Radio Shack was popular back when home electronics were new and awesome. I recall walking into those stores as a kid and just taking in the smell of electronics. My dad would buy some random part for some random project and I’d go look at the toys and other gadgets.
But over the years, they started to slim down their stacks of capacitors, resistors and every other tiny part they carried. You couldn’t really blame them! Home electronics got cheaper and more disposable. People weren’t repairing their gear anymore, just toss it and get a new one.
But then something interesting happened. Rather than people just being enamored with their Tamagotchi, they wanted to start to build and customize their own stuff. Motors, and circuits, and sensors became cool. Then all these little boards started popping onto the market like Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Beagle Boards.
Buy them off the Internet, watch someone do something, or learn from a book. But where could you go to play with this gear, and learn about it, and learn how not to destroy it? Makerspaces came along, but even some of those are struggling to make enough money to keep the doors open.
Where could be a place that has the gear, attracts the people and has the historical cache to pull this off? Radio Shack. Turn it into the Maker Shack (Sorry MakerShed). You don’t even have to invest that much to start this up. Here, I’ll give you your first idea.
Radio Shack contracts out to two or three guys; for instance, my friend Zac, my bro Samer and me. We come up with a project built entirely from parts that every Radio Shack carries. We record it, and then we plan events at every Radio Shack. We stream this instructional video to every store that wants to carry it.
Want to participate? Come to Radio Shack, buy the kit, and build something cool as we teach you how to do it on the stream. Get a couple of local mentors to help those who need a little bit of extra assistance.
This is only the beginning as more complex topics can be streamed to the stores. The inventory could grow to support it, and people will once again just start hanging out at the Radio Shack to be with other people that are as like minded as they are.
Radio Shack shouldn’t die, it needs to fit itself into the new maker scene.