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TechShop Abruptly Shuts Down All Locations, Including San Jose HQ

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Another company has just closed down on what has become a troubled block in San Jose.

TechShop is going out of business, closing its headquarters on South Second Street as well as its 10 locations.

"In spite of many months of effort to restructure the company's debt and raise new capital to fund our recently announced strategic pivot, we have depleted our funds," TechShop states on its website.

TechShop, which rents workshop space and tools for entrepreneurs, abruptly locked its doors on Tuesday and went bankrupt just months after making South Second Street its headquarters.

It occupied the same space as a failed Zanotto's Market, which closed its doors at the location several years ago, even though the chain thrives in other parts of the city.

Ironically, both businesses received economic incentives from San Jose.

But walk up and down on either side, and it's one empty storefront after another. It's a hard luck street in the heart of the city.

Two nightclubs on the block recently closed as well.

What is it about South Second Street between Santa Clara and San Fernando that causes businesses to die?

Tattoo artist Abraham Ortega opened the Blacksuit Tattoo parlor last year.

"It's very desolate here. It's empty," Ortega said. "I don't know what's going on, why there are no businesses here. There haven't been businesses here for years."

Blacksuit Tattoo is the only business to open recently and shares the only bright spot on the block with a Mini Market.

"First Street's good. Third Street's good. North Second Street is okay. But South Second Street?  It's just not there," Ortega said.

A comedy club in the old Jose Theatre still draws crowds, but mostly on weekend nights.

The street has daytime foot traffic, light rail and bus stops and a parking lot.

But it also has a bad reputation.

Fountain Alley, a connecting pedestrian walkway, was once a notorious hangout for drug dealers.

The police department has cleaned up the area, but problems remain.

"The rent is kind of high," said Alfredo Diaz who, with his wife Maria, runs Diaz Mens Wear. Their shop has survived since the 1980s.

Diaz says city hall should target the area for economic development or else the street will continue to be a revolving door.

"We've seen businesses coming and leaving, coming and leaving. It happens a lot," Diaz said. "They come and go."

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