Retail recharged

Fort Worth-based RadioShack powers back up with futuristic new store

Fort Worth-based RadioShack powers back up with futuristic new store

RadioShack Keller
The Shack is back. Photo courtesy of RadioShack

Like a robotic phoenix rising from the ashes, RadioShack is back.

The Fort Worth-based electronics store that was so popular in the ’70s and ’80s but faded in recent years has returned, opening a new store at 121 Rufe Snow Dr. in the Keller Town Center. The storefront is located where a corporate RadioShack shuttered two years ago.

A weekend-long grand opening celebration August 16-18 will mark the store's return, starting with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:30 am Friday.

“We will have some great product promotions — huge sales and giveaways going on that are for the grand opening weekend only,” says Matthew Eisner, RadioShack director of sales. This includes a chance to win a 65-inch TV, he adds.

For those who don't quite remember retail history before Amazon came along, RadioShack was founded in Boston in 1921, then bought by leather goods manufacturer Charles Tandy in 1962 and incorporated into Fort Worth’s Tandy Corporation. For decades, the Shack was a top seller of electronic consumer goods — whether you needed a transistor radio, a remote-controlled sports car, or a pack of batteries, you went to RadioShack. In its heyday almost 20 years ago, there were more than 7,500 Shacks around the world.

Sadly, with the rise in online sales and pounding competition from big-box retailers, RadioShack filed for bankruptcy in 2015. A short time later, the company teamed with Sprint under the ownership of General Wireless, but that partnership ultimately failed, resulting in another bankruptcy (in 2017).

Now, RadioShack is lean and mean, opening express stores within other stores (such as those within select HobbyTown locations) and full-service stores in major markets, all independently owned. According to company leaders, the current business model is built around e-commerce, partnerships, and franchising operations.

So far, the Keller location is the only new "full-line" RadioShack to open in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since General Wireless emerged from bankruptcy in January 2018. "Full-line" means it stocks legacy and hard-to-find items, such as components, wires, tools, and RC cars. They also carry soldering supplies and other do-it-yourself maker kits.

However, they have stepped into the future to stock “a new line of products and services that are in high demand,” they say, such as robotics, the latest in audio/video equipment, and smartphone and home-automation accessories.

RadioShack offers phone repair, as well, and a partnership with My Wireless Group, one of the largest AT&T national authorized retailers, means they carry such Apple-branded items as air pods and beats.

The company has carried batteries for consumer electronics for decades, but now they offer automotive, marine, RV, utility, and motorcycle batteries. And, of course, they stock radio headsets, portable radios, and desktop radios.

Going forward, RadioShack will open new full-line stores in existing markets "while strategically working with existing retailers to open RadioShack Express store-within-a-store locations, such as those within select HobbyTown locations nationwide," the company says in a release.

“Everyone loves the look and feel, the experience, and the services offered at the (Keller) store," Eisner says. "We’re excited to replicate this format in major markets.”

Approximately 50 of the 500 RadioShack stores are in Texas, but the company says there are no immediate plans to open other stores in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Eisner says the doors to the Keller location have been open for a few weeks, but business thus far has been primarily from passersby and word of mouth.

“We would love to see the community of Keller, as well as folks from around DFW, come by the store and check out the new Radio Shack,” he says. “We have big plans for the weekend.”