Max, I somehow missed this post when it appeared, but was glad to be sent here via a link in your latest post. Curious, I went looking for a Mock Electronics web site. I found it, but it says they are going out of business; there's a going out of business sale currently in progress, ending the last day of this month. I wondered if it might be the Decatur store, but the only address I could find on the web site was for the Huntsville store. Tell us it isn't so!
When I was a kid growing up in northern New Jersey, my version of your Bardwells was to visit Canal St. in New York City. Back in the 70s, there was store after store carrying electronics parts (ranging from ICs and passives to various used equipment and front panels) as well as stores with optics and plastics. I built my first computer (a wire-wrapped micro based on the RCA CDP1802, with a 2-digit hex display, a bank of switches for binary input, and 256 bytes of memory). Sadly, Canal St. is nothing like that now. I think the modern version of the Canal St. of my youth is the World Wide Web, with virtual places like Adafruit playing the role of that row of shops. At least Jameco is still around; I think that's where I got those 5x7 hex displays back in the mid 70s.
@uwezi: There used to be a shop like this in nearby (for me) Stockholm: LabElektronik, but it closed in 2008.
It's so sad to see these stores close -- I cannot tell you how manh hours I spend in Bardwells in Sheffield UK when I was a young lad in the early 1970s -- I still remember boxes of rotary telephone relay switches -- I should have bought them all up LOL
Thanks Ken -- I only wish I'd had the time to look at these stores .. but I was 100% tied up at Design West.
Next time I'm out there I will be sure to use your review as a guide and have a happy day checking out all of the stores.
Regards -- Max
Great article! If you ever get out to the Bay Area (I know you were there last week..Ha!), I recently published a review of the South Bay electronic surplus stores: