Fargo 3D Printing to close down physical shop, maintain online presence
Founded approximately 10 years ago, Fargo 3D Printing has been a central figure in the growth of 3D printing in the metro area. Now, co-founder John Schneider is ready to step away.
FARGO — After roughly a decade in business, Fargo 3D Printing will soon close their physical location, focusing instead on their online store.
The news was first publicized via social media Monday, Feb. 27. According to a Facebook post, the store plans to hold closing sales on Friday, March 17, and Saturday, March 18.
John Schneider co-founded the business with Jake Clark after Clark got the ball rolling in 2013. At the time, Schneider said he helped build the company’s brand and website. He also helped launch the company’s 3D printer sales and create how-to videos. When Clark ultimately stepped aside to take a new position in the Twin Cities, Schneider took over to lead operations.
Now, Schneider said he’s ready to step aside himself. “I’m just kind of ready to move on to the next thing, which in my case is still staying in the 3D printing industry but going to work for another printing company and to just be able to focus a little bit more and have a better work-life balance,” he remarked to The Forum.
Business has stayed relatively steady for Fargo 3D Printing in spite of the natural challenges their location has posed, Schneider said. Located at 2222 7th Ave. N., just west of Fargo Brewing Company, Fargo 3D Printing is hardly in an area known for retail shopping. “I absolutely think a 3D printing store would do really, really well in Fargo in a better location,” he said.
Still, customers came to appreciate having a 3D printing shop in town, even if the location was less than ideal. The store became a place for customers to discuss the craft with knowledgeable staff and pick up supplies without having to shop online.
Expertise and customer service were one of Fargo 3D Printing’s points of emphasis. It’s why another reason for the closing is the imminent departure of one of their top employees, who will be graduating in May. “That’s one of the other things that we really prided ourselves on, is taking care of our customers. We can answer their questions,” Schneider said. “I just want to make sure that they’re taken care of.”
Fargo 3D Printing will continue to maintain its online store, selling parts and materials. The company will also take on large-scale printing projects for individuals and companies who have a clear vision of what they need.
Schneider said the most gratifying part of his tenure at Fargo 3D Printing has been witnessing the growth of 3D printing in the Fargo area. “One of the coolest things has been just seeing how the 3D printing ecosystem in Fargo has built up,” Schneider said.
Things started small with workshops. Eventually, two businesses were spun off from Fargo 3D Printing itself. One is a repair business which was purchased by a former employee. The second, 3D-Fuel, manufactures filaments, which is the material used in the printing process. 3D-Fuel will continue to operate, Schneider said.
Beyond his own company, Schneider noted that 3D printing takes place at North Dakota State University’s Innovation Lab. Further, two big names in the 3D printing industry are also located in Fargo. Printer manufacturer Lulzbot relocated to the city when it was acquired by FAME 3D. Meanwhile, Protosthetics manufactures 3D printed orthotics and prosthetics here in Fargo as well.
The co-founder was thankful to customers for their patronage over the years. He added that he is not actively looking to sell the business, but if the right person came along to carry on the Fargo 3D Printing’s legacy, he’d be willing to chat.
“There’s a lot of 3D printing that goes on in this area and it’s really cool to be a part of that,” Schneider summarized. “Seeing the impact that we’ve been able to have, that’s probably the most rewarding thing.”