TechShop just closed its Pittsburgh location, 15 days earlier than planned

Nonprofit Protohaven is moving forward with plans.

tech shop
mj slaby / the incline
MJ Slaby

Update, 1:06 p.m. Nov. 16

Protohaven will launch fundraising at a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20 at KerfCast Studio, 201 N. Braddock Ave., #334 (Point Breeze), per an email from the nonprofit. The meeting is being held in lieu of this week’s membership meeting and is open to the public.

HackPGH is also hosting a 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 meeting at HackPittsburgh, 1936 5th Ave. (Bluff), to “discuss finding displaced members a new home.”

Original article

TechShop Pittsburgh closed today — 15 days before its slated closing.

The maker space shuttered all of its U.S. locations at 8 this morning and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Makezine reported.

TechShop in Pittsburgh was slated to close Nov. 30. A new nonprofit maker space, Protohaven, was created in August to take on its mission by a member and a staffer of TechShop.

One of Protohaven’s co-founders, Devin Montgomery, said he found out about the closure when he went to TechShop, this morning and found it closed.

Montgomery, who is also a TechShop member, sent an email to Protohaven members and supporters this morning telling them about the closure: “This came sooner than we expected, and it’s very sad news. But we’ll keep working to keep this community together and will need all the help we can get.”

By this afternoon, this update was posted to TechShop Pittsburgh’s Facebook page.

The company’s website redirects to a document that includes the history of the company and the reasons for filing for bankruptcy, FAQs and success stories including Pittsburgh-based AbiliLife, a back brace for people with Parkinson’s disease.

The closure accelerates Protohaven’s plans, Montgomery told The Incline, adding that he’s planning a member meeting for today or Thursday.

TechShop corporate announced in May that its Larimer location, which wasn’t covering operating expenses, would close Sept. 1 as part of a business model change from memberships and educational programs as main sources of revenue and to a “new partner licensing model.” Because of member efforts such as the creation of Protohaven, that closing date was extended twice and last set for Nov. 30.

Today’s closure included nine other TechShop locations across the U.S. but didn’t impact overseas locations, and TechShop will set times for members to gather their belongings, the Post-Gazette reported.

Montgomery said the Protohaven team was already working on a contingency plan if they weren’t able to take TechShop tools to the new location, and now finding other equipment seems likely to be the plan, though nothing is definite.

Per the TechShop’s website FAQ, all the equipment was surrendered to a court-appointed trustee who may chose to sell the equipment at auction.

Montgomery said the new maker space is still finalizing a location and plans to launch a fundraiser next week. Those plans will continue, he said, adding that today’s announcement means “more work to do between now and then.”