EastownLeo

TechShop coming to Grand Rapids

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Looks like its coming if they can get investment.

 

Where could a space like this be located?

 

http://invest.techshop.ws/TS_GrandRapids.html

 

http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2013/09/23/techshop-plans-grand-rapids-location-out-of-60-million-investment-offering/

 

http://www.mitechnews.com/articles.asp?id=16138

 

I have heard some rumors.

 

Surprised this has not been mentioned.

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The "Tatum" building on Wealthy.

 

It's huge, and I think is still a machine shop of some sort. It looks like you would have plenty of space for building, labs, and even a classroom. The amount of DIY folks in the area will definitely make this a good location. And it doesnt hurt that the Elk Brewery is right next door for after hours.  :thumbsup:  

 

Also it is located right down the street from an elementary school. Lots of opportunity for GRPS cross-activity there as well.

 

Now it's just a matter of offering the right price for it. The owner might be ready to sell....I hope.

post-3465-0-73352300-1409259180_thumb.jp

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I hadn't heard anything about this.  I guess I haven’t been paying attention but why should I, I’m happily retired.  
 
Curiously in the various Techshop web sites, they talk about a new Grand Rapids location coming soon and they are asking for people to invest but they don’t talk about who might be involved locally.  So is this real or maybe it’s just a way to separate some would be venture capitalists from their retirement nest eggs?  I did some easy Google research to find out and it doesn't appear to be a scam.  Here’s what I found:
  
Crain’s Detroit talks about the local GR “makerspaces” and spreads the rumor that it’s Rick DeVos behind it:
 

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20140209/NEWS/302099997/makerspace-movement-brings-invention-and-some-contention#

 

This article mentions other local “makerspaces” and towards the bottom mentions Techshop but just quotes the Crain’s Detroit article without adding anything more:

 

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2014/03/thinkers_geeks_say_grand_rapid.html

 

This article thinks Rick DeVos is behind it too but they are confused and think he’s the DeVos that ran for governor:

 

http://venturebeat.com/2013/09/23/jobs-act-techshop/

 

This is kind of the best, it’s the meeting minutes of “City of Grand Rapids SmartZones Local Development Financing Authority (LDFA)” from 11-15-2013 (the Techshop stuff is buried deep in the document so you will need to do search within it):

 

http://grcity.us/design-and-development-services/Economic-Development/Smartzone/SZ%20Minutes%2011-15-13.pdf

 

from deep in the above link "Ms. Wood stated that the site at 801 Ionia has been identified for TechShop."

 

and here's 801 Ionia:

 

https:[email protected],-85.669258,3a,75y,267.7h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1stpqPYNros70EtTXnkGQaxQ!2e0

 

Edited by walker

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I hadn't heard anything about this.  I guess I haven’t been paying attention but why should I, I’m happily retired.  
 
Curiously in the various Techshop web sites, they talk about a new Grand Rapids location coming soon and they are asking for people to invest but they don’t talk about who might be involved locally.  So is this real or maybe it’s just a way to separate some would be venture capitalists from their retirement nest eggs?  I did some easy Google research to find out and it doesn't appear to be a scam.  Here’s what I found:
  
Crain’s Detroit talks about the local GR “makerspaces” and spreads the rumor that it’s Rick DeVos behind it:
 

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20140209/NEWS/302099997/makerspace-movement-brings-invention-and-some-contention#

 

This article mentions other local “makerspaces” and towards the bottom mentions Techshop but just quotes the Crain’s Detroit article without adding anything more:

 

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2014/03/thinkers_geeks_say_grand_rapid.html

 

This article thinks Rick DeVos is behind it too but they are confused and think he’s the DeVos that ran for governor:

 

http://venturebeat.com/2013/09/23/jobs-act-techshop/

 

This is kind of the best, it’s the meeting minutes of “City of Grand Rapids SmartZones Local Development Financing Authority (LDFA)” from 11-15-2013 (the Techshop stuff is buried deep in the document so you will need to do search within it):

 

http://grcity.us/design-and-development-services/Economic-Development/Smartzone/SZ%20Minutes%2011-15-13.pdf

 

from deep in the above link "Ms. Wood stated that the site at 801 Ionia has been identified for TechShop."

 

and here's 801 Ionia:

 

https:[email protected],-85.669258,3a,75y,267.7h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1stpqPYNros70EtTXnkGQaxQ!2e0

 

 

 

I don't think Jack Buchanan owns it anymore.

Kent County records says it was sold in 2011 to 801 IONIA LLC @ 5540 GLENWOOD HILS PKWY SE.

That would mean Rockford Construction?

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Sounds a lot like Geek Group to me. Or GRMakers at 401 Hall St. Is there a difference?

 

http://www.techshop.ws/facilities_and_amenities.html

 

https://www.grmakers.com/

 

http://thegeekgroup.org/

 

It can't hurt to have more offerings like this but the fact that they have to raise $2.5 - $3.0 Million just to open their doors does not bode well. I wish them luck!

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Sounds a lot like Geek Group to me. Or GRMakers at 401 Hall St. Is there a difference?

 

http://www.techshop.ws/facilities_and_amenities.html

 

https://www.grmakers.com/

 

http://thegeekgroup.org/

 

It can't hurt to have more offerings like this but the fact that they have to raise $2.5 - $3.0 Million just to open their doors does not bode well. I wish them luck!

GRMakers and Geek Group would not have the ability to do something like this.

These are very manufacturing focused, Huge emphasis on high end machines and education.

 

The geek group is a non-profit that usually gets its machinery from donations. Companies replacing old equipment give the old stuff to geek group probably as a write-off.

 

GRMakers is slowly building up capabilities but they serve different purposes.  I know that Geek Group finds Techshop to be a threat and have stated they will move out of GR if Techshop comes to town.

 

"Chris Boden, CEO of The Geek Group makerspace, was less moderate of his assessment of TechShop and more ambitious about his nonprofit's goals than GR Makers.

Boden calls TechShop "the great Satan." 

"They will destroy community hacker spaces wherever they go," he said. "And if they come into the Grand Rapids area, they will destroy GR Makers and The Geek Group overnight." 

Boden said his organization will fight TechShop for members or "move to where TechShop isn't.""

 

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20140209/NEWS/302099997/makerspace-movement-brings-invention-and-some-contention#

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GRMakers and Geek Group would not have the ability to do something like this.

These are very manufacturing focused, Huge emphasis on high end machines and education.

 

The geek group is a non-profit that usually gets its machinery from donations. Companies replacing old equipment give the old stuff to geek group probably as a write-off.

 

GRMakers is slowly building up capabilities but they serve different purposes.  I know that Geek Group finds Techshop to be a threat and have stated they will move out of GR if Techshop comes to town.

 

"Chris Boden, CEO of The Geek Group makerspace, was less moderate of his assessment of TechShop and more ambitious about his nonprofit's goals than GR Makers.

Boden calls TechShop "the great Satan." 

"They will destroy community hacker spaces wherever they go," he said. "And if they come into the Grand Rapids area, they will destroy GR Makers and The Geek Group overnight." 

Boden said his organization will fight TechShop for members or "move to where TechShop isn't.""

 

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20140209/NEWS/302099997/makerspace-movement-brings-invention-and-some-contention#

 

That makes sense. If you are fundraising $2.5 - $3.0 Million from a community like Grand Rapids, you are basically sucking money from other organizations. We're just not that huge of a market, even with the generous philanthropy in the community (I've heard that Rick Devos has donated to Geek Group). Plus, local foundations can't give big grants to "for profits" so that money is not available. The locally HQ'd business community would probably rather give their money to a locally led venture. The big manufacturers in town have existing programs with GRCC for specific skills training.

 

In other words, I wouldn't want to be the development director (fundraiser) for TechTown here in GR. Even with backing from MEDC, the "hub" idea never garnered enough support here.

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TechShop CEO Dan Woods and his team visited Grand Rapids this past week to wrap up an assessment of whether TechShop, a high-end and for-profit makerspace, will locate here. Here are the details: TechShop Wed and TechShop Fri.  They will probably make an announcement in the next three months, but they are already setting the table for raising $3 million to fund the venture.  They met with officials GVSU, the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology and other stakeholders this past week. 

Given the stakeholders that are involved in the potential project, I think there is a very high probablility that this will happen.  All of the facts point to the West Side as the location: nearby Rockford Construction headquarters, near GVSU Engineering School, Kennedy Hall, and a central location for corporations and makers in general.   Could this be the "Tatum" building, which may be owned by Rockford?  

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Sorry, which building is the Tatum building? I think this would be very exciting and I agree, close access to the university would be a smart tie in. I had also heard North Monroe at one point, but I think it'd be great if they built off the momentum of what's going on over on the westside. 

Joe

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20 hours ago, ironyisadeadscene said:

What is techshop?  I assume this is big news?

For tinkerers and people in the "maker" community it is big news. I've heard these techshop rumors for a couple of years now. Maybe they'll finally do something.

 

 

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This news has been underplayed in Grand Rapids, partly I think because residents aren't seeing the big picture of what TechShop will do.

TechShop will be a significant resource for local corporations, universities and colleges and the Grand Rapids School District. The company intends to spend about $4 million to outfit a roughly 15,000-square-foot building with machine tools that anyone can use -- with the proper training.

Up to now, only larger metropolitan areas have been locations for TechShop. The top of this thread has links for more details.

Who will use it? Corporations will buy monthly memberships for their engineers and designers to accelerate prototyping. Grand Valley State University and other colleges and universities would give monthly memberships to engineering and design students so they could advance their skills. Entrepreneurs (and local alumni) will access the facility to launch their companies. TechShop organizes STEAM camps for kids ages 8 to 17 so they can learn technical skills that used to be taught in shop class. And lastly, it will be a place for basement inventors and artists to get access -- and training -- on equipment they couldn't afford. 

This is a high-end, for-profit professional operation -- not to be confused with the two volunteer makerspaces currently in Grand Rapids that are largely for hobbyists and tinkerers. 

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57 minutes ago, MGryczan said:

This news has been underplayed in Grand Rapids, partly I think because residents aren't seeing the big picture of what TechShop will do.

 

Is there any news to report? 

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None of this was reported by the media last week. I wrote the original story for Crain's Detroit Business two years ago that first mentioned TechShop.

TechShop Inc. is considering Grand Rapids as its next location to launch a $4 million makerspace that would allow anyone with the proper training to use sophisticated equipment and software to make personal projects from metal, plastics, textiles and other materials.

“It’s a gym for creatives,” TechShop CEO Dan Woods told a group of about 60 people last night who were attending a Grand Rapids Inventors Network monthly meeting. “But instead of having equipment to work out, we have equipment to build your dreams.”

With 227 full-time staff and 175 part-time employees, TechShop has 11 high-end fabrication studios in metro Detroit, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, St. Louis, Austin, Redwood City, Calif., Chandler, Ariz. and Brooklyn. Based in San Jose, TechShop also has international locations in Paris, Tokyo and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Woods said the company’s Director of Market Assessments Amber Ross and Project Manager Olga Pogoda will be compiling information about the Grand Rapids market during the next six weeks to determine if it is feasible for TechShop to open a location here. The company will make a decision shortly thereafter, and it would take about 15 months to open the doors if the project proceeds.

Chances favor that Grand Rapids will be selected: Out of the past 13 assessments, only 2 locations have been rejected.

“Grand Rapids has a reputation for being is a very happening city,” Woods said. “You have this wonderful collision here between the creatives and artists and engineers and technical people who know how to make things. And the people here believe in investing in infrastructure.”

With a population of about 194,000, Grand Rapids proper may be the smallest city considered by TechShop for a location. The business model may generally follow the same path as Chandler, a city with population of about 261,000 which touts itself on its website as “the Innovation and Technology Hub of the Southwest.”

But Woods pointed out that Grand Rapids was selected for assessment because the city has a metropolitan area of more than 1 million people, depending on how the area is defined, while “there really isn’t that much population density once you get outside of Chandler itself.”

Woods said TechShop needs at least 780 members to be a sustainable operation, with monthly memberships running on the average of $120 per month. Stakeholders include individual makers, local governments and quasi-public agencies, community colleges and universities, and corporations.

The Chandler location came about through an alliance between ShopTech, the city of Chandler and Arizona State University’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The ASU Chandler Innovation Center is located in downtown Chandler at the city’s former public works yard.

In Grand Rapids, Woods sees good potential from various stakeholders. “The first group are the ‘build-it-and-they-will-come’ people -- you almost have to bolt the doors to keep them out,” he said. Additional partners here may include the city of Grand Rapids, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College, and corporations that would buy memberships for their engineering and technical staff.

TechShop provides -- and strictly requires -- that individuals who want to use water jet cutters, laser cutters, large rotary metal punches, spot welders, vinyl cutters, industrial sewing machines, vacuum formers, mills, lathes and other equipment to go through standardized training by professional paid instructors. Individuals pay for the instruction above their monthly subscription.

Equipment alone is $1 million, while the whole facility will cost between $3.8 million and $4.5 million to launch, Pogoda said.

Universities and colleges that have their own workshops and laboratories have become partners because they recognize that a TechShop facility allows alumni and students from any discipline to use equipment to invent. “Once you graduate, you don’t have access to those world-class workshops anymore,” Woods said.

Corporations become partners because a TechShop facility may have machine tools that they don’t already own or are tied up during the normal business day with tasks like maintenance of production equipment.

Regardless of the equipment and design software provided at a location, members consistently say that the single most valuable asset they find at TechShop is interaction with other makers, Woods said. “We have more than 6,000 members, and they consistently say that it’s about the people they meet.”

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I work in engineering for a local automotive manufacturer, and this sounds like what we use the local tool & die and prototype shops for. Unless I am misunderstanding what the purpose of techshop is for. 

Not saying there wouldn't be demand for this kind of application for "one off" jobs, but it would be more for individuals and hobbyists.  Not sure how much business they would get from the local manufacturers. 

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16 hours ago, MGryczan said:

None of this was reported by the media last week. I wrote the original story for Crain's Detroit Business two years ago that first mentioned TechShop.

TechShop Inc. is considering Grand Rapids as its next location to launch a $4 million makerspace that would allow anyone with the proper training to use sophisticated equipment and software to make personal projects from metal, plastics, textiles and other materials.

“It’s a gym for creatives,” TechShop CEO Dan Woods told a group of about 60 people last night who were attending a Grand Rapids Inventors Network monthly meeting. “But instead of having equipment to work out, we have equipment to build your dreams.”

With 227 full-time staff and 175 part-time employees, TechShop has 11 high-end fabrication studios in metro Detroit, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, St. Louis, Austin, Redwood City, Calif., Chandler, Ariz. and Brooklyn. Based in San Jose, TechShop also has international locations in Paris, Tokyo and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Woods said the company’s Director of Market Assessments Amber Ross and Project Manager Olga Pogoda will be compiling information about the Grand Rapids market during the next six weeks to determine if it is feasible for TechShop to open a location here. The company will make a decision shortly thereafter, and it would take about 15 months to open the doors if the project proceeds.

Chances favor that Grand Rapids will be selected: Out of the past 13 assessments, only 2 locations have been rejected.

“Grand Rapids has a reputation for being is a very happening city,” Woods said. “You have this wonderful collision here between the creatives and artists and engineers and technical people who know how to make things. And the people here believe in investing in infrastructure.”

With a population of about 194,000, Grand Rapids proper may be the smallest city considered by TechShop for a location. The business model may generally follow the same path as Chandler, a city with population of about 261,000 which touts itself on its website as “the Innovation and Technology Hub of the Southwest.”

But Woods pointed out that Grand Rapids was selected for assessment because the city has a metropolitan area of more than 1 million people, depending on how the area is defined, while “there really isn’t that much population density once you get outside of Chandler itself.”

Woods said TechShop needs at least 780 members to be a sustainable operation, with monthly memberships running on the average of $120 per month. Stakeholders include individual makers, local governments and quasi-public agencies, community colleges and universities, and corporations.

The Chandler location came about through an alliance between ShopTech, the city of Chandler and Arizona State University’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The ASU Chandler Innovation Center is located in downtown Chandler at the city’s former public works yard.

In Grand Rapids, Woods sees good potential from various stakeholders. “The first group are the ‘build-it-and-they-will-come’ people -- you almost have to bolt the doors to keep them out,” he said. Additional partners here may include the city of Grand Rapids, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College, and corporations that would buy memberships for their engineering and technical staff.

TechShop provides -- and strictly requires -- that individuals who want to use water jet cutters, laser cutters, large rotary metal punches, spot welders, vinyl cutters, industrial sewing machines, vacuum formers, mills, lathes and other equipment to go through standardized training by professional paid instructors. Individuals pay for the instruction above their monthly subscription.

Equipment alone is $1 million, while the whole facility will cost between $3.8 million and $4.5 million to launch, Pogoda said.

Universities and colleges that have their own workshops and laboratories have become partners because they recognize that a TechShop facility allows alumni and students from any discipline to use equipment to invent. “Once you graduate, you don’t have access to those world-class workshops anymore,” Woods said.

Corporations become partners because a TechShop facility may have machine tools that they don’t already own or are tied up during the normal business day with tasks like maintenance of production equipment.

Regardless of the equipment and design software provided at a location, members consistently say that the single most valuable asset they find at TechShop is interaction with other makers, Woods said. “We have more than 6,000 members, and they consistently say that it’s about the people they meet.”

 

Sounds cool. 

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http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2016/10/techshop_looking_at_building_a.html#incart_river_index

MLive has a little more info on it. Looks like Start Garden, Grand Rapids SmartZone, Rockford Construction, CMS Energy and the Grand Valley State University's School of Engineering are pitching in to cover the feasibility study. Also of note is that it looks like Rockford is trying to get them into a building on "The West Side" (probably Bridge street), citing that they want to be near the new WMCAT location.

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8 hours ago, Pattmost20 said:

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2016/10/techshop_looking_at_building_a.html#incart_river_index

MLive has a little more info on it. Looks like Start Garden, Grand Rapids SmartZone, Rockford Construction, CMS Energy and the Grand Valley State University's School of Engineering are pitching in to cover the feasibility study. Also of note is that it looks like Rockford is trying to get them into a building on "The West Side" (probably Bridge street), citing that they want to be near the new WMCAT location.

Well you got your news coverage MGryczan. Didn't you know we pull the local media's levers around here? :)

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You guys are simply ahead of the curve, GRDadof3!  Urban Planet is a great forum, and I hope to become a regular contributor now as I tool around the city. I'm more just listening now to see what sparks interest.

Last week I was looking at the old Lannings restaurant on Leonard and did a little research into exactly what happened to this long-time established restaurant in Grand Rapids. I'd say it took the same path to nowhere that the old Duba's restaurant took -- leave its core market and move to the burbs. Lannings operated for a few years at a retail strip mall, then apparently closed its public restaurant operation and went into the catering business only.  I can't find evidence that it is even catering now.

Lannings is on a good location on Leonard and a beneficiary of the recent street improvements there. I think the property may be owned by DeVries Jewelers on Leonard.

Also, Dodd's Record Shop moved to Bridge and I wish it the best there. 

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Always loved the Lannings building for its retro look. I think Lannings, Dubas and Sayfee's had an issue with their core clientele getting old.

I wondered what happened to Dodd's. The new owner sounds like an interesting guy who just loves vinyl. I hope they do well (I think a shop like this is a destination, and people will find it if they have good finds). 

Joe

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12 minutes ago, joeDowntown said:

Always loved the Lannings building for its retro look. I think Lannings, Dubas and Sayfee's had an issue with their core clientele getting old.

I wondered what happened to Dodd's. The new owner sounds like an interesting guy who just loves vinyl. I hope they do well (I think a shop like this is a destination, and people will find it if they have good finds). 

Joe

The new owner also heads a punk band that's been a major draw at Festival for years.  Not only does he have the Dodd's fanbase, but he's pulling his band's fan base into the store as well.  It seems to have a good future ahead of it.

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2 hours ago, MGryczan said:

You guys are simply ahead of the curve, GRDadof3!  Urban Planet is a great forum, and I hope to become a regular contributor now as I tool around the city. I'm more just listening now to see what sparks interest.

Last week I was looking at the old Lannings restaurant on Leonard and did a little research into exactly what happened to this long-time established restaurant in Grand Rapids. I'd say it took the same path to nowhere that the old Duba's restaurant took -- leave its core market and move to the burbs. Lannings operated for a few years at a retail strip mall, then apparently closed its public restaurant operation and went into the catering business only.  I can't find evidence that it is even catering now.

Lannings is on a good location on Leonard and a beneficiary of the recent street improvements there. I think the property may be owned by DeVries Jewelers on Leonard.

Also, Dodd's Record Shop moved to Bridge and I wish it the best there. 

I drove past there a week or so ago and it looked like there was construction equipment outside. I couldn't tell if it was for the road construction or that something is happening to that space. Does anybody know if anything is going on there?

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4 hours ago, thebeerqueer said:

I drove past there a week or so ago and it looked like there was construction equipment outside. I couldn't tell if it was for the road construction or that something is happening to that space. Does anybody know if anything is going on there?

I believe that was for the street work. Not too many other places to stage work around there.

As for Lannings, my parents were married upstairs in the mid 80's. We ate there just before it closed and I remember the food was OK but the facility was getting quite long in the tooth. 

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I talked with the owner of DeVries Jewelers, which owns the Lannings Restaurant property, and the construction around that parcel is entirely road and sidewalk work. DeVries may build a new store at the location, but nothing is imminent.

 

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