Places You Didn't Think You'd Miss Until They Were Gone: RadioShack Shuttering 1,100 Stores

There are 35 RadioShack stores in the Houston. Would you miss them if they were gone?

RadioShack, despite a massive re-branding effort over the last year, announced on Tuesday it would be closing 1,100 of its 4,000 retail outlets due to poor earnings. The electronics store has been operating at a loss and announced it would make the closures of "underperforming" outlets this year. The company hasn't slacked on its promotional efforts, featuring a new tagline "Do It Together" and an '80s-themed Super Bowl commercial.

No word yet on which Houston stores will be closed.

RadioShack is mostly a victim of the massive changes in technology that have taken place over the last 20 years. Prior to that, there were still decent toys to be had from the store (their remote controlled cars were often a coveted Christmas item) and anyone who needed any kind of electronic part could find it among their regular haunts.

But, as hardware moved away from technology some guy in his garage with a soldering iron and a dream could actually build, the need for stores like RadioShack began to diminish.

The chain is now turning its attention to basic electronic consumer goods, cell phones in particular. But with so many stores in that marketplace it seems unlikely people will choose RadioShack.

As a kid who started playing music in my early teens, RadioShack was a source of infinite possibility. I built speaker cabinets using parts acquired from those stores. I bought my first soldering iron -- which I had for a VERY long time -- from there and used it with my friends to repair guitars and re-wire portable radios. We may have even used parts from Radio Shack to connect tiny tape recorder speakers to guitar amps so when we nailed a power chord, the speaker blew up with nothing left but a cloud of smoke.

With the dramatic rise in microchip technology and so many things now operating on a level only an engineer could fully understand and common adaptors and cables available everywhere from home theater stores to Target, there just doesn't appear to be a need for a chain of electronics parts stores.

Maybe they can turn it around. It's not as if they are closing every store, but it will obviously be an uphill climb because image has never been Radio Shack's strong suit. In The Simpson's seventh edition of their annual Treehouse of Horrors Halloween series, the writers for the show summed up what seems to have been the perception of Radio Shack for a while:

Homer: We'll search out every place a sick twisted solitary misfit might run to. Lisa: I'll start with Radio Shack.

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