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Click clack craze: This mechanical keyboard shop will have you throwing out your bland computer parts

Gabriel Greschler, The Mercury News on

Published in Fashion Daily News

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Want your computer keyboard to light up every time with neon colors when you type? Want there to be a small icon of a cat with boba on one of the keys — or all of them? Want to feel like you’re typing with utter conviction on that vacation request email to your boss?

Then the Tiny Keyboard Shop is for you.

It offers the colorful, sometimes obnoxiously loud and highly customizable keyboards known for an old-school typing experience reminiscent of the 1970s that are currently taking the computer and gaming world by storm. While Tiny Keyboard Shop is sleek and modern, it is also a testament to Silicon Valley’s roots when computing mostly involved hobbyists and tinkerers.

Owner “Tiny” and manager Spencer Lin oversee the small but mighty shop in San Pedro Square, which opened in July 2022.

“It’s almost as important as the shoes that you walk in (or) the mattress that you sleep in,” said Lin on a recent Wednesday inside the store about the products. “Why not invest in something that improves the quality of life that takes up so much time?”

We met with Lin to talk about what makes the devices sing, why the hobby has become so popular and the craziest trade he’s ever heard of for a keyboard.


Q What’s the most important part of the keyboard?

A Keycaps (are) a big topic within the keyboard space. For the most part, they’re just essentially colorful pieces of plastic that serve like the paint job or the makeup of your keyboard build. Some people consider it to be the most fun or the most appealing part of it because typically this is an escape key but it doesn’t have to say escape, it can have this little icon, it could be blue, it could be pink. So the nice part about the keyboard and with keycaps is that you can customize it to be your very own.

Q How would you say the keyboard community has evolved?

A This hobby exploded more during COVID because everyone was at home and gaming board work from home stipends from their companies. It just kind of came together. There’s actually a subreddit dedicated to buy, sell (and) trade. I used to be avidly addicted to it. I would have it refresh every five seconds. And maybe like 25 to 30 percent of those people (on the subreddit) are based in the Bay. I usually became friends with them.


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