SAN JOSE, Calif. (Ann Rubin/KTVU) - TechShop, a company with locations in San Jose, San Francisco, Redwood City and across the nation, announced it was closing its doors for good this week.
The announcement left hundreds of artists, inventors, and small business owners scrambling to find new spaces to do their work. TechShop had given those people access to lasers, 3-D printers, and all kinds of machinery, they otherwise wouldn’t have.
Kathryn Hedges actually moved downtown just to be closer to TechShop. Known as a "makerspace," it had the laser cutter and other industrial machinery she needed for her souvenir and jewelry business.
"It's where my business was born and where I worked on my business. It was pretty much everything for the business," Hedges said.
But Wednesday, everything changed, when TechShop announced it was filing for bankruptcy and closing all of its U.S. locations immediately.
The CEO said the company has just not been profitable. He released a statement that said: "As makers, we must learn from our mistakes."
For those who use the space, many of whom paid in advance, the news came without warning. The City of San Jose is hoping other accelerators or incubators can step up to fill the void.
"Hopefully we will be able to connect people who are looking for the kind of support resources that techshop provided, to existing or new providers,” said Kim Walesh, San Jose's Economic Development Manager. “That's how silicon valley works."
But those involved with TechShop believe they were blindsided, leaving thousands in personal property, equipment and at least one robot from Estonia, reportedly trapped inside.
Even employees said they didn't know what was coming. John Coleman was offered a job as an instructor there just last week.
"I was kinda looking forward to it and a little disappointed,” Coleman said. “That's just the way life goes, you know. There are ups and downs."
As for people who still have personal property or projects inside, you can contact a court appointed trustee to arrange a time to come get them at firstname.lastname@example.org.