Friday, March 22, 2019

Radio Shack returns to Idaho Falls

Reese Clawson
Radio Shack is back in Idaho Falls, in the Albertson’s shopping center on the city’s west side, west of Ace Hardware. This is great news for us geeks who like a local place to find capacitors, resistors, potentiometers, fuses, jewel lights, etc.

The store is managed by Reese Clawson, who has a history with Radio Shack dating all the way back to 1982, when it was in the Yellowstone Mall. The new Idaho Falls store is one of two franchises owned by Vern Murray. The other is in Pocatello.

The Fort Worth-based company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015. Once the domain of do-it-yourselfers, Radio Shack's corporate directors decided in the early 2000s to make a strategic shift toward selling cell phones and accessories. By 2014, mobile phones accounted for nearly half of the company's total sales, but this had its downside. When consumers gravitated toward buying cellphones directly from wireless operators, carriers began covering their rising costs by reducing payments to Radio Shack and other resellers. This was aggravated as well by an overabundance of stores, and the company's profit margins and sales slid disastrously. The chain emerged from the 2015 bankruptcy only to declare it again in 2017. It came out of the second bankruptcy in early 2018.

Clawson, the son of a ham radio operator, is happy to see the chain getting back to basics. There are plenty of items to make hobbyists happy, and gone are the cell phones and the DISH Network offers. “They’re not doing all the stuff that put them out of business,” he said.

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