General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Is this the beginning of the end for Radio Shack?

Asked by elbanditoroso (15928 points ) February 4th, 2014

I used to go to Radio Shack all the time – in the pre-computer days. I spent a lot of money there. But they appear to be history. I haven’t set foot in one for 4 years – they have nothing I need.

Today they announced the closing of 500 of their stores – roughly 1/9 of what remained after the last cycle of closings.

Will they be able to survive? In a big box market, is Radio Shack irrelevant? Is this the end?

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22 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

The Radio Shack name died awhile back here in Canada they are called (the source)now.

Cruiser's avatar

This is quite often restructuring you see when a company is attempting to improve their bottom line before being bought out.

glacial's avatar

A lot of former Radio Shack stores in Canada were changed to The Source, but the brand name lives on in some cities.

I hope they don’t go completely under. Where else can we turn our shit into solid gold?

LuckyGuy's avatar

Sad. Back in the day that’s where I went to buy electrical components for projects. Now I get them online from Digikey.

I know the owner of a company that made electrical connectors for them. Radio Shack, Tandy, kept squeezing and pushing the price down until it got so low my friend could not even buy the raw material for what Tandy wanted to pay for the entire assembly. Tandy sent the business to china where it was stolen immediately and sold online at a lower price than Tandy could offer. They screwed themselves and, sadly, learned nothing in the process.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

They ignored their own market and just became a cell phone retailer. I was just old enough to remember when i could get mostly what i needed but i always had to order or scavange less common components.The whole diy and “maker” trend is gaining momentum with cheap and easy dev kits like the arduino and raspberry pi. If they start to cater nerds again then they have a chance. Otherwise it’s curtains.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I would be sad if our Radio Shack closed down. Small town, every one knows Ron, the owner. He’s had his business for 30 years. Don’t know what he’d do.

XOIIO's avatar

Radio shack was great in Canada, but then it turned into the source and started to suck ass, all consumer electronics and barely any parts, now I have to drive halfway across town if I need a connector, it’s a freaking waste.

Visited a radio shack when I went to the states a year or two ago, it was amazing, I got some toggle switches with the safety covers, breadboards at a steal of a price, man I miss that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ahhh Radio Shack. Wasn’t it called something else before it was called Radio Shack?

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Dutchess_III – for a while it was Tandy Radio Shack, and you could get leather goods as well, because Tandy was into leather and hobbyist supplies.

For a short while it was Allied Radio Shack, when they bought Allied Radio Electronics (and then sold them a couple years later)

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me They can’t compete if they are just resellers of Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and PSOCs. If they were to staff each store with someone familiar with the devices they would have chance. Imagine they held an Arduino class once a month or hosted meet-ups where people could try out and get help with their projects. That would be a value add and might draw in customers. They would need to hire educated staff and pay a slightly higher than minimum wage. We know the business model they are using now does not work. How about giving a new business model a chance.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Tandy…that’s right.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

They’re in similar shape to the book stores, can’t compete on price and delivery. They’d have to compete on service and knowledge. And they only have slightly better service then Walmart. They’ll have to change or die.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@LuckyGuy the meetup thing would be good for them. i’m thinking more along the lines of them selling components again and other stuff to support those devices. They could also expand and sell stuff like you would see on think geek.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me They could even charge a nominal fee for the classes. $15 for a 1 to 2 hour intro to Arduino. $50 and you get a dev. board to take home. A good, talented employee would be able to handle questions like:
“Hey Mr Radio Shack geek, I have a project that I want to do xyz every time abc happens. I’d like it to be solar powered and withstand the weather. Which processor should I get: arduino, psoc 4, 5 or Rasp Pi?” If you buy the processor there you can use Radio Shack’s up-contented compiler.
That might just be a business model that can work.

I would go there and take classes as a spy to see which guys (Sorry, I am not being sexist here but I have never, ever, seen a double X chromosome holder at a Maker Space project center.) are capable, competent and employable.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@LuckyGuy It would be a great way to teach real skills to kids and get them interested in hands-on technology. They would have to pay better to get real employees who know this stuff. I’m guessing they would almost have to be college students because those skills are in high demand and most would never dream on settling for minimum wage.

cheebdragon's avatar

I hate RadioShack, they always give me the wrong items.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@cheebdragon They need to hire and pay for a better class of employees. This could be their chance.

@ARE_you_kidding_me That would be great way to introduce kids and adults to technology. It could be inspirational. But that would require someone at the top to do what is right for the future of the company: pay more for employees. Unfortunately I found this.
Here is what they offered to the latest CEO. (the 4th one in 3 years).
“The restricted stock will generally vest on each of the first three anniversaries of the grant date, in increments of one-third of the number of shares granted, provided Mr. Magnacca is employed by the Company on such vesting date. The stock options will generally vest as follows: (a) 375,000 will vest on the second anniversary of the grant date, (b) 375,000 will vest on the third anniversary of the grant date, and© 1,750,000 will vest if the Company’s per share stock price closes at or above $5.00 for 20 consecutive trading days at any time prior to the expiration of the stock options. The stock options expire seven years after the grant date. Vesting of the stock options is dependent on Mr. Magnacca being employed by the Company on the vesting date.”

So all the CEO has to do is make Radio Shack stock (RSH) pop up to $5 for 20 consecutive days and he can cash out. The best way to do that is to close stores and lay off a boatload of employees. The stock almost always pop up in the short run.
Hmmm… maybe I’ll make a Call Option play at a strike price below $5.00. That would piss him off.

Seek's avatar

Last time I went there I was looking for a CD player for my son’s bedroom and some burnable CD-Rs, and rechargeable AA batteries.

Only left with the CD-Rs.

How do they not have rechargeable AA batteries? How do they not have radios? It’s in the name!

Also, this was around Christmas two years ago.

I agree with the above poster about how it’s nothing but cell phones now.

Silence04's avatar

I think if they reposition themselves they could do quite well. The 3rd party section of the apple store, and the non-computer tech section at bestbuy shouldn’t be the only reliable places for gadgets.

Rarebear's avatar

I go to Radio Shack not infrequently for odds and ends, usually parts and plugs, and mostly because it’s right by my work. But there’s nothing at Radio Shack that you can’t buy online for cheaper.

And I’ll just add that the first computer I played with was a TRS-80.

LostInParadise's avatar

I am never able to find what I want at Radio Shack.

I really like the idea of having classes for hobbyists. I wish Radio Shack or someone else would do that. This has to be a good opportunity to for someone to make some easy money. They could charge for both the instruction and the supplies. I work as a programmer but I am totally intimidated by the hardware. I looked at the instruction manual for a Raspberry Pi and just froze. I suppose I could find some nerdy ten year old to show me what to do, but I would much prefer taking a class.

JLeslie's avatar

The first time I bought something in Radio Shack I think I was in my 30’s. About 10 years ago. It never was a very relevant store for me. It’s a shame, because in theory you would think a specialty store like that should be a good place to go for advice with electronics. Like the hometown hardware store where the guy working there knows everything, and just can’t be compared to Home Depot for certain things. I’m guessing Radio Shack probably had several items I would want to purchase, they just never really marketed their brand to me I guess? When I was very young the name threw me. The Radio part left me thinking very narrowly about the product selection in the store. I never really understood what they carried. I don’t like electronics stores in general though. I’m not a big shopper in general, but I would much rather go to Home Depot than Best Buy.

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