Goldcrest Electronics keeps engineers, technicians, students, and hobbyists supplied with parts from capacitors to tools. You won't find many stores like it anymore.
Rochester, N.Y. — Tucked away in this western New York city known for its optics is Goldcrest Electronics, a local store that's supplied businesses and individuals with electronic parts, tools, and other supplies for more than 60 years. As the sign says, "You'll feel like a kid in a candy store." I certainly did on my last visit in October 2017.
Goldcrest is run by Steve Gold, whose father, Donald, started the business in 1953. "He started by selling Olympic TVs from his station wagon," said Gold. After two years, the elder Gold started a distribution business, originally called American Electronics. That name didn’t last long, and the business name changed to Goldcrest, which had outlets in several cities across upstate New York. When Donald Gold retired in the 1980s, the branch managers bought out each store. Steve and his brother-in-law, Kevin, took over the Rochester operation.
Goldcrest Electronics is jam-packed with electronics parts and supplies.
Through the 1990s, Goldcrest sold parts, tools, and supplies to schools, TV repair shops, and local businesses. As TV repair shops disappeared, Goldcrest started selling to the public.
Goldcrest's inventory has changed with the times. "We sold CB radios during the CB craze," said Gold. Today, Goldcrest sells passive and active components, tools, and supplies such as cable ties and breadboards. While people come to Goldcrest to get parts for maintenance and repair of electronic systems, the store also caters to engineers, technicians, and makers. Engineering students from the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology may visit, looking for parts for their projects.
How has the demise of Radio Shack affected his business? Gold replied to my question by saying that he's still trying to decide. On one hand, people looking for parts have no other store in the area, but then Radio Shack had, in recent years, moved away from selling most components anyway. On the other hand, Gold noted that he'd often get referrals from Radio Shack when people went in looking for parts. "People often came to us looking for parts such as fuses and solderless terminals that Radio Shack didn't carry," he noted.
Today, competition comes from the many online sellers. But you can't get the same experience online that you can get browsing shelves stocked with parts and tools. "Brick-and-mortar stores won't completely go away," he said. "We took down Radio Shack, and Amazon is next," he said with a smile.
On the next three pages, you'll see what's inside the electronics "candy store." Click on any photo to enlarge.
Page 2: Fuses, active components, and passive components
Page 3: Cables, connectors, and cable organization
Page 4: Equipment, test leads, tools, and prototyping