When they hit the scene back in 2006, the TechShop business model had everything going for it: a fitness gym-like membership program for the use of manufacturing and other shop equipment.
For many urban-dwelling designers or engineers, the wide open shop floors provided a haven to work on weekend projects and use industrial machinery. For educators and parents attempting to introduce children to STEM skills, the friendly facility became an indispensable classroom.
Sadly, the business model proved to be unprofitable for those involved, and today, TechShop CEO Jim Newton announced that all TechShop locations are closing immediately. Anybody with existing memberships to the company is instructed to email the trustee handling the bankruptcy process (firstname.lastname@example.org).
TechShop—like the many projects that came out of it—was the result of multiple iterations across what would become a total of ten US locations and four international locations. From community engagement to educational programs, the locations also functioned as local community centers for discovering laser cutting, 3D printing, and numerous other digital fabrication technologies that have unfolded over the past decade.
“I’m very proud of what my team and I did to build TechShop,” says Newton. “I’m very sad that we were not able to make TechShop into a sustainable business. It is my prayer that each of the people we touched will take those little sparks they received while they worked on their dreams at TechShop, and turn them into their own grand experiment.”
In total, TechShop provided access to over $1.41 million of high-quality tools and machinery
to its users for a membership fee of less than $4 per day. With over 9,000 active members across all of their locations, the company estimates that they engaged over 100,000 individuals since opening.
Find out more over at TechShop.