February 18, 2015
TechShop, a membership-based facility that’s a do-it-yourself fabrication and prototyping studio, hackerspace, and learning center, announced yesterday its expansion to Europe. Set to open in France, the expansion marks TechShop’s first move into the international market. This expansion is made possible with collaboration with Leroy Merlin, a brand of the ADEO Group, the third-largest DIY and decorating retail company in the world. The France location is scheduled to open near Paris, in the country’s Île-de-France region, later this year.
“TechShop’s mission in providing a transformational experience that fosters innovation and creativity is well aligned with Leroy Merlin’s focus,” said TechShop CEO Mark Hatch in a statemet. “In addition to helping to spread the maker movement message and TechShop brand, Leroy Merlin will be sharing with us best practices in retail management. We believe this partnership will enhance and extend our brand both in the US and around the globe.”
Founded in 2006 and based in San Jose, CA, TechShop has since opened several locations across the United States, including the major metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh, PA; Detroit, MI; and Austin, TX. Last year, TechShop opened its eighth location in the Washington, D.C. metro area. For 2015 and 2016 respectively, the DIY workspace and resource center has made plans for expansions in Los Angeles, CA and St. Louis, MO. The expansion into France is TechShop’s first venture outside the United States, but certainly not its only one; the company has set up TechShop Global, its international subsidiary, to manage any and all international partners in the future.
The planned TechShop location in France will give members access to a much wider range of resources than usually expected from the typical TechShop. On top of getting their hands on tools and resources offered by TechShop – like 3D printers, laser cutters, plastics and electronics labs, a machine shop, a wood shop, a metal working shop, a textiles department, and design software – members get access to resources from Leroy Merlin, whose DIY superstores offer tools and supplies on anything and everything having to do with DIY, from building and gardening, to simple home decorating.
This particular expansion for TechShop marks a significant landmark not just for the organization, but for the Maker Movement as a whole, the cultural movement comprised of craftspeople, tinkerers, hobbyists, inventors, and overall enthusiasts, all of whom engage in the act of creating. TechShop’s expansion beyond the United States signals the increasing significance of making and its effect on the overall global ethos. Last year, President Obama fully embraced the Maker Movement by hosting the very first White House Maker Faire. To learn more about the Maker Movement, read this piece published last summer.
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