As TechShop Pittsburgh Closes, Members And Staff Eye Rebirth Under New Brand

Sep 12, 2017

The maker space TechShop Pittsburgh is scheduled to close at the end of the month, but a few members and staff are hoping to keep it alive under a new name.

Gadsden Merrill, general manager of TechShop Pittsburgh, said members can use lots of different tools — all under the same roof.

“The big thing that goes away if this shop closes is how interdisciplinary it is," Merrill said. "As you saw, you can laser cut in one place, weld in another place and use the wood shop in another."

Even though TechShop is closing, a new maker space — dubbed Protohaven­ — will serve the same purpose.

Co-founder Devin Montgomery said the priority right now is finding a space to house the workshop.

“We would be looking at leasing space in buildings that might already have small businesses doing craft or tech, things where we can come into an existing community and really provide some value there,” said Montgomery.

Gadsden Merrill (left) and Devin Montgomery at Tech Shop Pittsburgh.
Credit Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

The current location in Bakery Square is run by the national TechShop organization, based in San Jose. Earlier this summer, the company announced that the Pittsburgh branch would be closing after posting financial losses over the last two years.

Montgomery said Protohaven will be funded by a combination of member dues and corporate sponsorship, similar to the TechShop model.

The non-profit is looking to lease space in a more affordable area as a way to cut down on costs. As they work on finalizing the new location, Protohaven will begin a fundraising drive later this week to help cover the cost of transition.