Our local RadioShack has survived several rounds of store closures as the chain has moved in and out of bankruptcy court. Time has finally run out for the store and it is liquidating the stock and will close by the end of the month.
I have commented on my view on RadioShack before. As an electronic hobbyist I have mixed feelings about RadioShack. In my younger years it was a decent place to buy electronic components. Some of the early computers I learned on were RadioShack products like the TRS-80 and Tandy 1000. I even worked as a RadioShack sales clerk one summer during high school.
Like most electronic hobbyists, I have an odd relationship with Radio Shack. In our youth it was the one local place you could buy basic components… Resistors, connectors, wire and other parts could be found there, without waiting a week for an order from a mail order catalog. The selection was always pretty sparse, the quality was hit or miss, and the prices were too high. But, if you needed something quickly it was the place.
I even worked in a store for a summer in high school, learning what it was like on the other side of the counter. An experience that left me wondering why anyone would want to work in retail sales.
Then for many years, through the 90’s and the early part of the 00’s Radio Shack neglected the hobbyist business, concentrating on cell phones and accessories. Recently they have returned to their roots, restoring the kits and components section of the store. This time with Arduinos and other more modern technology. It was a move that many in the electronics community greeted with some enthusiasm.
Still, in recent visits looking for a last minute component I have found the selection just too minimal to be truly useful.
Word that Radio Shack is filing for bankruptcy and closing 1,750 stores is no surprise. According to news report the corporation claims $1.2 billion in assets and $1.4 billion in liabilities.
Apparently our local store in Waimea is not slated for closure in this first round. The future of any particular store is far from certain. Sprint has agreed to purchase many of the closed stores, but details are far from complete. Certainly many of the stores occupy desirable locations and are ripe for acquisition.
What emerges from bankruptcy will be interesting to see. But my guess is that the Radio Shack that has long been a fixture in our lives is gone.