure holding areas for drop-offs, and eventually, another Tech Discount store – a retail outlet selling refurbishes and warranted technology at prices 75 percent lower than standard market rates. Tech Dump’s existing Tech Discount store is in Golden Valley and will continue operations as usual.
The building purchase comes with a multi-phase plan. The first step is to occupy two-thirds of the space, and rent out the remaining 30,000 square feet, until Tech Dump’s growth reaches a point where it needs to use the entirety of the building.
The company is on track to get there, as it’s shown continuous growth since its inception in 2011. Among previous expansion moves, for example, Tech Dump recently acquired Scrubb.IT, a mail-in program enabling Tech Dump to offer its services nationally by providing a transfer method other than in-person drop-offs.
The company has set a goal for future growth: doubling revenue and staff by 2022 while expanding the breadth of its training programs.
“With increasing use of technology, we see huge potential for growth opportunities,” said Tech Dump CEO Amanda LaGrange, in a statement. “For example, continued workforce shortages show our work readiness program can play a crucial role in connecting untapped talent in our communities with local business.”
In the immediate future, Tech Dump plans to spend the rest of the year making improvements to its new building, and a grand opening celebration is slated for January 2019.