TechShop offered a cutting edge workshop for entrepreneurs making prototypes or those who just wanted to make stuff.
Now the St. Louis location and nine others around the country are closed. TechShop announced on Wednesday it’s filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
The San Francisco-based company came to St. Louis in 2016. The maker’s space had a prime location in the innovation district Cortex in a new, 60,000-square-foot building at 4260 Forest Park Ave.
“It was a surprise to us,” said Dennis Lower, president and CEO of Cortex.
He said TechShop President and CEO Dan Woods alerted them just the day before that it would be closing.
“We’re saddened obviously,” Lower said, “but our sadness is primarily focused on the more than 500 members who were utilizing it on a regular basis for hobby projects and for business projects and prototypes.”
Lower said they’re working to sort out how members will get inside TechShop to remove any projects or personal items. The company had about 18 employees who worked at the St. Louis site.
While Cortex owns the equipment inside TechShop, Lower said the innovation district has no experience running a maker’s space and has no plans to do so.
“TechShop was sort of the best in class of maker spaces across the country, but obviously that business plan failed,” he said.
The 18,000-square-foot space is on the ground floor of the building and highly visible at the corner of Boyle and Forest Park avenues.
“Our intent is to repurpose the space for technology-related tenants,” he said.
TechSpace was founded in San Jose, California, in 2006 and expanded to 10 locations around the country. Lower said last spring they were alerted that the location in Pittsburgh would close. He said when he asked TechShop leadership whether that would impact the St. Louis site, he was told things were fine.
“We were monitoring the memberships and they were on slow but steady increases, and believed they’d cross over, but obviously that crossover didn’t happen here and didn’t happen elsewhere,” he said.
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