TechShop | St. Louis Public Radio


Closures of popular and long-standing St. Louis businesses began in late 2017.
Barry Schwartz | Flickr

It’s hard to say goodbye. But in 2018, St. Louis-area residents will have to get used to several long-standing businesses not being around anymore.

Retail retirement

The bad news for loyal J.C. Penney shoppers: The retail chain is permanently closing its St. Louis store in the Hampton Village Plaza shopping center. After nearly 70 years in business, the store's last day will be Jan. 21.

The good news for bargain hunters: A liquidation sale will begin on Jan. 2.


The same day TechShop announced it was filing for bankruptcy and closing all locations, a St. Louis native decided to step in to save the local makerspace.

Jim McKelvey, the co-founder of Square and Third Degree Glass Factory, as well as the founder of LaunchCode, made a couple of phone calls.


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.


TechShop, the membership-based DIY workshop, will move into a new building when it arrives in St. Louis next year.

It had been expected to set up shop in the Brauer building at Boyle and Forest Park Avenue. But Dennis Lower, CEO and president of St. Louis’ innovation district Cortex, said after two separate assessments, it became clear renovation wasn’t economically viable.

"We tried valiantly to save it, but we couldn’t," he said.

(courtesy Cortex)

TechShop, a do-it-yourself industrial workshop, based in seven cities made its pitch Thursday to expand into St. Louis.

More than 200 people attended the TechShop's presentation. The company provides industrial equipment and classes for amateur and professional inventors. It is hoping to open a location in Cortex, St. Louis’ technology district.

But in order to open its doors, TechShop needs 1,000 memberships. Company COO and Vice President of Business Development Dan Woods pushed that point at the presentation.

(Bart Nagel)

Have an idea but no tools to develop it?

There may soon be a place in St. Louis where entrepreneurs and hobbyists can turn their plans into reality.

TechShop, a company already in seven U.S. cities, provides space, industrial equipment and classes for both amateur and professional inventors.

CEO Mark Hatch said St. Louis has the right elements for the company, including a robust start-up scene.