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RichQ
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CEO
Lost focus
RichQ   3/4/2014 7:49:51 PM
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I have two Radio Shack stores in my area. The one I like better is too far away for me to visit much. The other is a bit sparse on the components I need. I go only when I need just one or two small items that it doesn't make sense to pay shipping and handling for. But when I do go I often have to wait quite a bit for all the folks getting cellphones to be done getting them activated. There are only a few store clerks and the phone sale and activation takes quite a bit of time for each customer.

I think Radio Shack (which bought out Lafayette as I recall) lost its focus as a hobbyist store and never made it as a consumer store. The advent of the Arduino and the Maker Movement has revitalized its hobbyist element somewhat (in the stores that adopted it) but on the whole I think it is going to simply fade away.

TonyTib
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CEO
No, next question?
TonyTib   3/4/2014 7:14:34 PM
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RS's selection is too limited; heck, even Fry's is limited, but they do have stuff that's handy in a pinch, like a good selection of resistors, DSub connectors and adapters, and such.

But my normal retail shopping is Excess Solutions, and maybe All Electronics (more electronics, but fewer connectors & such); I haven't been to Halted in a long while -- and those three are about all that's left for Silicon Valley surplus.  There used to be a lot before the Dot-bomb bubble destroyed most of them due to rising rents.

For industrial stuff like servo motors, eBay is the place.

Bill_Jaffa
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You also mentioned Lafayette
Bill_Jaffa   3/4/2014 7:01:03 PM
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One of the highlights of getting my driver's license "back in the day" was that I was able to drive to Lafayette HQ/main store, instead of being limited to their smaller store near my house (a short bus ride away). Going to Lafayette by car the first time, in those pre-GPS days, was an adventure in itself. On the way back I stopped at nearby Eico (a vendor of kits, like Heathkit but smaller) with an AM/FM tuner kit I built, didn't work. They were nice enough to send a technician out to look at it, turned out it was a defective front-panel rotary switch (they gave me a new one). That kind of customer service is long gone!

MeasurementBlues
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Blogger
Surplus electronics
MeasurementBlues   3/4/2014 6:18:36 PM
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I used to buy surplus parts from a basement store called Verada 214 in Lowell, Mass. The cabinets for the Utah speakers I bought at You Do It came from there. I also bought a National Semi MM5316 digital clock chip and built a clock. It still works although the LEDs don't put out much light anymore. I still have the MM5316 data sheet.

MeasurementBlues
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Blogger
Biggest electronics store
MeasurementBlues   3/4/2014 6:17:03 PM
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The biggest electronics store I ever saw was in Tokyo. Nive floors, mostly consumer stuff but one floor was dedicated to computer hardware and components.

 

betajet
User Rank
CEO
Re: They are stuck in the middle
betajet   3/4/2014 6:13:47 PM
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Well, for what they charge for cable assemblies, RS must be getting a pretty big profit margin... when they're able to sell one.  RS is a good place for cordless phone batteries, the occasional connector, the occasional LED, and the occasional switch.  However, the part selection is so limited compared to (say) Digi-Key, that it's rarely worth bothering.

MeasurementBlues
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MIT electronics flea market
MeasurementBlues   3/4/2014 6:10:11 PM
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I hope toget back there again this year when it opens. In theory, it's warm enough in April but this year, who knows?

MeasurementBlues
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Blogger
Re: They are stuck in the middle
MeasurementBlues   3/4/2014 6:07:43 PM
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You-Do-It has been around for years and has adapted well. They're more heavily into selling things like computer cables and other IT infrastructure, bu they still carry lots of components, meters, ham radios, and the like. They even had one oscilloscopes when I was last there. It's a 30-MHz, two-channel analog model from Elenco.



DrQuine
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CEO
Re: They are stuck in the middle
DrQuine   3/4/2014 6:01:26 PM
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As a kid, Radio Shack was my favorite store and I often went there to buy parts and to learn about new components. Now I'll admit that I buy big ticket items online (better selection, ability to compare and research alternatives, avoid a trip to the mall). Radio Shack is the place I go for parts once a year when something breaks. It seems that they are the "convenience store" of electronics. If you want tools, there are home improvement stores, if you want cell phones there are cell phone stores, but if you have a shopping list with a variety of items then Radio Shack gets a visit.

Bill_Jaffa
User Rank
Blogger
Re: They are stuck in the middle
Bill_Jaffa   3/4/2014 5:54:56 PM
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I guess it's like Kodak--when change came, there was little they could do about it, despite what all the pundits said: "they didn;t adapt, even though they invented the digitla camera." Fact is that their entire business model was based on selling consumables like film and chemicals and processing, not one-time items like cameras (those were almost an incidental business for them). And Kodak had lots of IP and patents, unlike Radio Shack, so RS is in a far more precarious place.

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