RadioShack’s second bankruptcy in two years may have brought its company-owned stores to the edge of oblivion, but it has apparently sparked a renaissance among the chain’s approximately 425 independent franchisees.
As Wisconsin dealer-owner PJ Kruschel explains, inventory is beginning to flow again, and the departure of the corporate stores has ramped up customer demand and unshackled RadioShack dealers from restrictions on expansion.
Kruschel, who will grand-open the country’s first post-bankruptcy RadioShack tomorrow in Baraboo, Wis., shared his observations in an email to TWICE, which we posted below with his permission:
“I’ve owned a RadioShack dealer store for the past ten years and just opened a new store a couple weeks ago. It’s the first new RadioShack since the latest bankruptcy. There is another store opening in Utah and a couple more in Tennessee coming in the near future, but I’m the first.[…]
This is encouraging news indeed and verifies what I’ve seen at the two RadioShack franchises I’ve visited since the bankruptcy. In both cases, they are serving the needs of a local community–their inventory and services have always included products and services the corporate stores weren’t allowed to offer. RadioShack franchises have always had more freedom to expand their offerings, but now it appears they can even expand their locations. Excellent news, I say.
I’ve received a number of messages and comments regarding close-out and clearance deals at RadioShack retail stores. While this varies by market and the type of store (some are corporate, others are RS franchises), there’s no question: now is the time to check for deals.
My good friend and SWLing Post reader, Mike Hansgen (K8RAT), discovered that his local RS in Ohio has marked everything 25% off. Everything.
Another reader recently commented that his RS store had a similar deal–25% off everything–but even increased the percentage of savings as you purchased more items.
While RadioShack has few shortwave radios of note these days, they do have a lot of essential items for your home radio shack: cables, connectors, components, soldering equipment, batteries, scanners, DeoxIT and even Arduino products to name a few.
If you find that your local RS is liquidating stock, please comment with details. Let’s compare notes!
If you’d like to read more about the state of RadioShack, check out the following news articles sent in by readers:
“It’s a move many have predicted for some time: RadioShack is probably going to file for bankruptcy protection.
According to a Wall Street Journalreport citing unnamed sources, the cash-poor retailer could submit its filing as soon as February 2015. A RadioShack spokesperson e-mailed Ars to say, “We decline to comment except to say that RadioShack has not confirmed any of the information that is being reported.” The Texas-based firm did not deny the Journal’s report, however.
Bankruptcy protection wouldn’t necessarily mean that RadioShack intends to go out of business. Rather, it would mean RadioShack would be given a certain period of time to rebuild itself and shield itself from creditors.”
On the positive side, I’ve heard from several readers that they’ve found deals at RadioShack on radios and components/soldering equipment recently. If you have a RadioShack near you, check in frequently.
Overall, I continue to be quite happy with this receiver, however, I think the loss of memories and time when replacing batteries is annoying.
So, I did a simple mod to the radio to help prevent having to re-program everything after installing new batteries.
I found that there was enough space within the case to tack a 220 µF 6.3 V electrolytic capacitor across the pads on the PC board where the battery leads are attached [see the photo below]. Adding a series resistor to limit current flow might be better, but this simple change seems to be OK.
Click to enlarge
The mod won’t prevent long-term memory loss, but it will keep enough voltage on the circuit for a quick battery change (especially if you change one battery at a time). The radio is not actually altered, and the mod can be easily removed if desired.
Close-up of added capacitor.
Many thanks for creating and documenting this simple mod, Mike!
On a side note, I remember when RadioShack used to pride themselves on having a full line of products that could maintain memory if batteries were removed or in case of power outage. RadioShack badged VCRs, receivers, radios and clocks all had this feature in the 1990s, at least.
Attached [above] is an annotated photo of the RS radio’s PC board.
As you’ll see, there is a mystery “blob” chip, which probably handles the DSP functions.
The TDA2922 is an audio amplifier, but I couldn’t find data sheets for the other ICs. Maybe some of your readers can help.
There is one pad prepared for an additional chip, so additional functions might be possible. By the way, I discovered that if you remove the batteries, the memories and clock have to be reset; which is unfortunate. Overall, for $30, I’m quite happy.
Mike, thanks so much for cracking open your brand new radio so that we can take a look inside. The “blob” chip does most likely handle DSP and I bet it’s not a SiLabs chip since (I believe) they are typically labeled. Perhaps readers can chime in with additional information?
Many thanks to Dave and Skip for sharing this article from the Wall Street Journal which highlights the struggle RadioShack faces this year: an effort to modernize before their stock value slips to zero:
RadioShack Corp.’s mounting losses amid declining sales have been widely covered in the media. The company’s misfortune has also inspired Wall Street analysts to slash their target price on the stock, with a range this year of $1 to $3 a share.
However, that changed on Wednesday after B Riley analyst Scott Tilghman, who already rates the stock RSH+0.87% a sell, lowered his price target to zero from $1 a share after the company on Tuesday reported another in a series of wider-than-expected losses. The company’s cash level also plunged. Chief Financial OfficerJohn Feray said Tuesday the company has enough liquidity to execute its turnaround over the next 12 months, and that it’s examining expenses from utility bills to ocean freight.
“We think survival is in real jeopardy” with the cash burn and lack of asset value, the analyst told MarketWatch.
RadioShack admitted through its ad that the retailer’s mindset had been “stuck in the 80s”–an outdated image to make way for “Do It Together” brand positioning. Now investors must be questioning if “The Shack” can thrive in a retailing environment dominated by online and big-box retailers.
While many radio listeners and amateur radio operators (like myself) miss the early decades of their retail offerings, RadioShack is the only chain I know of in the US that still carries shortwave radios on their shelves–an easy access point for newcomers to SWLing. I imagine part of RadioShack’s new brand positioning will eliminate legacy product lines as they are no longer as profitable as they once were.