TechShop suddenly shuts down in Chandler

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TechShop said the closure is because the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) TechShop said the closure is because the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
People paid a monthly fee of approximately $150 to have access to the expensive equipment inside like laser cutters. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) People paid a monthly fee of approximately $150 to have access to the expensive equipment inside like laser cutters. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Tom Burick with Hacienda HealthCare arrived in time to remove his thousands of dollars worth of robots but is worried about the future of his program. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Tom Burick with Hacienda HealthCare arrived in time to remove his thousands of dollars worth of robots but is worried about the future of his program. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Arizona's Family watched as people scrambled to remove their stuff Wednesday afternoon. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Arizona's Family watched as people scrambled to remove their stuff Wednesday afternoon. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Hundreds of people forced to find a new space to run their business after a high-tech space designed for entrepreneurs and inventors suddenly shut down its East Valley warehouse-sized studio space.

“It’s completely devastating. Literally, people are crying,” said member David Kern who estimates at least 500 people are affected.

TechShop said the closure is because the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Some members told Arizona's Family they received a notification via email or phone call Wednesday morning giving people as little as eight hours to remove their belongings.

Tech Shop opened in downtown Chandler four years ago. Its slogan is “Build your dreams here.” People paid a monthly fee of approximately $150 to have access to the expensive equipment inside like laser cutters.

The corporation tweeted all its U.S. shops are closing and provided this statement: 

Darin Lewandowski manufactures machine parts for other businesses. He said some people have paid monthly membership fees months in advance and are now out $750. He’s not sure if he’ll get his money back.

Some members tell me they didn’t get the notice and are shocked to see a letter posted on the door which states “it’s working with a court-appointed trustee to arrange dates and times when the shop will be open to remove their personal belongings.”

The company sent the following letter to its members:

For 16 months, since becoming TechShop's CEO, we've committed to improve profitability while cutting non-critical expenses. We developed and pivoted to a new business model. We worked with creditors and investors to attempt debt restructuring and cultivate sustainable business operations. But our struggle with cash, the oxygen of any business pursuit, has persisted.

Sadly, I must inform you that TechShop must immediately cease all operations and file for bankruptcy under Chapter-7. I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed and profusely sorry I am to not be able to turn the company around.

Here, you will find FAQs we have prepared to answer your immediate questions. I also encourage you to read the statement prepared for employees, members, backers, and the community at large. It explains our bankruptcy filing and our many significant accomplishments. I want Jim Newton, all our employees, and you to keep your heads held high -- you have accomplished so much and made such an impact.

As of now, all shops are closed. We are working with the court-appointed trustee to arrange dates and times when the shop will be open for members to remove their personal belongings.

I will personally continue working with the Trustee to help identify potential entities interested in acquiring individual locations, or potentially the entire company. I am hopeful, but cannot guarantee anything. If you represent such an entity we'd love to hear from you. Please fill out this form here.

My fondest hope is that we can find a solution that will meet at least some of your making needs.

Very Truly Yours,

 

Dan Woods
CEO, TechShop, Inc.
ceo@techshop.com
1-855-TECHSHOP
techshop.com

Tom Burick with Hacienda HealthCare runs a vocational program for autistic young adults out of the TechShop. He arrived in time to remove his thousands of dollars worth of robots but is worried about the future of his program.

"Without programs like ours, there's no way for them to get that training to be employed in the community. It’s that important and we're losing that opportunity,” said Burick.

Arizona's Family watched as people scrambled to remove their stuff Wednesday afternoon.

Tyler Larson runs his laser-cutting business, Epic Proportions LLC out of TechShop and had to tell customers he’d have to delay their orders.

“It is what it is, you know. I’ll be at the temp agency tomorrow morning getting a part-time job to help bridge the gap until I can get back on my feet,” said Larson.

Some TechShop instructors are now out of a job and told us are worried they won’t see a check.

“August was the last paycheck I received,” said John Vasquez.  

ASU engineering students also used TechShop. A spokesperson told us some of their senior capstone projects are due in three weeks.

"We are disappointed that TechShop unexpectedly closed its doors on Nov. 15. Arizona State University is working to secure space for its students to continue their class projects. ASU's classrooms and event spaces in Chandler will remain open. The University is actively working with students to minimize disruption and is also working closely with the City of Chandler to develop solutions for community members affected by TechShop's closing," emailed Terry Grant from ASU media relations.

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