Radio Shack

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Metalmann, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Metalmann

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Dec 8, 2012
    Last week, I heard that RS is shutting down 1100 stores soon.

    Seen any "going out of business" signs lately?

    Or, they may not post any notices, just quietly fade away.:confused:
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    about time.. I'm surprised they made it this long..
    sell your shares now before its too late..
  3. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
  4. vpoko

    Active Member

    Jan 5, 2012
  5. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
    if they went back to their buisness of selling componants, instead of cell phones, maybe they could make money again. everyone is selling cell phones. just like when they went to selling pc clones, after everyone else did too.they did away with their manufacturing and now just sell rebadged whatever everyone else is selling.
  6. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    I don't think just components is going to cut it. The way I see it, they're trying to be the best of both worlds (consumer electronics and hobbyist electronics) and failing at both. They need to pick one and stick with it. As you say, the consumer electronics game already has enough players. They need to go full hobbyist electronics, and not just a vidmar cabinet full of overpriced generic transistors. They need to stock things that cater to today's electronic hobbyist. They need to take a page from SparkFun's book. If I had a SparkFun storefront down the road from me, oooh man, I would be in heaven. And they need not stop with just the electronics; the new thing I see is the "Maker" movement which isn't limited to electronics. They could sell desktop milling machines, laser woodcutters, 3D printers, small machine tools, hand tools, etc. They could hold workshops and educate locals to generate more business; "Thursday: How to Make a PCB with UV exposure" "Monday: How to Turn a Taper on a Lathe" "Wednesday: How to Cast 2 Part Resin" "Friday: How to Turn Your Own Torroidal Transformers"

    The above is a business model I think about often. If I had the money, I might open such a store myself, and call it something like "Strantor Mad Scientist Supply."
    djsfantasi likes this.
  7. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
    then they would have to hire people that knew about what they sell. the days of asking questions in a radio shack are long gone.
    BMorse likes this.
  8. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    I'd like to have one of those just down the road! Combine it with open-source software solutions, and you'd have a nerd magnet. Moths to a flame.

    But sadly I don't know hardly anyone else that would visit such a store. People these days want to sit on the couch and be entertained, not actually create things. Selling phones helped prolong the death of RS, but folks mostly buy in other places now and there's not much left for RS to do.
  9. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
    My son and I used to go to RS for our components, accepting convenience over price. Recently, I began using mail order (DigiKey) with local suppliers, but the shipping price is daunting, particularly for my son.

    Fortunately in the metro Boston area, we have a store "D.I.Y. Electronics" where we can get almost everything. So we'll nostalgically miss RS, but not practically.

    Maybe it's a regional thing, with the concentration of colleges and tech companies, the region can support such a store.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  10. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
    The business model works in limited places. Silicon Valley was a good place for DIY electronics stores, but I haven't seen many more places that are. Our only good electronics surplus store closed years ago, leaving only Radio Shack if we need a part ASAP. I recently bought a 24v transformer, because I didn't want to order one and wait. But, even as an active hobbyist, I don't visit RS very often.

    Too much competition from internet based biz. B&M tech hobby stores don't stand a chance anymore.
  11. MaxHeadRoom


    Jul 18, 2013
    R.S. used to be in Canada, then they renamed it The Source, but operation in hi traffic areas such as malls the components cost way to much unless in a dire emergency.
    I am fortunate to have a couple of local component level stores such as Future Electronics.
    But I still find for cost and convenience, you can't beat DigiKey, they ship my order overnight for $8.00, no duties or brokerage.
    It is not worth me driving across town to save a few ¢
  12. Veracohr

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 3, 2011
    Definitely not much of a resource for components, but I don't know any other place in my area to get soldering supplies. Then again, I suppose I haven't looked that hard.
  13. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    Thanks for the Onion article vpoko. I remember that when it was new news.

    I go to Radio Shack about once a month, as I have one around the corner from work, one near my house I can pass coming home form work, or one either way on the east-west main road where I live. That's four stores, and I know of even more I can conveniently go to when I drive different ways.

    I can't remember spending over 10 bucks there since I bought a cheapie emergency soldering iron, typically I don't hit 5 bucks.

    I wonder every time I am there how they stay open.
  14. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
    we are fortunate enough to have an associates store in Derby Ks. he sells ham radio stuff, new and used too. but no real parts stores closer than Kansas City.
  15. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    We have a few stores here in Houston that are borderline of what I'm talking about. EPO and ACE electronics are true electronics stores and Altex is a true computer store that has a lot of electronics too. These stores have stood the test of time and flourish even in today's market, so I know it can be done. These stores are boring, even depressing to enter. In EPO and ACE, Nothing has been updated since the 80's. The displays are dull aged off-white/yellowed and half the things on the shelves are used and of the same vintage. You can find anything you need (or at least something to get you by) at those two stores, but you will have to dig through a bunch of disorganized bins of hodgepodge to find it, and you won't be shopping in the bright and refreshing atmosphere that the sparkfun website offers. They are old, boring stores; owned and operated by old, boring people.

    If they updated their storefronts presentation and invested some money into advertising to the Maker community, I think they could pulled out of stasis. They need a line following robot patrolling the aisles of the store advertising specials. They need to have a 3D printer printing something at all times, inside an acrylic display case illuminated by green neon. They need to have dwarves assembling circuit boards inside old gutted Xerox machines. Ok, maybe that last one is overkill, but you know what I mean.

    They need to offer services; short run PCB manufacture, short run rapid prototyping, troubleshooting, etc. Basically a hackerspace/makerspace infused with an electronics store, with up-to-date feel and advertised around the colleges of the area and online, everywhere. Advertising is very important.
    rc3po likes this.
  16. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    There is a D.I.Y. electronics supply store as big as a warehouse in my area that has everything.
    It even sells science kits, RC models, quadcopters and even Raspberry Pi and Arduino.
    They must be doing good business because they keep expanding.
  17. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    There's one I saw while on foot in Toronto. I didn't go inside, but I saw advertisements all over the outside for Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, etc. It was a smallish place like most businesses crammed into that city, but probably had a lot of stuff.

    Quadcopters makes me think... that's another thing that would bring business into 21st century electronics/maker store. RC cars, boats, drones, etc. Nerds love that kind of stuff.
  18. tindel

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2012

    My parents live about 5 miles from there... I love that place... one of the biggest electronics places I've seen. There's always something there to get the creative juices flowing at a reasonable price point. My dad and I will usually go there when I'm in town and spend about 3 hours or so just looking around. They get a lot of Johnson Space Center's surplus too, which makes for interesting gadgets to discover.

    IDK... I really like the place... sure, it's an older place, and you do have to do some digging, but that's part of the fun for me. It feels like home... how much digging around in parts bins do we all do at home?

    I do agree some of your suggestions would bring a bit more modernization to the hobby - and that wouldn't be a bad thing, but at the same time EPO feels like my basement and I enjoy the atmosphere.
  19. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    They have a defective business model. In the old days, they sold factory seconds on parts and crappy speakers and amps by passing themselves off as "electronics experts" to the gullible. The stuff they did sell was overpriced by about 300% and places like Fry's have killed off that market.
  20. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
    Yeah, Houston is a HUGE market with millions of potential patrons, which makes it one of the few places I alluded to. Huntsville (Alabama) even with the high-tech corridor can't support a single decent store. I've looked as far away as Atlanta metro region with no good results. Oddly, Orlando, Fl had this place, which was a fun place to go.