Why TechShop Pittsburgh Is Set to Close Sept. 1

TechShop CEO Dan Woods announced the closure of Pittsburgh’s fabrication and prototyping studio in an email to members on Wednesday.

photo by josh greenberg


After four years of providing Pittsburghers with resources to create projects, TechShop Pittsburgh is set to close Sept. 1. Since opening in March 2013, the TechShop in Bakery Square has offered classes, workshops, software and equipment to members looking to express their creativity and help their businesses.

TechShop CEO Dan Woods, who took on the position last summer, announced the store’s closure and plans for a new business model for the national company via an email to TechShop members on Wednesday. The new partner licensing model allows the business to gain funds from more sources and to develop additional locations with the help of corporations, universities, municipalities and real estate developers. Woods says it has worked in overseas locations, but TechShop Pittsburgh doesn’t fit the new strategy.

“Despite the support of a small but very active community of makers and hardware startups, TechShop Pittsburgh does not meet its operating expenses,” he writes.

“TechShop Pittsburgh, as it’s currently running, isn’t meeting its base operating expenses,” Mike Catterlin, vice president of marketing for TechShop tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. he said. “The location loses an average of $30,000 per month … it’s not even breaking even.”

The store will stay open throughout the summer to allow the youth STEAM program to continue and allow TechShop members to find alternative services. Woods says if Pittsburgh’s universities, foundations and corporations would express interest in becoming licensees of the shop, the company would try to keep the location open.

“If this were to happen, we will go the extra mile to ensure business continuity,” he writes. “However, I don’t want to set any false expectations that this will in fact occur.”

Woods also announced a reorganization of employees to help the overall company achieve financial health, including a 50 percent reduction in corporate staff. He says closing TechShop Pittsburgh is a difficult decision, but one that ultimately needed to be made.

“I have the responsibility to get the total enterprise on a firm footing, financially viable and capable of long-term sustainable operation,” he writes. “And I can't achieve this without making some very difficult decisions.”

Categories: The 412