Radio Shack Closing Its Doors after 96 Years This Memorial Day Weekend

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, May 27, 2017.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    Radio Shack was actually where I bought my first PC (IBM Aptiva) but I don’t think I have any tears to shed for the retailer, as they never did a great job of innovating and competing with their rivals. While the franchise will live on through its online storefront, many of the brick-and-mortar stores that have managed to stay standing will be now be going away. They are actually auctioning off a bunch of "nostalgic memorabilia" from their historic archives in Fort Worth, Texas: these include unused original TRS-80 Microcomputers, Realistic Transistor Radios, Tandy computer software games, and original brick cell phones.

    At its peak, RadioShack operated over 7,300 stores with retail sales and operating revenue in the billions of dollars and its locations were famously within 3 miles of more than 95% of households across America. This Memorial Day Weekend, we will be closing over 1,000 stores, leaving less than 70 corporate and 500 RadioShack dealer stores around the country. With 96 years of history, go say goodbye to the RadioShack in your neighborhood. This weekend you still have an opportunity to come visit your nearby store for your electronic needs at great liquidation sale prices, before we close the doors for good.
     
  2. Nebulous

    Nebulous [H]ard|Gawd

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    I used to get all my electronic parts from them back in the day during the CB/Ham radio days. They had evrything I needed to modify my radios. Last thing I got from them was 2 remote controlled cars. One a '58 Chevy LowRider and a '69 Camaro Convertible. Still got them too even after 10 years.
     
  3. Exavior

    Exavior [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I will have to see if the one near me is closing down. It is part of an ACE hardware store and not a stand alone storefront. Haven't seen any going out of business signs and they don't show up on the radio shack site so I am assuming they are not part of this. Not that I would really have anything to buy there anyway.
     
  4. Killahurtz

    Killahurtz Gawd

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    people quit doing things themselves , or lost the ability , or got lazy...I knew the end was near when they became glorified cell phone stores a decade ago
     
  5. Nebulous

    Nebulous [H]ard|Gawd

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    I agree! Even the dumbass sales ppl weren't any help. You asked them a question about heatshrink and they looked like a deer stepping out infront of headlights.
     
  6. Axehandler

    Axehandler Gawd

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    Last time I went in, their collection of Electronic Parts had slimmed down so much, I could not find what I needed and order them online instead

    RIP
    RadioShack
     
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  7. cyberguyz

    cyberguyz Gawd

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    Sad to see them go even though they have been gone from Canada for many years now. They were the place to go for the electronics hobbyist back in the '80s. Radio Shack was far more expansive before they went from an electronic geek's toy store to a me-too electronics store. I really miss the electronic project kits they used to sell and that I cut my soldering eye teeth on. Their TRS-80 (or Trash-80) was one of the better known 8-bit comps available and a ready competitor to the likes of the Apple II and Commodore PET long before IBM made the term PC a trademark.

    I'm sad to see them shutting their doors as I have had a lot of good memories with their early offerings.
     
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  8. alxnet7227

    alxnet7227 [H]Lite

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    I loved going there. But as soon as they began shifting most of their business to cell phones, visiting them for a quick purchase became a pain in the ass! Cashiers took forever with cell phone customers either troubleshooting issues or setting up contracts. Made buying stuff from them a major hassle.
     
  9. travisty

    travisty Gawd

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    It's not people being lazy or losing the ability. It's just easier to order online the exact thing you need for cheaper than you'd pay at radio shack. Add to it t was hit or miss whether radioshack would have the item/s in stock
     
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  10. Gigus Fire

    Gigus Fire 2[H]4U

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    I dunno. I kind of call bs on that.
    Radio shack was the place to go to for all electronics. Then some big mail order companies started eating their business like digikey.
    Instead of staying with their niche, radio shack expanded into stupid crap that is in every store. Toys, cell phones, gadgets, etc. Their actual electronic selection dwindled until there was no reason for anyone to go in there.
     
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  11. DrLobotomy

    DrLobotomy [H]ardness Supreme

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    This thread is making my head hurt. So many memories getting brought up here. I had one of those all in one contraptions with the different parts you could connect with wires and springs to make neat circuits. Which got me into a place called Heathkit which sold all kinds of electronics in a kit you could solder and build.

    We also had the Trash-80's in 9th grade in a computer class I took which led me to buy a C-64 and the rest is history.

    RIP RatShack.
     
  12. prime2515102

    prime2515102 [H]ard|Gawd

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    The last thing I attempted to buy from Radio Shack was a really crappy Samsung cell phone (I forgot what model, was when the Palm pre or pixi first came out) and when I took it back the rotten bitch that sold it to me threw a fit like a 6 year-old because she lost her commission. I went back once a couple years ago to pick up a fuse for my guitar amp and haven't been back since (I was in a pinch, otherwise I wouldn't have gone back at all).

    As with any place whose salespeople work on commission, it was a very uncomfortable place to be anyway.
     
  13. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Not really, it's more like the internet happened. Radioshack charged a VERY healthy profit margin on those parts. It soon became that there was no reason to even go in there unless you needed to fix something TODAY. Otherwise, you could just order the part online for 1/3rd the cost including shipping. So people are still doing things, they're just not getting charged out the ass for it.
     
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  14. Ryokurin

    Ryokurin [H]ardForum Junkie

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    They just gave up on the DIY crowd. Even when in the late 90s they started Tech America to try to keep those people when they first started to phase parts out they only kept the chain open for around a year. From the 2000s on they went after every fad usually too late to be a major player (even going back to DIY and Makers towards the end) and ultimately failed at each one. It got hard to tell what you could expect to be in the store for a minute.
     
  15. dook43

    dook43 2[H]4U

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    Far harder to perform soldering work on SMT components. Few PCBs these days can be worked on by the average hobbyist.
     
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  16. sir-gold

    sir-gold Gawd

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    All of the radio shack stores in my area have already been converted to Sprint stores. Probably just threw all the leftovers in a dumpster instead of selling them.
     
  17. sir-gold

    sir-gold Gawd

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    Luckily the parts that tend to break the most, like power connectors and switches, usually aren't surface mounted
     
  18. tunatime

    tunatime 2[H]4U

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    Radio shack got me out of a bind a few times when i needed when i needed to make an odd cable or component level parts, but i hated going there as a $5 part was $25. Much easier to order online and get it later if it wasn't time critical.
     
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  19. maxius

    maxius 2[H]4U

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    historic archives should be donated to the local museum for proper preservation
     
  20. Tiberian

    Tiberian DILLIGAFuck

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    A sad event, really it is, I grew up visiting a local RadioShack at least a few times a week in the early 1970s back when they were really tiny little places, literally where the joke name "rat shack" came from because they were so dingy and stuffed to the bare walls with everything they could possibly pack into 'em. One of the earliest memories was going with my Dad - an electrical engineer by career - and he would talk with the guys running the store, all of them basically much older and vastly more experienced men who were part of the generation that brought modern electronics into being in the first place. They'd chat about all sorts of stuff and I'd just poke around and play with anything and everything my grubby little kid fingers could touch in the visits.

    And yes, I wouldn't leave without my free battery. ;)

    "RadioShack is dead... long live RadioShack..."
     
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  21. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I thought they already went out of business years ago. But to me the name is only synonymous with pro cycling as that's the only place where I heard it.
     
  22. Ehren8879

    Ehren8879 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Dear RadioShack,

    Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.
     
  23. Burticus

    Burticus [H]ardness Supreme

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    Cannot believe they made it this long.

    As a kid, radio shack was like a toy store to me for electronics. My senior year in HS (90) I went to work for them and they had turned into a literal toy store. Worked at 3 different RS stores in 3 years. Corporate level mgmt was Fking clueless. Commodore level dumbfuckery. All they cared about were sales of big tkt times, and let the parts biz (which had great margins) fall through the cracks. Good luck trying to sell a computer system $2k a week in crappy run down strip mall stores. I made like $6 an hour and had to wear shirt and tie in dustbin shithole stores with barely functional AC. Only guys lucky enough to work in mall stores made any money, and you had to pay your dues at shitty stores for years to get that chance. I never did. Quit after 3 years. I was a mgr trainee, SO happy I didn't wind up being a store manager in one of those shitholes. The managers were all suicidal alcoholics and hated their jobs.

    When I left I said they'd be dead and gone in 5 years. Can't believe it took this long. Good times (not really).

    Oh and don't get me started on the copious unpaid overtime doing store inventories. I Fking hated that. Counting fuses and resistors for free on Sat and Sun nights.

    Fuck em.
     
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  24. mynamehere

    mynamehere [H]ard|Gawd

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    They were always the go to "need an electronic part in a pinch", or "need an oddball cable/connector" store. Expensive, but for those things, they were the only game in town for decades. Too bad they lost their way.
     
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  25. rezerekted

    rezerekted 2[H]4U

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    They closed down in Canada some years ago but they were replaced by another store called The Source which sells similar stuff to Radioshack.
     
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  26. Wrecked Em

    Wrecked Em [H]ardness Supreme

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    Apparently their primary customer was the Ringling Brothers.
     
  27. Lunas

    Lunas [H]ardForum Junkie

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    why it is for the most part trash that is useless to anyone. with few notable exceptions.

    Also i thought this happened a long time ago i still have a large box of shit from when mine closed down.

    I also still have my name tag and shirts and a signed picture of Jay Leno from when i worked there...

    I was under the impression most were turned into sprint stores...
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
  28. viscountalpha

    viscountalpha 2[H]4U

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  29. Agreed. Back in the day, most projects were simple, or you needed a switch or cap etc to repair something, hop on over to RS and get it....Then very complex projects became cheap and the norm, chances of them having what you needed started going down, big time because at the same time this was happening they were SHRINKING their parts area and phones were taking over the whole store. They started hiring people who could sell a contract better than they could identify simple parts to see if they had it. To add to this even more, online happened, with selections of WHATEVER you could need/want, and the exact one at that, and in many cases far cheaper.

    Then I moved to an area with a two Frys close, who has a massive parts area compared to even the old RS, for things I need NOW.
     
  30. Lunas

    Lunas [H]ardForum Junkie

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    well they did decide that selling cell phones was important enough to threaten their employees with termination if they dont sell or push the phones out the door. In my small city it was rather hard considering across the street was a walmart and 4 cell stores in town with one having a booth right outside the radio shack...
     
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  31. Killahurtz

    Killahurtz Gawd

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    I still have some of their Optimus mini speakers...when they came out they were touted in the hi-fi mags as top of the heap...go figure...still using 4 in the garage and a couple for rooms in the house...got some VOM's around somewhere , analog of course

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  32. DejaWiz

    DejaWiz Oracle of Unfortunate Truths

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    When I was attending college for EE classes, I pretty much lived out of the local Radio Shack...constantly buying electrical components to tinker around with circuitry projects.

    Even had a Radio Shack credit card to rack up rewards points on and get enough discounts that it zeroed out the price of a few of my projects and took a nice chunk off the price of a DSP equipped CB Radio I bought back in the mid 90s. I still have the CB and I'm sure it would still work like new...if I had a vehicle that had mounting room for it.

    The reality is, I lost interest in Radio Shack when they changed their business model to pushing cell phones and overpriced knock-off grade RC vehicles.
     
  33. auntjemima

    auntjemima [H]ardness Supreme

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    Same here. Radioshack left and was replaced by The Source about a decade ago (maybe longer? time flies when you're old). Ever since their selection of cell phones has increased and their parts decreased. I started using digikey.com to order electronic parts I needed.
     
  34. NeoNemesis

    NeoNemesis 2[H]4U

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    All the Radio Shacks in Canada were bought by circuit city and renamed The Source

    I walked into one a few months ago to buy an ethernet cable and they wanted $30 for a 6 foot cable. I laughed and immediately walked out.

    I think that part of the problem is that electronics aren't all that easy to repair anymore, and in many cases it's easier and not significantly more expensive to discard them than to repair.
     
  35. Krenum

    Krenum [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Dang, end of an era. I still use a Radio Shack digital alarm clock I got for Christmas 20 years ago, Probably use it until it dies.
     
  36. dgacioch

    dgacioch [H]Lite

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    At the end, it was sad watching them turn into nothing more than a cell phone store. I'm going to miss them for the occasional odd format battery or cable. They were easier to get those kinds of things from rather than fighting the crowds at Walmart.
     
  37. YARDofSTUF

    YARDofSTUF [H]ard|Gawd

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    Radio Shack hasn't been anything but a place to get cell phones and expensive battery packs for house phones for years, and now they make house phones with AAA batteries.
     
  38. TechLarry

    TechLarry Can't find the G Spot

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    Where oh where will I get my cheap chinese made radio controlled cars and monster trucks to give away as christmas gifts?

    RS died when it transformed form a hobbyist store into a junk toy store. The CEO that did this should be hung by the nuts from a Realistic Weather Radio Vane.

    Another was Heathkit, though I doubt Heathkit would have survived in this "Do it for me" civilization we live in today anyway.
     
  39. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Agreed.

    I worked for them while I was in college. Sold stereos, parts, cordless phones, non-standard batteries, and toys at Christmas. Even sold a TRS-80 Model 3 one time.

    I still remember the yearly free flashlight special (with a coupon from the ad), and the battery club card that gave you a free battery every month.:D
     
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  40. pek

    pek prairie dog

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    I remember the 60's when it was a big day when the Radio Shack and Allied catalogs came in the mail. I'd pore over them for days, but end up buying parts at a local distributor down the street (I could ride my bike there). Then Tandy (a leather retailer?) bought Radio Shack, then Allied, and it seemed to start the downhill slide after that.