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macona
02-05-2010, 03:53 AM
Well, TechShop Portland has fallen on its face. Got till Sunday to get the stuff out of the shop.

Now I have to find a real job. That is not going to be fun.

I think I am going to go cry now...

beanbag
02-05-2010, 03:56 AM
oh crap, what happened?

macona
02-05-2010, 04:05 AM
Found out last thursday he had not paid the rent for the past two months. Monday there was a eviction notice on the door giving us till the 7th to move. The landlords want $50K to make things right, but that only brings us up to end of feb on rent.

Im pretty unhappy right now. Not only has the owner been lying to me I have to explain to the members whats going on and why he STILL has not made an official announcement. He is irrationally optimistic that this will all turn around. Sorry folks, the party is over. We rats are fleeing the sinking ship <squeak>

And he owes me about $7400...
:mad:

Ryobiguy
02-05-2010, 04:24 AM
I have an uncle who put his CNC lathe in the Tech Shop in the San Francisco bay area. He then left the country to go sailing for a while and came back asking where his lathe went. Well, they left it out to rust and had scrapped it.

I have a hard time imagining that their business plan would work, unless there were many hundreds of people signing up for monthly fees right as they opened up shop. Do you suppose they had even 20% of the signups they would have needed in order to pay the bills?

Not only is it a bummer, but just a few days of notice to move everything out?? Not a happy situation.

-Matt

Greg Q
02-05-2010, 05:11 AM
Sorry to read this Macona. What a crappy deal.

Make sure you leave that incarcerated troublemaker's machines behind for the landlord to keep.

RB211
02-05-2010, 05:16 AM
Never depend on other individuals, and if you do, never become comfortable or complacent about it.
Sucks that Portland went under :(

Doc Nickel
02-05-2010, 05:22 AM
He owes you almost eight grand? No offense, but how'd you let him slide that long? I know the place is kind of a "startup", but that's being pretty optimistic on somebody's part.

And Sunday? As in three days to move a bunch of major machines? Is that "everything"- as in you have to help move everything out, or are you just going to focus on your own machines, or the machines you got donated, etc.?

Wish I was nearby, I'd help for a day or two- or, you know, cart off that Gorton vertical mill to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. :D

So what's the deal? Was the place just not making any money, or was the guy skimming everything off or stuffing it up his nose, or what?

Doc.

macona
02-05-2010, 05:38 AM
I have an uncle who put his CNC lathe in the Tech Shop in the San Francisco bay area. He then left the country to go sailing for a while and came back asking where his lathe went. Well, they left it out to rust and had scrapped it.

I have a hard time imagining that their business plan would work, unless there were many hundreds of people signing up for monthly fees right as they opened up shop. Do you suppose they had even 20% of the signups they would have needed in order to pay the bills?

Not only is it a bummer, but just a few days of notice to move everything out?? Not a happy situation.

-Matt

I had heard about that I think. It was an old paper tape machine. The guy was supposed to teach how to use it and then disappeared. They ended up having to pay to have it hauled away. At least thats what I heard.

We had about 20% to pay the bills.

There are so many reasons why this place went under. The owner picked a place way too big. The california location gave virtually zero support. The original goal was lost to trying to become a replacement for shop classes. Money was wasted, it looks like were were literally subsidizing the businesses that were there. The owner wouldnt listen to me, he tried bad idea after bad idea wasting time and money chasing after "what ifs".

TechShop relied on "angel lenders" for its investment income. 25k loans paid back 10% per year for 10 years. Lenders got sold a bill of goods that did not work like it said.

This place could work and become profitable if done right. That is obvious from what I have seen. With a few basic pieces of equipment one could have a small shop and turn a profit. Some of us are thinking of getting together to try a small version on our own. I have a virtual techshop in my garage (Which is soon going to become significantly more packed.)

It was an incredible simple way to deal with that guy.

macona
02-05-2010, 05:46 AM
He owes you almost eight grand? No offense, but how'd you let him slide that long? I know the place is kind of a "startup", but that's being pretty optimistic on somebody's part.

And Sunday? As in three days to move a bunch of major machines? Is that "everything"- as in you have to help move everything out, or are you just going to focus on your own machines, or the machines you got donated, etc.?

Wish I was nearby, I'd help for a day or two- or, you know, cart off that Gorton vertical mill to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. :D

So what's the deal? Was the place just not making any money, or was the guy skimming everything off or stuffing it up his nose, or what?

Doc.

I never realized it was that much until I got my W2.

Right now I am only concerned about my stuff. Though I am going to probably take some equipment in lieu of payment. Im broke. One item is that gorton. Too bad the motor needs to go have a check up at a motor shop. For some reason it started tripping the ground fault circuit in the VFD. Thinking bad insulation.

Donated machines go back to their donator if I can find them.

toolmaker76
02-05-2010, 07:31 AM
Bummer, man. I packed up my tools at a shop in July because the bank would not honor my paycheck. Took me 4 1/2 months but I found other work.

Same kind of situation, the owner constantly misused funds. We would work to get a job out so that we could bring in cash to the place, only to find out on payday he had done something stupid with the money. Glad that headache is over!

It will work out, hope you are able to get some machines in lieu of pay!

DR
02-05-2010, 08:24 AM
.................................................. ......................

This place could work and become profitable if done right. That is obvious from what I have seen. With a few basic pieces of equipment one could have a small shop and turn a profit. Some of us are thinking of getting together to try a small version on our own. I have a virtual techshop in my garage (Which is soon going to become significantly more packed.)

.................................................. ...............



This is an unfortunate situation.

I've seen woodworking time-rental shops like this spring up over the years. For whatever reason they never seem to last.

How is the California operation doing?

oldtiffie
02-05-2010, 08:41 AM
That's bad macona as I really did think it was a "goer" and that you deserved much better and much more than you got.

I'd be cautious about taking anything to which you don't have title as "in lieu of payment" as it may cause matters to get worse than they are for you. The more so if another party has a claim or a lien over it.

If the owner seals/locks the place on Monday and you enter the premises you may at best be trespassing or be arrested for "intent .............. ".

As the items were donated to Techshop, are you in a position to dispose of them at all - even to those who donated the machines - and even if you were - do they want or need them back? And if they do - who is going to pay for the transport? It seems the that will be a non-event on or after Monday anyway.

I really do hope that it all blows over and that it works out well for you.

I am in OZ and have no knowledge of the forms, notices etc in the USA.

What is a "W2"?

Bguns
02-05-2010, 08:56 AM
Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, is used in the United States income tax system as an information return to report wages paid to employees and the taxes withheld from them. The form is also used to report FICA taxes to the Social Security Administration. Relevant amounts on Form W-2 are reported by the Social Security Administration to the Internal Revenue Service.

from Wiki...

Not my favorite form..

oldtiffie
02-05-2010, 09:16 AM
Thanks Bguns.

I chased it up just for my own information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_W-2#W-2

Its no wonder it was served on or before 01 February = or should have been.

Tony Ennis
02-05-2010, 09:24 AM
:-(
Sorry man

Limy Sami
02-05-2010, 10:14 AM
Sorry to hear that Macona.

As for;-

[QUOTE=macona] Some of us are thinking of getting together to try a small version on our own. QUOTE]

NO NO & NO,........... paddle your own canoe .......... don't ask me how I know,..... in case you didn't get it. DON'T DO IT.

japcas
02-05-2010, 10:40 AM
Sorry to hear about your misfortune Macona. When you first started telling us about it here I thought that it sounded like a neat place to be near and participate in. But in the back of my mind I was worried that something like this would happen. If I was closer I'd be glad to help you get your machines home as thanks for all of the good info you've gave me with my cnc project. And I'm sure others here would too. I hope all of the equipment makes it out of there and that it don't make it to the metal recyclers.:(

madman
02-05-2010, 11:43 AM
To hear about the Tech Shop. I have called some of our Local Colleges. The Apprenticesghip percentage for Machine Courses seems alwmor non existant. Our economy is doomed for manudacturing and just getting steadilly worse. The teacher told me to get into health care. I told him Thanx ,..

dp
02-05-2010, 12:52 PM
Seems like this is exactly what the stimulus package should have been supporting - industrial training is not going to come from the public sector, obviously. It might be worth jotting off a note to the local politicos to see what they can do.

lazlo
02-05-2010, 02:29 PM
Jerry, I'm really sorry to hear that! :mad:

I could hook you up with the Corporate Sponsorship folks at Intel (for those who don't know: the Intel Mothership is in Portland), but there's no way you'd be able to write a proposal and work through the bureaucracy by Sunday.

Is the ownership of the equipment going to be in dispute? You spent a lot of time retrofitting that CNC lathe...

HighWall
02-05-2010, 03:28 PM
This is an unfortunate situation.

I've seen woodworking time-rental shops like this spring up over the years. For whatever reason they never seem to last.

How is the California operation doing?

I've been getting emails about them opening a new location in San Francisco. The original is in Menlo Park, about 40 min south of SF. I have attended some events at the Menlo location and it seemed pretty busy.

reggie_obe
02-05-2010, 07:02 PM
How many member did Portland have? How many were hobbyists or just tinkerers? Seems like $100 or $125 is lot for an individual to plunk down for a monthly membership, if that membership is not going to make any money through the development of a product.

macona
02-06-2010, 07:11 AM
I think we ended with around 120 members.

For the kind of equipment available to you $125 is nothing. Heck, people pay that for access to a single machine, the laser cutter.

No problems getting my equipment. In fact I am leaving with more equipment than I expected as I am ending up taking the Dynasty 300, Gorton 8D, Bridgeport 9x32, Oxy-Acet set, Max Spindle sander, and a Max 20" Disc Sander.

Black_Moons
02-06-2010, 09:59 AM
$125 really is nothing
even buying chinese tools, thats 2~3 years before you could afford your own lathe, and another year or two before you have paid for a decent amount of tooling.

120x125 = $15000/month. If 2 months behind on the rent was $50,000.. that book doesnt look so black to me.

Jpfalt
02-06-2010, 11:10 AM
I also have equipment at techshop Portland.

To clear things up a little, the $50,000 was for two months past rent and three months in advance from what I've been told. I may be wrong, but in any case it isn't pretty.

The one most hurt by this is likely Martin Model that does patternmaking and sells flywheels, engine and tool castiing sets. He had by far the most equipment in the shop and is now in bug out phase to move back to his former shop. Fortunately Gary has lots of friends who are going the extra mile to help him out, and he deserves it. If anyone can buy a casting set from him it would help out big time. He has three classes going for the next month and a half or so with 40 students and won't leave the students out in the cold, so he is tworking hard to arrange some teaching space in the Portland area. His website is at Martinmodel.com.

I have a 3D printer, Jet 11 x 40 lathe, Enco 9 x 54 vertical mill and a Cincinnatti #2 tool and cutter grinder to move and can get them on a car hauling traiiler, but have to figure out how to get them off at my home. I suppose I could rent a forklift for a day. Any advice would help.

I have to echo Macona on one thing: I can't understand how the situatiuon went on for as long as it did with no word that there were real financial (read that cash flow) issues before someone raised their hand.

There is talk of reorganizing in a new location, but I want to see a viable sustainable business plan with built in oversight before I would place equipment again. At this point, the company is still going and will continue until someone formally shoots the old dog. It won't be pretty as there are physical assets to fuel the feeding frenzy.

Compared to some, my problems are small, certainly nothing that will end my life in 300 seconds or less. Therefore, according to my negotiations instructor in grad school, it is irrelevant.

lazlo
02-06-2010, 11:53 AM
Jerry, is Techshop a franchise, or is it owned by one person? I thought the latter. If that's the case, then why does he allow the Portland Techshop to go under while the Silicon Valley Techshop continues to operate?

If Techshop isn't a franchise, the owner of your building can go after the owner of Techshop for the back rent...

JTToner
02-06-2010, 12:31 PM
I'd never heard of Techshop until I read this thread. Seemed like a good concept, but obviously flawed. Regarding whether its a franchise, it appears that originally it was not but the San Diego Calif. location is.

http://sandiego.techshop.ws/rsvp.html

gda
02-06-2010, 12:44 PM
I also have equipment at techshop Portland.

I have a 3D printer, Jet 11 x 40 lathe, Enco 9 x 54 vertical mill and a Cincinnatti #2 tool and cutter grinder to move and can get them on a car hauling traiiler, but have to figure out how to get them off at my home. I .


Get some 4 x4 's and lag bolts, lag them on your equipment like runners, at home do a combination of tilting the trailer, blocking, and draging them off. This is what I would do if I had to move like you do. I've moved 2 bridgeports that were lagged to a pallet (with 2 layers of 1/2" plywood). Be careful of the topheavy loads.

reggie_obe
02-06-2010, 01:56 PM
The variety of equipment vs. value isn't in question. If your a hobbyist/tinkerer and not a small business/prototype/pattern maker, will you spend enough time in the shop to make it "worth while"? Or is it like a very expensive Health Club membership? Maybe it's a great idea, but the business/marketing plan was lacking. Let me compare it to an Adult Education shop class in the Northeast, twenty, three hour evening classes, once per week, full access to the shop equipment and materials, $200.

RB211
02-06-2010, 02:35 PM
The variety of equipment vs. value isn't in question. If your a hobbyist/tinkerer and not a small business/prototype/pattern maker, will you spend enough time in the shop to make it "worth while"? Or is it like a very expensive Health Club membership? Maybe it's a great idea, but the business/marketing plan was lacking. Let me compare it to an Adult Education shop class in the Northeast, twenty, three hour evening classes, once per week, full access to the shop equipment and materials, $200.
Since I now live in the Bay Area, techshop has me very interested. Although looking at the fees, even if it is 120$ a month, I have to take a class for the lathe, the bridgeport, the laser, etc... All which cost around 100$ each... Now to make any use of it, I have to drive 40+ minutes, cross a bridge, pay tolls, etc.. Now when I finally get there, it is like high school shop class all over, having to share in a communal environment... For 75$ a month, I can rent an upstairs apartment that no one wants because it is dirty and crappy... Get a HF 8x12 lathe, small milling machine, and do it that way... I could always go to Techshop when I need to use a large machine or cnc something...

DR
02-06-2010, 02:38 PM
"120x125 = $15000/month."

"the $50,000 was for two months past rent and three months in advance"

$15K/month income versus $10K/month rent.

No small wonder they went under.

lazlo
02-06-2010, 02:42 PM
$15K/month income versus $10K/month rent.

No small wonder they went under.

Plus they have to pay Jerry's salary, plus any assistants he has, liability insurance, and capital equipment acquisition.

Sounds like they weren't even in the ballpark...

MrSleepy
02-06-2010, 03:03 PM
Sorry to hear the bad news Jerry..

I'm sure you'll bounce back from this...

If you ever need somewhere to store that nice little red lathe you have.... crate it up ..and give me a shout...:)

Rob

Astronowanabe
02-06-2010, 04:01 PM
Bummer.
hmmm, guess that means we won't be talking about opening up another one down here anymore...

Liger Zero
02-06-2010, 04:24 PM
That's rough Macona. Give your idea a try see if you can get it to work on a small scale. Be sure to line up a plan B and plan C before you do... backup day-job and all that.


Care to disassemble that injection molding machine and mail it to me piece by piece? :D

macona
02-08-2010, 02:16 PM
"120x125 = $15000/month."

"the $50,000 was for two months past rent and three months in advance"

$15K/month income versus $10K/month rent.

No small wonder they went under.

Lease was $17,000 a month, Electricity $1500, Gas ~$750, etc...

No way it could work. Not with a building that big.

Small building with necessary tools and minimal paid staff and it will work.

Gary had a heck of a lot of people come out of the wood work to move his stuff. Other big losers in this mess were Urban Tiber Works and Rose City Lumber. Urban Timber Works ran a small saw mill and they have something like 18 truckloads of wood to move. Rose city has a smaller amount of wood but less helpers to move.

The shop is pretty cleared out now. The landlord is giving us an extension to get our stuff out till the 14th, but by appointment only. Just as well as I just caught a cold. Great timing...

macona
02-08-2010, 02:22 PM
Plus they have to pay Jerry's salary, plus any assistants he has, liability insurance, and capital equipment acquisition.

Sounds like they weren't even in the ballpark...

Not much in capital equipment was ever spent. Maybe $30k total at the beginning. Some Sheet metal and wood working equipment. A few other things. Everything else was provided by Gary, Joe, Kathy, Jim, and I. Surprisingly enough very little equipment was damaged by members. Though consumables did get used up.

reggie_obe
02-08-2010, 05:18 PM
So, how in the world, can something like this work? Be profitable or just break even? How did you handle/monitor tooling, raw materials? Is or was TechShop, trying to be everything for every type of craftsman?

macona
02-08-2010, 10:54 PM
It can work, I am sure. And so are other who will bet money on it. Heck, with a laser cuter alone you could support a small place just with that.

The thing is you have to start small. say 5k sq ft to 10k. And a small staff, on or two max. Offer studio space. Come up with a product and work on that when machines are not being used.

TechShop was intended to be the place to go to have access to tools that are too big or too expensive to put in your garage. Instead it became an attempt at replacing missing shop classes in schools. Its a nice idea but it will never make any money. The amount of equipment to teach a group of students is quite high. And then once the class period is over you have all this extra equipment that takes up space and no one is using it. In the wood shop alone there were 5 table saws, three spindle sanders, 6 disc sanders, three jointers, 6 wood lathes, and so on. Way overkill for a member based shop.

wierdscience
02-09-2010, 02:34 AM
Dunno about your locale,but here a 5k ft strip mall slot can be had for $1800/month in one of the older strip malls.

Maybe start with one popular genre and build it from there.Basic machine and welding equipment,maybe some sheet metal stuff.Woodworking,while popular takes an awful lot of space.

MikeHenry
02-13-2010, 05:41 PM
For some reason it started tripping the ground fault circuit in the VFD. Thinking bad insulation.

I was told that GFCI breakers will trip if powering a VFD even when there is no fault. Forrest could probably explain the details as ISTR it was him that related the info to me. I can confirm that the 220 VAC single-phase GFCI breaker I installed on a circuit dedicated to a VFD for a 2 HP 3-ph motor faulted as soon as the VFD was powered up and has been working just fine for the past 5 years on a regular breaker.

Mike

EVguru
02-13-2010, 06:23 PM
There are noise supression capacitors across the line ('X' caps) and capacitors from each line to protective earth ('Y' caps). Since an inverter drive generates a lot of high frequency noise and capacitors conduct high frequency ac quite well, you cen get enough current flowing to earth to trip an RCD. Normal RCD trip current is 30mA in the UK, but I think the US is as low as 5mA.

Too_Many_Tools
02-13-2010, 09:17 PM
That's bad macona as I really did think it was a "goer" and that you deserved much better and much more than you got.

I'd be cautious about taking anything to which you don't have title as "in lieu of payment" as it may cause matters to get worse than they are for you. The more so if another party has a claim or a lien over it.

If the owner seals/locks the place on Monday and you enter the premises you may at best be trespassing or be arrested for "intent .............. ".

As the items were donated to Techshop, are you in a position to dispose of them at all - even to those who donated the machines - and even if you were - do they want or need them back? And if they do - who is going to pay for the transport? It seems the that will be a non-event on or after Monday anyway.

I really do hope that it all blows over and that it works out well for you.

I am in OZ and have no knowledge of the forms, notices etc in the USA.

What is a "W2"?


I too second the advice to "not take anything that you do not personally own which can be proven by a paid reciept".

The mud is just beginning to be thrown.

Based on your comments about the owner/boss, it is likely that many people are owed money...and they all are going to be after the assets.

I would get my stuff and get out ASAP.

Otherwise you may find yourself hiring a lawyer...and they want cash up front.

TMT

Too_Many_Tools
02-13-2010, 09:23 PM
I think we ended with around 120 members.

For the kind of equipment available to you $125 is nothing. Heck, people pay that for access to a single machine, the laser cutter.

No problems getting my equipment. In fact I am leaving with more equipment than I expected as I am ending up taking the Dynasty 300, Gorton 8D, Bridgeport 9x32, Oxy-Acet set, Max Spindle sander, and a Max 20" Disc Sander.

I would be very careful about taking anything other than what you can produce receipts for.

When a company goes down, the creditors want the assets for auction.

Removing equipment that is not legally yours (and this means purchased at fair market value with the paperwork to prove that you paid real money for it) will get you a boatload of trouble.

TMT

Too_Many_Tools
02-13-2010, 09:28 PM
It can work, I am sure. And so are other who will bet money on it. Heck, with a laser cuter alone you could support a small place just with that.

The thing is you have to start small. say 5k sq ft to 10k. And a small staff, on or two max. Offer studio space. Come up with a product and work on that when machines are not being used.

TechShop was intended to be the place to go to have access to tools that are too big or too expensive to put in your garage. Instead it became an attempt at replacing missing shop classes in schools. Its a nice idea but it will never make any money. The amount of equipment to teach a group of students is quite high. And then once the class period is over you have all this extra equipment that takes up space and no one is using it. In the wood shop alone there were 5 table saws, three spindle sanders, 6 disc sanders, three jointers, 6 wood lathes, and so on. Way overkill for a member based shop.

"Instead it became an attempt at replacing missing shop classes in schools."

My guess is that the effort to provide shop training was an attempt to generate income that was not coming in because the original concept was not working.

TMT

Too_Many_Tools
02-13-2010, 09:35 PM
Lease was $17,000 a month, Electricity $1500, Gas ~$750, etc...

No way it could work. Not with a building that big.

Small building with necessary tools and minimal paid staff and it will work.

Gary had a heck of a lot of people come out of the wood work to move his stuff. Other big losers in this mess were Urban Tiber Works and Rose City Lumber. Urban Timber Works ran a small saw mill and they have something like 18 truckloads of wood to move. Rose city has a smaller amount of wood but less helpers to move.

The shop is pretty cleared out now. The landlord is giving us an extension to get our stuff out till the 14th, but by appointment only. Just as well as I just caught a cold. Great timing...

Okay...I really don't understand...you said that the landlords are owed over $50K and they are letting the assets walk out the door.

What hasn't been said?

danlb
02-13-2010, 11:25 PM
The landlords mey simply understand that the equipment is loaned, and that they have to pay a LOT to have big iron removed. They may or may not be able to rent it to someone else if the shop is full of heavy hardware.

Besides, techshop has other assets in Calif that they can pursue.

Dan

Too_Many_Tools
02-13-2010, 11:55 PM
The landlords mey simply understand that the equipment is loaned, and that they have to pay a LOT to have big iron removed. They may or may not be able to rent it to someone else if the shop is full of heavy hardware.

Besides, techshop has other assets in Calif that they can pursue.

Dan

The equipment can be auctioned in place with the proceeds going to pay the creditors.

The buyers would foot the moving bill.

What we have been told is not the entire story.

Anyone care to fill in the missing parts?

TMT

WoodburnBob
02-22-2010, 11:45 AM
Very sad to read. My condolences all the way around.

A couple months ago I heard about the facility and noticed the signs driving by it. Friday I drove by and all signs were gone and no cars seen. Deserted looking. Joining was on my list of things to consider.

A couple years ago I wanted to get intro & experience w/ t&c and surface grinders (I understood a little but had no experience).

I found the PCC class at Frankin and signed-up; it was the only thing local I could find.

http://tinyurl.com/yzhhpta

They have a very nice shop with about one of most basic things that are machinist, even a little foundary set-up. 4 or 5 Hardinge lathes to use. The wood shop is next door and completely separate. They had a nice KO Lee hydraulic surface grinder and a seemingly never-used KO Lee (I think) t&c grinder.

The fellow running things gave about a 90 minute lecture in a classroom, then a 60 demonstration, leaving about 30 minutes for exploration and "projects". I was interested in 5, 5 and 170. I think he was insulted when I chose shop time over lectures and demonstrates (he offered, so I accepted). He became very agitated when I started assembling a t&c setup and said hands off because even he didn't "understand it" all that well himself. Didn't want me to break anything that was School property. That ended it for me.

Folks looking to build lathe skills, weld, use the plasma cutter, do sheet metal, and so forth would get a good taste of it here though. Seemed like an excellent intro/survey; it just wasn't what I had hoped for vis-a-vis freedom and support. My age is 62 years; so that may have been part of the problem.

There certainly is a need for intermediate-advanced level, home-shop/apprentice type instruction and skill building in PDX. I'd love to hear if there is a place I haven't learned of. But I suspect the liability and financial barriers are insurmountable.

Bob

Liger Zero
02-22-2010, 12:18 PM
My age is 62 years; so that may have been part of the problem.


Bob

I tried to take a welding class through the extension program two years ago. I got it from the "other end," instructor in his late sixties who refused to let me actually... ya know... weld. Apparently kids my age (!!) can't be trusted and that we were limited to class lecture only, and please come back when I'm about 20-25 years old because he is not risking an accident please and thank you.

Long story short I got a full refund of my $3500 and a written apology from the program director... no welding instruction though.

Oh and those of you tuning in, the punchline here is I'm in my mid-30s but apparently I look like I'm 14 years old. :D

Too_Many_Tools
02-22-2010, 04:18 PM
Very sad to read. My condolences all the way around.

A couple months ago I heard about the facility and noticed the signs driving by it. Friday I drove by and all signs were gone and no cars seen. Deserted looking. Joining was on my list of things to consider.

A couple years ago I wanted to get intro & experience w/ t&c and surface grinders (I understood a little but had no experience).

I found the PCC class at Frankin and signed-up; it was the only thing local I could find.

http://tinyurl.com/yzhhpta

They have a very nice shop with about one of most basic things that are machinist, even a little foundary set-up. 4 or 5 Hardinge lathes to use. The wood shop is next door and completely separate. They had a nice KO Lee hydraulic surface grinder and a seemingly never-used KO Lee (I think) t&c grinder.

The fellow running things gave about a 90 minute lecture in a classroom, then a 60 demonstration, leaving about 30 minutes for exploration and "projects". I was interested in 5, 5 and 170. I think he was insulted when I chose shop time over lectures and demonstrates (he offered, so I accepted). He became very agitated when I started assembling a t&c setup and said hands off because even he didn't "understand it" all that well himself. Didn't want me to break anything that was School property. That ended it for me.

Folks looking to build lathe skills, weld, use the plasma cutter, do sheet metal, and so forth would get a good taste of it here though. Seemed like an excellent intro/survey; it just wasn't what I had hoped for vis-a-vis freedom and support. My age is 62 years; so that may have been part of the problem.

There certainly is a need for intermediate-advanced level, home-shop/apprentice type instruction and skill building in PDX. I'd love to hear if there is a place I haven't learned of. But I suspect the liability and financial barriers are insurmountable.

Bob

Thanks for the update...I was wondering about how it went down.

TMT

macona
02-22-2010, 07:31 PM
I had talked to a lawyer and she said I could take equipment in lieu of pay, no problem. As an employee my back pay takes priority over all other debts.

The landlord just wanted everything gone. Simple as that. I get the feeling there is someone already interested in the building.

The extensive teaching came from Gary Martin as he has been teaching PCC classes at other locations before techshop. Those classes ended up costing us in the end since we got very little money out of PCC for the classes.

Some of use are working on trying to come up with a viable business plan for a smaller shop. But right now I cant get them to guarantee maintenance and repairs on my equipment so it may not happen.

beanbag
05-18-2010, 07:41 AM
bump for update?

macona
05-18-2010, 07:29 PM
Well, there is this:

http://blog.oregonlive.com/siliconforest/2010/04/techshop_portland_goes_chapter.html

There was a bankruptcy hearing last week I hear. From what I have heard they might consider the loans as securities which he will be on the hook for.

Bunch of BS in the article though. The Portland TechShop was not licensed from the Menlo Park location, they owned 49% of the Portland location. They say they are going to open one here in Portland next year and they will own it. Funny, they part owned this location, failed to live up to their obligations and let it go under. Then a year later they plan on opening another one which they fully control in the same area. Something fishy here...

Other than that nothing new. Still cant find a job. Its dead up here.

lazlo
05-18-2010, 08:15 PM
The Portland TechShop was not licensed from the Menlo Park location, they owned 49% of the Portland location.

Jerry, I asked you about that by PM awhile ago -- how can TechShop owe you back wages (or owe rent on the building), if the TechShop in Menlo Park is still operating?

macona
05-18-2010, 08:43 PM
They don't owe me anything now so thats not an issue anymore.

I really don't understand what the heck is going on. If I was a lender I would be going after TechShop HQ. One of the lenders up here talked to one of the lenders down in MP (Menlo Park HQ) and he had said none of the original lenders have received their payments either. And they themselves say they are not making a profit. Yet they are opening another location in San Francisco. And other locations as well. Huh?

The whole lending scheme reeks and I knew it was trouble from the moment I heard of it, but this is what MP said to do. The idea was they get lenders for $25k. They pay back in yearly installments for 10 years with 10% interest. The first payment is due 1 year after the initial loan. So, lets say we have 10 lenders, each at 25k. Thats 250k lent. In one year the lenders are now owed 1/10th that plus 10%. So roughly $50k the company now owes to its lender. Thats a huge debt for any start up to pay in one year. So where does the money come from, you guess it, more lenders. Rinse and repeat. Sound like a triangle scheme to you?

The Durham ended up converting their lenders, with their permission, to "shareholders". Not real shares as they is some sort of legal definition for that. This was because they couldnt deal with the payments either. I am guessing the lenders only agreed with this as there is no chance of them getting anything back if the company folds which it probably would have. Lucky for Durham they found a cheaper, smaller place and is able to get going again.

But TechShop Portland is dead, from what I have heard it looks like about $550k in debt.

Oh, and one of the investors did a little digging and it appears the reason that TechShop was evicted was the contractors were going to put materialsman liens on the building so the landlords really had no choice at that point.

oldtiffie
05-18-2010, 08:56 PM
Shame about that as I expect that the lenders thought they were "doing a good thing for the community and making a modest return etc." and got "done" in the process.

Seems like a classic "Ponzi" scheme.

It also seems that the seller was not only a very good seller but had a very good Lawyer as well.

It seems that the lenders were a bit naive and didn't get good legal advice either.

It goes on here too.

Franchising can be even worse where in effect you pay up to buy a job for yourself to work at and try to "make wages plus a bit" only to "go under" and not only lose what you put in but have considerable debt at very adverse terms - including a mortgage.

I hope it all works out well enough in the end.

jkilroy
05-18-2010, 10:32 PM
Whatever you do DON'T do this on your own or with others. Run far FAR away.

wierdscience
05-18-2010, 11:01 PM
Sounds like it was setup as a simple franchise,that would explain why HQ wasn't/isn't liable for the branch's debts.

I did work for guy who lost $75k renovating two McDonalds franchises owned by the same person.Both stores went under,McDonalds wasn't liable for any of it.He only got paid after the auction to sell the stores.Luckily he was the first in line to get paid,the plumbing contractor only got 30% of his money.

macona
05-19-2010, 12:52 AM
Whatever you do DON'T do this on your own or with others. Run far FAR away.


Yeah, the math just does not work out. We tried putting a business plan together and the numbers are not pretty. Even with a rather small building.

macona
05-19-2010, 12:54 AM
Sounds like it was setup as a simple franchise,that would explain why HQ wasn't/isn't liable for the branch's debts.

I did work for guy who lost $75k renovating two McDonalds franchises owned by the same person.Both stores went under,McDonalds wasn't liable for any of it.He only got paid after the auction to sell the stores.Luckily he was the first in line to get paid,the plumbing contractor only got 30% of his money.

But wouldn't thy be liable if they did not follow through on their side?

I really dont know anything about this stuff.