If you visit any seaside town in the northeast of the USA you will likely find an old time commercial district with a board walk, games of chance, and a candy store that is making fresh saltwater taffy in the front window. This demo, where the candy is repeatedly stretched using a civil war era mechanical contraption never fails to draw crowds and sell otherwise underwhelming candy.
I wonder if the MakerBot and laser cutters could serve the same purpose for a next generation of DIY shops? A glittering lure to bring people through the doors where they could be sold all the DIY tools they could need. Salt water taffy is an inferior product by any metric, but millions of pounds of it are sold each year because of these gravity defying machines that make the process look magical.
Current DIY retail is a waste land. Michael’s owns suburban art supplies and generates $4B a year in revenue in cavernous, but uninspiring stores. New breed retailers like Ponoko help people make custom products, but all the magic happens behind closed doors and requires weeks of waiting. There seems to be an exciting opportunity to fill that gap with a store or service that provides all the staples you need to build things with the wizardry of next gen DIY tools.