I’ve been eager to join TechShop since they launched many years ago in the Bay Area. This fall we Austin makers finally got our chance! It’s a great space and is connected to a Lowes hardware store, so materials are close at hand.
I think the idea of a TechShop (or TechShop-like space) connected to — or even incorporated into — a Lowe’s or Home Depot would be a great idea! The term ‘mutual benefit’ comes to mind, as does the term ‘symbiosis’.
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It’s a really nice setup. In the Lowes aisles they have special displays detailing example projects possible at TechShop (with a shopping list). At the Lowes-TechShop door, there is a Lowes aisle map with common materials highlighted (CNC router bits, wood & lexan for the lasers, etc). Even better, this Lowes now stocks things like powder coating supplies.
There seems to be a pretty steady flow of Lowes customers wandering in to check out TechShop as well as TechShop makers rushing over to buy materials.