The Foundery is closing up shop at City Garage after a little less than three years in the Port Covington entrepreneurial hub. However, CEO Jason Hardebeck says the industrial maker space will soon be resurrected at its old digs downtown.
Word of the closure, happening this weekend, came in a statement last night. Management attributed the decision to shut down to lacking funds.
“We basically ran out of runway before we got completely airborne,” Hardebeck elaborated on a phone call this morning. “We had our best year ever in 2018, but it was not enough to sustain us to profitability or even break even.”
“It’s the story of a startup,” he added.
The maker space, which provides access to dozens of industrial tools for entrepreneurs, artisans and small businesses, traded in its old quarters at 207 S. Central Avenue near Little Italy in 2016 for a much larger home at W. Dickman Street, backed by funding primarily from Sagamore Ventures, Plank Industries’ venture capital arm. It operates on a business model of offering classes and selling day passes for members to use their tools.
But despite offering thousands of classes over the last several years—there were more than 10,000 individual member visits in 2018 alone, according to last night’s statement—it hasn’t been enough to make them profitable or secure investment for another year.
Hardebeck said they’re taking it in stride.
“We tell everybody who comes in here that this is a place to fail. It’s a place to try things, make mistakes and learn from it.”
The good news for those making use of The Foundery’s tools and classes: It’s not going away for good. Hardebeck said the Central Avenue location remained in their building inventory, and they were actually intending to reopen it as a second location anyway.
He’s hoping to be able to work with the team behind Port Covington again, likening them to “family.” Sagamore Ventures has indicated they may support The Foundery again in the future, he said. “There’s nothing that’s off the table, other than being able to continue in City Garage at this time.”
Hardebeck said development should begin on the Central Avenue location this year.
Per the announcement, The Foundery will hold all classes at City Garage as planned until it closes this Sunday, members will be allowed to come in during regular hours and retrieve personal items. Management will also be refunding any classes—including those that are still happening in the next few days—and gift cards and already-paid account balances.
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