It’s the end of an era. RadioShack, the consumer electronics chain founded in 1921 and once a knowledgeable resource for home electronics, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in late February, will sell 1,500 – 2,400 of its stores to an investment firm called Standard General, and will close its remaining 4,000 stores in the U. S.
Formerly known as the Tandy Corporation, RadioShack introduced one of the first mass-market personal computers, the TRS-80, in 1977. At a cost of $600, more than 10,000 TRS-80s were sold within the first 18 months, more than 200,000 were sold over the product’s lifetime, and the TRS-80 had the largest selection of software available by the late 1970’s. The boxy computer (boxy monitor included), made the company one of the “1977 Trinity” of Apple, Commodore and Tandy. I remember the TRS-80 – a marvel in its time but now a relic of a simpler age.
In addition, RadioShack was known for its knowledgeable, helpful staff that could readily help your average home electronics do-it-yourselfer meet all his/her home electronic needs at a moment’s notice. In earlier days, RadioShack visits taught us about electronics and how they work.
Unfortunately for RadioShack, the increase in online shopping, coupled with the company’s failure to hold its electronics “edge” in a fiercely competitive industry and 11 consecutive quarterly losses led to the company’s demise. I must admit that my formerly frequent trips to RadioShack for able in-house geek assistance with electronics gradually reduced to very infrequent, disappointing visits with clerks who lacked that valuable geekiness in stores that lacked most go-to electronics. Within the past several years, I’d invariably leave without purchasing anything and wonder, “What the hell happened to RadioShack?”
In retrospect, the U. S. failure was written on the wall, with RadioShack losing its edge, failing to find a long-term plan to stay in business, and earlier moving out of the UK, Australia and Canada.
So long, old friend. In your heyday, you were the best in your field.
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