RIP: Dick Smith Electronics

dick-smithMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Dan (VR2HF), who writes:

I must be a radio geek. While listening to Radio New Zealand (RNZ) top-of-the-hour news with my CC Skywave on the 31mb in a bus from Incheon Airport to my hotel south of downtown Seoul, I learned that Dick Smith Electronics (https://www.dicksmith.com.au/) will close all of its stores in Australia and New Zealand with the loss of about 3000 jobs. The complicated, sad saga of DSE which was sold by Dick many years ago, can be found here: http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/dick-smith-to-close-all-stores-3000-staff-to-go-20160225-gn3ios.html

My first encounter with DSE was in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early eighties. I remember buying a few kits from them and Nolan Bushnell’s “Petster” robot cat. They also sold some Bearcat Scanners and Yaesu ham gear, as I recall. It is a far different business today than it was back then. If memory serves, I believe Dick Smith also had a store here in Hong Kong around 1980 when I made my first visit to the SAR.

I hope that someone in the Maker community with money and a vision will try a new, modern version of Radio Shack and the old version of Dick Smith Electronics. Offering a mix of 3D printers, Arduinos, Raspberry Pies, radios, and other items Makers might want could be a profitable business and fill a need.

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5 thoughts on “RIP: Dick Smith Electronics

  1. Max Youle

    Dick Smith Electronics have been an icon here in New Zealand, and in the early days, I bought a Bearcat 8500xlt base scanner, which I still have. All my antennas and connectors came from there.
    We now have an alternative that is similar to the original DSE based in Australia with outlets in New Zealand http://www.jaycar.co.nz

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  2. Ed McCorry (KI4QDE)

    Very sad to see another electronics outlet gone. I don’t know what the store has been like since the 90’s, but back in the 80’s I used to buy parts from their mail order catalogs. I always enjoyed reading them with the Aussie terms and expressions. There just isn’t anywhere to buy parts anymore. It’s a shame that you can find a ton of stores that sell video games but you have to search the internet to buy piece parts to populate a circuit board. Progress?

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  3. Ken Hansen n2vip

    “I hope that someone in the Maker community with money and a vision will try a new, modern version of Radio Shack and the old version of Dick Smith Electronics. Offering a mix of 3D printers, Arduinos, Raspberry Pies, radios, and other items Makers might want could be a profitable business and fill a need.”

    How will a brick-and-mortar store compete with mail-order? Potentially you could have some success with a hybrid ‘maker space/maker shop’, but you’d have to charge a hearty monthly membership fee to cover shared tool costs and members would likely be faced with a fairly high markup on consumables/components to cover the store/shop space.

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  4. Mik Ishmael

    I also shopped at the Berkeley store. Sad news that now you can’t find a store to walk into and buy electronic parts anymore. Still a few mom-and-pops left, but how soon will it be before it’s mail order only from distributors and minimum orders? If you’re way out in the boonies and get the bug, then what? RIP Radio Shack and Dick Smith. Where will the next generation of technicians and engineers (and for that matter, artists and artisans) come from? Hopefully places like Adafruit, Seeedstudio, Evil Mad Scientist and so on get to keep the lights on.

    Reply

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