Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Shack That Lost Its Way


Once upon a time, there was a store called Radio Shack.  They had been in business for something like 90 years.

You could buy so many things there.  One nice thing about Radio Shack was that it was a chain, but they had local neighborhood stores.  You could find one close to your house, and get supplies you needed for hobbies and more.  My father was an electronics hobbyist when he was young.  My son, who never knew his grandfather, followed in granddad's footsteps.  Radio Shack sold educational kits, amateur radio supplies, solder, transistors, and more.

My son played with a primitive educational device I bought there.  He played with their RC cars.  He built a crystal radio from one of their kits.

Their commercials are part of our living history.  Have a listen.

Cell phones, 1985 - only $1,399. ($3,078 in 2015 dollars).

The cell phone, circa 1990.  Things had gotten a little better, it would seem.  
Home computers from the 1980's.

So many historic commercials and catalogs to learn from.

I used to be one of their customers, many years ago.  But, somewhere along the line, they lost their way. They stopped doing what they did well, and became indifferent to their customers.

I haven't been in one of their stores for years, except to buy specialty batteries.

Earlier this month, Radio Shack declared bankruptcy.


Several days later, most of our local stores were closed.

Another "icon" of my childhood, lost forever.  Except, it's been gone for years.

This just made it official.

9 comments:

  1. Well, the only constant thing in life is change! Perhaps something new will become iconic.

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    1. I'm sure there will be small businesses today that will become the iconic businesses of tomorow. It will be fascinating to see what they are.

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  2. It's sad to see these formerly popular businesses, as you say, losing their way, losing their focus, unable to evolve with the times, and failing to do what they had done so well in the past. It's a recipe for failure and we see it repeated several times a year.

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    1. I agree, and I fear we will see other once-proud businesses failing in the near future.

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  3. Like other businesses, I don't think Radio Shack was prepared for the onslaught of competition in places like Best Buy, Target, Circuit City (when it existed) and Walmart... some of which you get more than just the electronics but everything else you might need in the same stop. Blockbuster is another example of one of the businesses of our youth that just couldn't keep up with the more modern concepts of newer businesses... Netflix and now also Redbox. It's a shame to see these icons from our childhood die away. Such is life, I suppose... :( Thank you for the reminder of the way things were!

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  4. Tandy! They even had separate stores for Tandy Computers. Around here the Radio Shacks have all combined with other businesses. One is Radio Shack/Video and Tan and another one is combined with a music store. But Emily is right. A small electronics store cannot compete with a super store.

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  5. I still carry my Border's card in my wallet. sigh...

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  6. Radio Shack has been around for so long ,I can't believe it's shut down.

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