Radio Shack

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Central NC
Radio Shack sure went down the last few years before it died. I had liked them for various items like alligator clips, pin connectors & slim butt splices. Things I needed every now & then. Who else out there has similar materials?
 

norcal

Senior Member
Big computer, etc. stores like Fry's Electronics kept a good selection of miscellany like jmellc mentioned.
Went into the Fry's in Sacramento, the place looked like a KMart, bare shelves, lots of open space, place used to have everything no reason to go back either.
 

ramsy

Owner/Operator
Location
LA basin, CA
Occupation
Service Electrician 2017 NEC
Before they closed the brick & mortar operations, a Radio Shack employee told me on-line retailers killed their store-front business model.

IMHO, retail theft was always a big problem at Radio Shack stores. Expensive Thumb drives were often seen removed from packaging in the isles. Bad security, and no locked cases to prevent high-value merchandise walking out the door.
 

winnie

Senior Member
Location
Springfield, MA, USA
Occupation
Electric motor research
Digikey is a great source for just about everything electronic.

They used to have a minimum order and shipping costs were significant.

Now there is no minimum and the cheapest shipping option is $5. $9 gets you ground shipping on any size order.

-Jon
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
Went into the Fry's in Sacramento, the place looked like a KMart, bare shelves, lots of open space, place used to have everything no reason to go back either.
They seem to vary widely from store to store, the one in Alpharetta seems pretty well stocked, but the one in Duluth, about 20 miles away is horrible!
They have a distribution center in Memphis.
 
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MD Automation

Member
Location
Maryland
Occupation
Engineer
Parts Express comes to mind, and DigiKey, Mouser, Jameco, etc.

I used to get Allied and Lafayette catalogs when I was a kid.
Sure do miss Radio Shack - it was a super difficult thing to watch them adapt to the times. It was really an impossible effort.

Yes, at work we order all the time from DigiKey, Mouser and Newark Electronics.

Oh man, Lafayette Electronics brings me back to the 70s! They had a big store on Bedford Ave in Brooklyn and I was there all the time, getting cables, connectors, testing vacuum tubes (remember that!), buying all sorts of nerd equipment. They were big at the time, sold their own brand of hifi gear (Criterion?) but also other big name stuff too. A blast from the past for sure, I wish I had kept some of their catalogs just to leaf thru and remember.

They had one guy worked behind the counter, he was the most near sighted person I have ever met. Super thick glasses, he would have to hold the catalog almost to his nose to find the part number. But he was that kind of person who knew about almost everything in the store, Canon connectors and Jones plugs, 6L6 tubes, Belden wire. You just assumed he was a ham radio guy. And he was good with that new fangled solid state stuff too!
 

synchro

Senior Member
Location
Chicago, IL
Occupation
EE
Parts Express comes to mind, and DigiKey, Mouser, Jameco, etc.

I used to get Allied and Lafayette catalogs when I was a kid.
Digikey and Mouser have a tremendous range of components available. But they do have very good filters on their webpages where you can narrow down the specs to select what you want. There are other vendors of electrical equipment and components where if you don't know the exact part their selection tools are virtually useless.
Mouser has been around for many decades but in their early days they focused mainly on connectors like those for coax, banana pins, clip leads, etc. They had a very small catalog or flyer you might call it.

When I was a kid I was able to convince my dad once in a while to take us to the main Allied store and distribution center at 100 N. Western in Chicago. It was amazing to see all the equipment on display. They had a will call where you could pick up parts. But when Tandy (which owned Radio Shack at the time) bought Allied they ruined it. They started adding a "handling charge" that seemed outrageous (something like $8). I went with a friend once that tried to convince the receptionist that we could "handle" it ourselves, and this seemed to confuse her for a while but then her boss came by and shooed us away.

Other good places to order were Burstein-Appleby, McGee, Fair Radio Sales (which still exists).
Locally we also had an Olson Electronics store.
 

synchro

Senior Member
Location
Chicago, IL
Occupation
EE
Oh man, Lafayette Electronics brings me back to the 70s! They had a big store on Bedford Ave in Brooklyn and I was there all the time, getting cables, connectors, testing vacuum tubes (remember that!), buying all sorts of nerd equipment. They were big at the time, sold their own brand of hifi gear (Criterion?) but also other big name stuff too. A blast from the past for sure, I wish I had kept some of their catalogs just to leaf thru and remember.
Lafayette and other old catalogs can be seen here:

A more extensive collection of Allied catalogs:
 

mivey

Senior Member
Jameco and Digikey for online.

The local Radio Shack was re-worked into a local electronics store by the owner. some good changes, some bad. meh.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
A lot of landlords haven't even bothered to take down the "Radio Shack" signs. I know of several pylon signs still up, even though the space now has a different unrelated tenant.
 

retirede

Senior Member
Location
Illinois
Digikey and Mouser have a tremendous range of components available. But they do have very good filters on their webpages where you can narrow down the specs to select what you want. There are other vendors of electrical equipment and components where if you don't know the exact part their selection tools are virtually useless.
Mouser has been around for many decades but in their early days they focused mainly on connectors like those for coax, banana pins, clip leads, etc. They had a very small catalog or flyer you might call it.

When I was a kid I was able to convince my dad once in a while to take us to the main Allied store and distribution center at 100 N. Western in Chicago. It was amazing to see all the equipment on display. They had a will call where you could pick up parts. But when Tandy (which owned Radio Shack at the time) bought Allied they ruined it. They started adding a "handling charge" that seemed outrageous (something like $8). I went with a friend once that tried to convince the receptionist that we could "handle" it ourselves, and this seemed to confuse her for a while but then her boss came by and shooed us away.

Other good places to order were Burstein-Appleby, McGee, Fair Radio Sales (which still exists).
Locally we also had an Olson Electronics store.
I remember Olsen - I lived in Chicago from ‘76-‘79.
There was another local one there that I can’t remember the name of. I had a roommate that worked there.
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
You guys are making me reminisce. I worked at Lafayette Electronics while in high school and Radio Shack while in college. I bought the first TRS-80 model 1 computer my local college store sold and they hired me to sell computers since they didn't understand them. I had been a fan of Radio Shack since I was a small child building electronics kits and actually made a pilgrimage to Fort Worth to see Tandy Center. I made another trip to Dallas to see an Incredible Universe store. It was amazing.
 
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