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  #81 (permalink)  
Old 02-12-2014, 10:00 PM
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"How could it be so close to death when they are still expanding venues for maker fairs, and the existing venues continue to report increasing audience size?"

Got anything to back that statement with? Any unbiassed/neutral independent sources?

"You're one of the most pessimistic downers I've ever seen on the Internet. *snip* You seem to hope that it's dying. I seem to hope that you're wrong."

... But all the naive optimism and wishful thinking in the world doesn't crack me up nearly as much as this. People I've never met or even conversed with in the past (that I can remember) who apparently consider themselves qualified judges of me as a person or of my character, based on one comment on a Web discussion board, makes for some pretty damn good comedy in kind of a pathetic way. Resorting to personal attacks, like this, indicates the attacker is unable to form a reasonable or cogent counterargument.

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  #82 (permalink)  
Old 02-14-2014, 11:23 AM
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If radio shack went back to selling ham radios, how many people here would buy one... a Realistic ham radio that costs 20-30% more than a better radio from anywhere else?
That's what I thought.

Nobody.
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  #83 (permalink)  
Old 02-14-2014, 11:42 AM
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That's what I thought.

Nobody.
I agree - it goes back to the concept of what they were which was a build it yourself / project based store. As we have seen with Heathkit and others this generation is not as interested in this. The other challenge is that most consumer electronics has a short shelf life which in their stores they can't compete.

When you consider the online vs brick and mortar sales model even best buy is losing on price. There is no way a small store in a mall could have enough brands and choices to compete.

It's sad to say because I loved Radio Shack - their model of trying to be a phone, tablet, accessories store will be challenging with all of the other competition as well as the online sources.

They had gotten out of the scanner / radio business a long time ago. It was too expensive and difficult to compete with the Bearcat/Uniden's of the world.
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  #84 (permalink)  
Old 02-14-2014, 12:34 PM
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I agree - it goes back to the concept of what they were which was a build it yourself / project based store. As we have seen with Heathkit and others this generation is not as interested in this. The other challenge is that most consumer electronics has a short shelf life which in their stores they can't compete.

When you consider the online vs brick and mortar sales model even best buy is losing on price. There is no way a small store in a mall could have enough brands and choices to compete.

It's sad to say because I loved Radio Shack - their model of trying to be a phone, tablet, accessories store will be challenging with all of the other competition as well as the online sources.

They had gotten out of the scanner / radio business a long time ago. It was too expensive and difficult to compete with the Bearcat/Uniden's of the world.
I wonder if the Skycraft business model could be replicated elsewhere. I used to love that place back when I lived in Orangelando. If radio shack focused on parts and surplus and hobby stuff they might actually have some customers in the store. Then again I don't know if they'd make any money. They'd definitely have to close a few thousand stores and relocate to the less trendy part of town. I have yet to come across anything else like Skycraft anywhere else I have lived. That'd definitely get me back into a radio shack.
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Old 02-14-2014, 2:27 PM
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I wonder if the Skycraft business model could be replicated elsewhere. I used to love that place back when I lived in Orangelando. If radio shack focused on parts and surplus and hobby stuff they might actually have some customers in the store. Then again I don't know if they'd make any money. They'd definitely have to close a few thousand stores and relocate to the less trendy part of town. I have yet to come across anything else like Skycraft anywhere else I have lived. That'd definitely get me back into a radio shack.
I've never been to Skycraft, but just took the virtual tour in Google. They have pictures of the aisles. Impressive. Will have to get there someday.

There was a place in St. Louis called Gateway Electronics that was a smaller version of this. One could pick parts out of bins, get toroid cores, or feed-through capacitors. They ended up moving several years ago and their new place is smaller (but neater). Still there as far as I know. The old store had an electronics dungeon filled with scrapped medical equipment and stuff dating back. I'd suspect a lot of that became landfill during the move. The Electronic Barn was another place I went to as a kid in Bloomfield, NJ. Apparently still there, although I never went back there over the years.

My favorites were Nidisco and Route Electronics. Both in NJ, Nidisco was within walking distance to my high school, and two other stores were a bus ride away into Union City and Jersey City. Route Electronics had a place on Rt. 17 and Rt. 46. At the time, the one on Rt. 46 sold Drake amateur radio equipment.

As much as I can wish for another time, this is still a niche market. None of these places carried SMT components. I had to order those from various distributors or from auction sites, some shipping from overseas. I don't think these places would ever reach the saturation that RS has now, or even Nidisco had at one point when tube electronics was prevalent. I suppose suppliers like Digikey have perfected their areas of the niche and are more efficient at maintaining a variety.

It was only very recently that I got the capability of working on things that didn't have leaded components. I bought an infrared bonder (a big, focused heat lamp with an X-Y axis table) that could heat a board to a given temperature so I could remove and replace a component. Or, I could sneeze and blow every component within the heated area off the board and turn it into a Heathkit. Putting the components in the hole, soldering them, and clipping the leads had more charm and sense of achievement to it.

For what it's worth, I went past my local RS last night. I didn't go in, but it seemed to have a decent amount of traffic. The place has always changed with the times. When I was a kid, they had the hundred-in-one kits. They still had them (in different form) when my kids were smaller and they messed around with the kit. This past Christmas, I bought one of mine an Arduino set from them. Things change. Remember the computer boom just after the TRS-80 and the Color Computer days? It had to morph into something. Hopefully the rumor is only a rumor. Every so often I like to just walk in and look around (albeit unaccosted by sales people).
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  #86 (permalink)  
Old 02-15-2014, 7:30 PM
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Ha! That's cool I didn't know there was a virtual walk-through of the store. It hasn't changed a bit.

So everyone knows what we're talking about, this is the inside of Skycraft Surplus. (Use the arrows to walk through the store)
Imagine if your local radio shack looked like that!

Just perusing the aisles in the virtual walk-through I kid you not, I found a dozen or so things I would buy right now if I was in the store and the price was right. And not a one of them is a cell phone. And I'm not one of these people who goes to a ham fest and leaves with boxes full of junk.

And here's the outside of the store.

I think just about every major city could probably support one of those types of places but I definitely not the broad mainstream appeal that cell phones and cell phone accessories would have.
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Old 02-16-2014, 7:47 PM
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902 - I found the Gateway Electronics in St Louis. They also have a website (Electronically Speaking, Gateway's Got It!). They definitely look better than RS did in the 80's, let alone today.

It's a crying shame what has happened to RS over the past decade. I used to work there in the late 80's-early 90's, used to go there a lot from '82 to 94. I'd have to be hard-pressed to go there now. Prices are outrageous, I would rather wait 3-4 days for parts from places like newegg, mouser and digikey. RS leadership is terrible, just another cellphone store like many members said. I don't think their current advertising is going to do any help.

Corporate better wake up cause the coffee in the pot has already burned dry.......
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  #88 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2014, 8:28 PM
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Default RadioShack Set To Close 500 Stores Nationwide

Do we have a list of which stores they are closing?

I could stop by and check for deals when I find out which ones are closing.
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  #89 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2014, 9:18 PM
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Please read this thread before asking redundant questions. The best way to get any information is to go straight to the source and ask a local store manager/employee instead of relying on total strangers online. I'm sure some stores will close but it would only be to open new ones. As of now it is all speculation that any stores are closing and all this thread is doing is causing more speculation...

I wish the Mod would really just delete the thread!!

Last edited by mikedel83; 02-16-2014 at 10:51 PM..
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Old 02-16-2014, 9:58 PM
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I wish the Mod would really just delete the thread!!
Why? Everything is speculated about here - like when are the new models coming, what will Whistler do, when will the next firmware update be out, whether Motorola will eat everyone else, etc. Why not the future of RS? There's nothing wrong with speculating.

There's plenty of speculation in the financial news about RS - this is the news forum, after all. Not sure why you're dying over this, what happens in RR is going to have no effect on the outcome.
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  #91 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2014, 10:08 PM
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Because if Radioshack were to close altogether at some point, the same people who complain about radioshack being a "cellphone store" and hiring "stupid workers" would be the first ones to cry about why they weren't open.

What my frustration was to begin with was it has been mentioned multiple times in this thread that it isn't definite they are closing and people don't read the thread, they just ask a question that's already been answered, and then his comment about buying up sale items struck me as vultures hovering.

RS has a soft spot in my heart, I've learned a lot when I worked for them, and I take offense when people sit there and comment about their work force. I actually find solutions for people, I can't count how many times I've actually soldered someone's Radioshack scanner antenna jack because it came loose instead of sending to repair and charging them $50 or more. I also remember when the local PD switched over we had a lot of Pro96 and 2096 with first run logic boards that wouldnt work with the PD's p25 system, but I came to RR and learned how to actually tune the 3 potentiometers while the scanner is on and tune it to work and decode them. Sure most people who work there don't know about scanners but it's not like you couldn't learn. After all, I didn't know anything about them when I started but I became an expert after awhile.

Sorry for the rant, it just upsets me that people are so quick to pass judgement on radioshack.

Last edited by mikedel83; 02-16-2014 at 10:16 PM..
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:33 PM
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I don't mean to pick on you - but some of your stated fondness is over your ability to repair what they were selling as new - but defective. I'm glad you were able to fix stuff up for folks, but that doesn't instill brand loyalty in customers, sorry - though it's good customer service. I've done my share of re-soldering antenna leads to scanner boards - thanks, GRE.

I grew up with them - but I can't stand them. They abandoned the hobbyist - why should we have any love for them? I come in to buy components, I get mugged for satellite TV and cellphones.I stopped coming in because they stopped having what I need. I can't go in there out of love for what it once was.

Even though it's still around - barely, I mourn for it like I do for Lafayette and Dick Smith Electronics, to name a couple. It's a bygone era and I suspect we are going to see the demise fairly soon. I don't think there is enough substance to reinvent it. They are trying to create a niche market where it's already been covered by so many others.

Amusing story - sort of sets their future back when: In about 1974 or so, a friend who was a physics major at a pretty major university applied for a summer job at Radio Shack. He was turned down and was told "we are looking for Business Majors". His career has been in radar design. 'Nuff said.
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  #93 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2014, 10:42 PM
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I agree with you about abandoning the hobbyist but it is a dying breed. Most common thing I heard when offering to sell a service plan was "no thanks, I'll just buy another."

It's a throwaway mentality in today's society. We've covered this earlier in this thread. RS has a chance still but as some have recommended about getting back into the scanner and ham stuff, that stuff just doesn't pay the bills, or staff for that matter.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:55 PM
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Seriously, you guys really have to get over the extreme level of self-importance you give yourselves and the relatively tiny sliver of the general population us geeks represent.

The motto "build it, and they will come" seems to be your mantra - like, "if only" RS sold more scanners and ham radios "then" they "would" reclaim the humongous disenfranchised scannist/hamist demographic. I have news for you - there IS no huge scanning/hamist demographic anymore. It's gone. It shrank. And it has been replaced by the smartphone generation.

But you can continue to engage in cognitive dissonance to your heart's content.
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Old 02-16-2014, 11:02 PM
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I could go on and on about what I would fix with them but they already have people who get paid to do that. Getting back on track : I really like their new commercials, if you look on their YouTube page they even have new commercials posted geared toward the growing Spanish speaking clientele they have. They've gotten some bad publicity in the last 10-15 years but they've outlasted alot of others who went out of business ; Circuit city, American Appliance to name two. Any more closed retailers we can name? I guarantee you RS won't be on that list.
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Old 02-17-2014, 4:00 AM
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Granted about the niche communications hobbiests and repair/builders have waned to insignificance regarding customer share. Yet, their core demographic is cell/smartphone and mobile/portable computing. That market is saturated with competitors from office supply to department stores, not to mention online sales. They no longer have a niche market, especially with 4k outlets having to sustain themselves. How many more phones and portable devices can you sell this demographic?

The problem confronting them is the same as what's happening with Sears and JCPenny's. The magical thinking of the corporate class is to stabilize the company. That's the big mistake right now. There's nothing worth stabilizing physical retail. Instead they should concentrate on stopping the hemorraging of cash and hit the reset button. All these companies right now have entrenched factions in a power play looking to hold on to their turf/jobs at the expense of the entire ship going down. There is nothing to stabilze. The paradigmn has changed and it's time to bring in new, younger corporate generation, thinking and ideas. Smartest thing is to shut down most all the stores except perhaps a few very high perfroming locations in each state's major metropolis area. Dump the old guard and bring in an entire new corporate class that's in tune with today's e-commerce and build that part up with new ideas. Sure, that's going to hit a lot of folks and their jobs in the interm. Yet, they have a fiduciary responsiblity to the shareholders to save the company and stock value.

That isn't going to happen. Instead, the old rats are going to go down with the old ship and take everything down with them before that would happen. This is their last chance and like the other Brick and Mortuaries that I mentioned, they would rather destroy it all rather then invoke the Phoenix.

The shack can live with a very limited B&M presences and online e-tail much as it did many years ago when there were few stores per state and a thriving mail order business. The shameful part is, like Sears and Pennys where mail order and catalog centers were part of their historic DNA that should be a natural progression to internet sales instead of catalog sales.

This isn't an opinion all of us that grew up with them would be crazy about, but it would save the company. How many of us had to wait, compile needs lists for a special trip, many miles away to the nearest store or go mail order years ago from Olson, Lafayette, and Allied? There wasn't a store around every block back then and we did just fine waiting 2-3 weeks for an order and a handfull if any stores in state.
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Old 02-17-2014, 5:37 AM
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Do we have a list of which stores they are closing?
No. The original story came from a rumor that the Wall Street Journal published. RadioShack has not confirmed the story.
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  #98 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2014, 5:22 PM
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Ha! That's cool I didn't know there was a virtual walk-through of the store. It hasn't changed a bit.

So everyone knows what we're talking about, this is the inside of Skycraft Surplus. (Use the arrows to walk through the store)
Imagine if your local radio shack looked like that!

Just perusing the aisles in the virtual walk-through I kid you not, I found a dozen or so things I would buy right now if I was in the store and the price was right. And not a one of them is a cell phone. And I'm not one of these people who goes to a ham fest and leaves with boxes full of junk.

And here's the outside of the store.

I think just about every major city could probably support one of those types of places but I definitely not the broad mainstream appeal that cell phones and cell phone accessories would have.
I loaded up the car with my older son and a couple of friends and took a long ride there today. I'm proud to announce I came back with some fantastic odds and ends that I have not been able to find for decades, some items brought a few projects to a standstill. Like, copper flat stock - making new coupling loops for a duplexer. Some pre-made cables that look like they were stripped out of a communications site. Some Andrew lightning arrestors (the price was right). CAT-5/RJ-45 tester (could have gotten that anywhere, but the price was right here). Even some switches for a Boonton Electronics step attenuator that I've had broken for 24 years. And, a reflective belt for my son. My friends were able to get some multiconductor cables and various hardware (nylon screws!). There was nothing "complete" that I was interested in, but rows and rows of bins and parts. It was a bonanza of stuff - even professional 450 - 470 yagis and a MIL-AIR log periodic. You could get an 800 MHz cellphone antenna (that could double as a mobile scanner antenna) for a few dollars.

Okay, even at its best, RS was never like this. I'd put them in a category all their own. Ahead of Gateway. Reminded me of the guy who goes to the hamfest and buys like 4 tables and has only bins of hard to find stuff. Except I haven't seen one of those guys in a long time.
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:34 PM
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I`m kinda wondering if the Radio Shack in this town is one of the ones that`s gonna close, not that i care, but it would be good for a chuckle when i`m riding to Cincinnati to meet my brother and do Dayton this year, might be good for a few laughs on the trains . I used to go there when they acually sold radio stuff (got my first good ham HT there, an HTX-202...best radio i ever had at the time ), and for a while i got batteries there, but now i don`t go there anymore, for one, it`s not accessible to me (no city bus out to where it`s at), and i can get batteries at Sears, which is closer and the staff aren`t rude like the ones at cellphone/sat TV shack...i mean...Radio Shack . So if it were to close i`d not care in the least. N9NRA

Last edited by N9NRA; 02-17-2014 at 10:35 PM.. Reason: inserted a missing word :).
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Old 03-04-2014, 8:24 AM
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Default RadioShack to close up to 1100 stores

RadioShack just announced that it will close up to 1100 stores, more than the 500 stores previously expected. It had a 2013 loss of nearly $400 million, compared to a 2012 loss of $135 million.

RadioShack Corporation - Investor Relations - News Release

I haven't seen a list of store closures. If someone finds a list, please post ...
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