Our Celebrated Radio Shack Roots

February 15, 2021 10:26 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Once known for a $799 cell phone box that was nearly the size of a briefcase, RadioShack struggled for the past few years. However, Devine’s Electronics Authorized Radio Shack in Woodward, OK started as a Radio Shack store, and continues to be an authorized dealer. We enjoy the nostalgia with this brand, and many of us remember when Radio Shack was the place for electronics in the 1990s. Here is a brief history of our Radio Shack roots and how they guide us today.

The beginning

Radio Shack has a diverse history in Fort Worth and Boston. It started in 1921 as a ham radio dealer, and in 1963, Tandy Corporation acquired it. After the acquisition, its focus changed from ham radios to consumer electronics, including telephones, remote-controlled toys and the first personal computers. Even today, it embraces these roots by being an authorized AT&T dealer and selling cellular phones and ham radios on its online platform, in addition to toys and other consumer electronics.

The company ran on an economic high until around 2000. At that point, as big-box stores opened, it struggled to remain relevant. It was impossible to compete with Best Buy and others like it.

In 2015, it faced severe losses and eventually filed for bankruptcy protection. Unfortunately, the controversy over a personal data breach and further declining sales led to a second bankruptcy in 2017. Since that time, it has partnered with HobbyTown USA to open “express” RadioShack stores and start a new focus on e-commerce. As of November 2020, it comprised 400 independent authorized dealers and 80 HobbyTown USA affiliate stores, in addition to its website.

Popular products

Nostalgia regarding Radio Shack focuses on the products it released during the company’s best times in the ‘80s and ’90s. One of the first cellular phones is part of this: in the late ‘80s, Radio Shack touted a three-watt “car/carry transportable cellular phone,” which plugged into your car or remained portable. Depending on the model, it was basketball- to briefcase-size and retailed for $799. At the time, the phone was considered optimal, as it was not tied to a home or car, and you could take it everywhere.

Radio Shack also introduced early home computers, including the MITS Altair 880 and the TRS-80. The TRS-80 was the first mass-produced computer, and it was unique at a time when consumers bought microcomputers they built from kits. Later, Radio Shack released the TRS-80 Color Computer and ran a computer camp for pre-teens. In 1994, it benefited from Tandy’s new partnership with IBM and sold the Aptiva line of their home computers.

Other small electronic specialties included tape recorders, radios and specialized batteries. Radio Shack offered free tube testing in the early ‘70s, and continued producing ham radios until then as well.

Radio Shack is not the powerhouse it once was in the ‘90s, but we still enjoy our affiliation with the company. Devine’s Electronics Authorized Radio Shack Dealer in Woodward, OK offers the same commitment to the latest electronics and attentive customer service as our predecessor. Visit us today to see what we offer and enjoy the personal touch our local business provides.

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