Remember Radio Shack?
It was the go to place for the do-it-yourself electronics tinkerer. I was a regular customer there, in the early to mid 90s, at a time when Radio Shack used to stock electronic parts. If I needed resistors, switches, diodes, or breadboards, Radio Shack was my go to place.
Radio Shack is none of those things now. It tried to be a mobile phone accessory store. It tried to be a warmed-over Best Buy. The store has tried rebranding itself, but the owners of the company just doesn’t seem to understand what made Radio Shack successful back in its day. The now former CEO of Radio Shack, Ron Barriques, has quit after less than one year. Apparently, even he doesn’t get it.
How would I save Radio Shack?
I’d bring the venerable electronics store back to its roots. Radio Shack should focus on being the store for the Maker community. Imagine a local store that stocks the latest electronics parts, including breadboards, NEST thermostats, LEGO Mindstorms, Raspberry Pis, sensors, and all the other doodads that can spur the modern day tinkerer. Radio Shack could also offer educational workshops for kids and adults, to bring back the excitement and feeling of what it’s like to make something work. Radio Shack should be the place for Makers in the community to gather and share the cool stuff they’ve made.
Radio Shack could be viable once again if they acknowledge what made them so great in the first place. But it’s been too long and I sincerely doubt that the company will survive after declaring bankruptcy. When that day comes, it will mark the end of an era. And that makes me sad.