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Old February 20th, 2006, 05:47 PM   #1
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Tough times at Radio Shack

As part of a turnaround plan, last week Radio Shack announced they were closing between 400 and 700 company owned stores as well as two distribution centers: http://www.radioshackcorporation.com/ir/index.html

Quote:
RadioShack will concentrate its efforts and investment on improving top-performing stores in order to deliver a great customer experience. To do so, it will close 400 - 700 company-operated stores.
___________

In addition, RadioShack intends to close its distribution centers in Charleston, SC and in Southhaven, MS.
...But if that wasn't bad enough, today their CEO David Edmondson resigned over an issue related to the truthfulness of his resume: http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/060220/radioshack_ceo.html?.v=8

Quote:
Leonard Roberts, RadioShack's chairman and Edmondson's predecessor as CEO, said the move was necessary to restore the company's credibility.

"One of the most important things we have as a corporation is integrity and trust and we know we have to restore that back to the public," he said.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 07:14 PM   #2
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I'm old enough to remember WHY it was originally called "RADIO SHACK". (Where is my old Heathkit?)

I think they've been hit by the big box stores the way the small "Ace" hardware stores have been hit by the Home Depot. The only reason I go to Radio Shack now, is because there's one a little closer to me than Fry's. But they seldom have as big a selection, or as low a price as Fry's or Circuit City. They will on occasion, still have the odd piece of technical hardware... but Fry's pretty much carries all of that too.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 07:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
I'm old enough to remember WHY it was originally called "RADIO SHACK".
Quote:
The First RadioShack Store
Two years later and half a continent away, two brothers, Theodore and Milton Deutschmann, opened a one-store retail and mail-order operation in the heart of downtown Boston. They chose the name, "RadioShack," which was a term for the small, wooden structure that housed a ship's radio equipment. The Deutschmanns thought the name was appropriate for a store that would supply the needs of radio officers aboard ships, as well as "ham" radio operators.

Beginning in 1921, RadioShack would grow to a handful of stores clustered in the Northeast, and become a leading electronics mail-order distributor to hobbyists. This is how it would remain until the company and a young Texan named Charles Tandy crossed paths four decades later.
More company history here: http://www.radioshackcorporation.com/about/history.html

My Dad was an engineer and loved to build electronic stuff.... we also had Heathkits and all kinds of other strange stuff around the house. I remember Saturday morning trips to Radio Shack in downtown St. Louis as a kid in the 1950's and 60's. But by the 1970's they were already getting a reputation for selling cheap stuff that didn't hold up so well, and unfortunately it seems like its been a long slow slide downhill since then.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 08:16 PM   #4
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But they are still the quickest local shop for discreet components and IC's. You can't buy 1/4 watt 100k resistors at Best Buy or Circuit City. And I remember Heathkit, but only after it was already a separate place. Anyone remember that the parent company of Radio Shack is Tandy Corporation. I remember buying Tandy leather crafts like watch bands and moccasins back in the 60's. One and the same company IIRC.

-gb-

p.s. With Tandy being here in Ft. Worth, it's getting a lot of local press coverage.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 08:43 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Greg Boston
I remember buying Tandy leather crafts like watch bands and moccasins back in the 60's. One and the same company IIRC.
Yep - read the history in the link I posted above. Also, if you read their press release I linked to (go to the site and select "RadioShack Corporation Announces 2005 Fourth Quarter, Fiscal Year Financial Result"), it implies that you might not see those kinds of components in their stores in the future.

Quote:
The company will replace old, slower-moving merchandise with new, faster- moving merchandise within higher growth categories. RadioShack will concentrate its efforts and investment on improving top-performing stores in order to deliver a great customer experience.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 09:31 PM   #6
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I've been noticing that it's getting harder to get little video/audio odds and ends at the local Radio Shacks, they seem to be more interested in selling cel phones and electronics these days. I remember the turning point about 10 years ago when I went to pick the brains of the guy at the local R.S. about a circuit I was building, and his normally helpful demeanor wasn't in effect that day. Finally I asked him what was wrong, and he replied that because of a lawsuit where some jackass built something wrong on the advice of a RS employee, the corporate office was discouraging the dispensing of how-to tips. Now, forget it--I'm lucky if I can use terms like "BNC to RCA adaptor" around most of the gum-chewers that are behind the counters today.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 10:20 PM   #7
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The reason for Radio Shack's decline is quite clear to me: They killed their printed catalog, an institution in its own right and tried to replace it with an awkward, incomplete and often useless online version.

This was accompanied by their expansion of stock in more expensive, turnkey equipment. By abandoning the printed catalog and de-emphasizing many of the parts found in it, they lost the cornerstone of their business. They are no longer so useful to the many tinkerers who formed their customer base.

Hopefully, their new CEO will want to keep the best of the old, while expanding into new areas of merchandise. They'll have to start using larger stores, about twice the current size (still pretty small), so they can have good selections of all these things. If they dump their role as a parts supplier and try to outdo the large retailers selling big-box items, they'll probably lose. The big players offer very little in parts and tools for electronic projects. If Radio Shack gives people the nuts and bolts as well as enough of the bigger items, but yet keeps stores small enough to be independently owned, they might survive.

They were always different than everyone else and flourished. Trying to be like the other chains by losing their traditional business doesn't seem like a wise strategy.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 11:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
Now, forget it--I'm lucky if I can use terms like "BNC to RCA adaptor" around most of the gum-chewers that are behind the counters today.
Oh so true. These things seem to be run by 16 & 17 year old kids that are mostly worried about one thing, quittin' time!


Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald
The reason for Radio Shack's decline is quite clear to me: They killed their printed catalog, an institution in its own right and tried to replace it with an awkward, incomplete and often useless online version.
Yep, that online thing for Radio Shed is a trainwreck! You would think that online catalogues would have been a huge cost saver for alot of businesses who had to pay 10s of thousand over the decades for printing those catalogs. But I have been surprised to hear sales people say, oh, it's not on our site yet or they don't include that on our site. What!? Having the ability to post video, hi res images and text on a web page that can be seen 24/7 anywhere in the world for no additional cost is the best reason that could be thought of to have every single product you sell on your site! Why would anything be excluded? I just don't get it!!

However, here is the possible answer, if everything is available on-line, then why would you want to make a trip to the store unless you need it right then? I guess there is a real concern with hurting in-store purchases. Do Radio Shed employees still get commissions for in-store purchases?
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Old February 21st, 2006, 01:47 AM   #9
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I think it was 10 years ago I was on a shoot out of state, can't remember what state it was, but the Radio Shack there had a clearance center in the back of the store. There were all the this stuff from the 70's and 80's , just sitting there in a big back area of the store. Anybody know of this store?
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Old February 21st, 2006, 10:57 AM   #10
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What is a Heathkit?
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Old February 21st, 2006, 11:10 AM   #11
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In my area, we have an old Pop's type place, called Tedco Electronics. They have specialized in Ham radios, CGs, DIY electronics stuff for like 30 years. This is the first place I call or visit. If he doesn't have it, you don't need it. He even knows about the stuff he sells, and how to fix it. I usually can't find anyone with a clue at Radio Shack, but they still blow Wal Mart away... when it comes to electronic parts.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 11:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Boston
Anyone remember that the parent company of Radio Shack is Tandy Corporation. I remember buying Tandy leather crafts like watch bands and moccasins back in the 60's. One and the same company IIRC.
My first real computer was a Tandy. No wonder the dog kept wanting to chew it.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 12:57 PM   #13
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Heathkit was a manufacturer of Ham Radio Kits (and other electronic 'do it yourself' projects)

To put it in perspective. "Computer Nerds" existed before computers. They just built ham radios, antennae, and test equipment 'back in the day'.

Radio Shack used to carry these kits, and others. And as many of the guys here mentioned, it was the go-to place for getting the various parts... circuit boards, resistors, GERMANIUM DIODES,VACUUM TUBES, transistors, knobs, cases, wire,et.

Hell, I bet if you looked hard enough, you could even find a FLUX CAPACITOR. ;)

For people who need the odd part that might fall between the "consumer electronic" need and the "Order it from the manufacturer" professional need... it is becoming harder and harder to find bits and pieces.

Recently, I was looking for a particular connection - A female XLR to Male RCA cable. You know, to run from a sound board into the 'line in' on the XL2. I first went to Radio Shack... no luck... went to CompUsa...no luck.... went to FRY's and found lots of work arounds and step downs (some of which I bought anyway cause they are great to have on hand.) But finally wound up going to GUITAR CENTER to find what I wanted. Long, long ago, Radio Shack would have had just about any kind of connector/cable you could want.

Flashback for the old guys on the board - I still remember my Dad driving down to the 7-11 convenience store, to TEST A VACUUM TUBE from the TV set to see if it needed replacing! Does anyone else remember the do-it-yourself tube testers that were in stores???

(When you think about, the merger of Radio Shack and Tandy Corp was a good idea. They both sold "hobby kits" - electronic on the one hand, and leather crafting on the other)
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Old February 21st, 2006, 01:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper
My first real computer was a Tandy. No wonder the dog kept wanting to chew it.
No Dylan, I'm guessing it's the liquid diet you were sharing with the dog which caused that sort of behavior. ;-)

-gb-
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Old February 21st, 2006, 04:41 PM   #15
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Radio Shack
You've got questions and money. We've got cell phones and aliens.


The discrete components were the best part of rat shack for me. Now they up the prices and don't restock them.
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