Posted by: brandextenders | February 10, 2015

Did You Have One of These?

Let’s face it, I suck when it comes to being handy around the house, repairing cars or building stuff. Always have been. So why as a kid was I drawn into Radio Shack stores with all their neat rows of diodes, capacitors, early computers, circuit boards and batteries? The batteries were really the only product in the store I had a clue what to do with and I proudly carried my Battery of the Month Club card with which I could get my choice of a D, C, AA or 9-volt battery once a month. A savings of up to $4.68 if I dutifully picked up my battery each month and a fond memory from the salad days of Radio Shack, which filed for Chapter 11 recently.

A free battery every month

A free battery every month

Founded in 1921 by two brothers, it was originally a place for ham radio operators to obtain equipment and parts through the mail. Their name came from the wooden shacks on a boat used to house a ship’s radio equipment. By the early 60’s though the company was faltering and was purchased by Charles Tandy who owned a leather goods company, but saw potential with the electronics chain.

In 1977 they introduced the TRS-80, one of the first personal computers mass-produced, which was a huge hit. In the mid-90’s they started selling wireless phones and other mainstream retail products in a bid to get out of selling smaller electronic components, and ran head on into companies like Wal-Mart, Circuit City and Best Buy. Rebranded “The Shack” in 2009, they moved more heavily into selling wireless products and their demise was written on the wall.

Under bankruptcy protection the chain will close nearly half their 4,000 stores and sell up to 2,400 locations to Sprint where the Radio Shack brand will be sold within the Sprint stores.

Interestingly, there is talk Amazon may snatch up some of the RS locations and start a brick and mortar operation to showcase its brands and act as a returns/pick-up point. Plus, these could be the locations where Amazon expands its delivery of goods to local customers as they’ve been experimenting with at a Manhattan location. Apple stores were an afterthought, but now have the highest retail sales per square foot and Amazon may be realizing there is a limit to selling in the virtual world only and now is the time to jump into the physical world of brick and mortar.

Perhaps though like the circle of life in the Lion King, there is a circle of life in the business world and for every company that goes under, one or two are born. In this case a co-branding deal with Sprint and maybe an Amazon retail presence inhabiting the shells of the former RS stores.

If only they ‘d shifted from the Battery of the Month Club to a Gigabyte of Memory a Month Club they might have survived. We could certainly all use more memory!


  1. Nice writeup, i love your site layout

  2. Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with?
    I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.
    P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

    • This is a WordPress blog and it seems to be the easiest to use, at least for me.

  3. Nice writeup, i love your site layout

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