North Texans will soon no longer be able to ask questions and get answers at RadioShack as the last store in the Metroplex is set to close by Friday.
The Fort Worth-based electronics retailer closed the bulk of its remaining stores in Dallas-Fort Worth and across the country after Memorial Day. But there is one area store left — in Weatherford.
Wednesday, the store, at 1418 S. Main St., was covered with closeout sale signs screaming “EVERYTHING MUST GO!” and 70 percent off. According to court documents, it’s one of 23 stores that RadioShack has received court approval to shutter by the end of the month.
“I’ve lived here all my life, so it’s been here forever,” said Chad Woody, a customer perusing the the store’s shelves. “It’s part of Weatherford’s culture.”
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RadioShack’s parent company, General Wireless, filed for bankruptcy protection in March after a partnership with Sprint failed to boost revenues. It marked the second trip to bankruptcy court for the nearly century-old company, and the company quickly warned that it could shut down by late May.
It closed about 500 stores and then, on the Friday before Memorial Day, said it would shut more than 1,000 more, leaving it with fewer than 70 corporate-owned stores and 500 dealer stores “as we migrate to radioshack.com.”
“We cannot thank you enough for your patronage and support over the years and continued support as we shift to a primarily online business,” the company said in a statement. Officials with the company were not available for further comment Wednesday.
Once a leader in consumer electronics that sold one of the first personal computers, RadioShack used to boast that 95 percent of Americans lived within 3 miles of one of its stores. At its peak, there were more than 7,300 RadioShack stores.
“It is certainly sad for all the employees that spent a lot of time to build a really great business, and to see it wither away in recent years has been disheartening,” said John Roach, a long-time CEO at Tandy Corp. and RadioShack.
Now, as the company winds down to pay off creditors, framed photos of Roach and other RadioShack executives are among items up for sale as part of an online memorabilia auction that will run until July 10. The auction features vintage electronics, transistor radios, commemorative pens and an autographed Tour de France yellow jersey.
So far, more than 600 bidders have participated in the auction that features 547 items, said Michael Huff, owner of Haltom-City based UBid Estate & Auction Services. Huff admits he’s not interested in old computers but there are several TRS-80 models that are popular auction items.
“The first ones they produced, those are already at $300 to $400,” Huff said. “You can’t even use them today, but there are a lot of people out there collecting those.”
Wednesday evening, an oil painting by David Kapp had the highest bid — $2,250, followed by a RadioShack racing bicycle that had a $1,770 bid while a bust of Charles Tandy had a bid of $450. On the cheaper end, floppy disks were $3.25, a 1974 RadioShack catalog has a high bid of $12.25, and a Tandy Corp. pen was listed for $9.25.
Len Roberts, who led the electronics chain from the late 1990s until he retired in 2005, said that the memorabilia has piqued his interest.
“What happened to RadioShack since I left is sad for all the associates, our city and our customers,” Roberts said. “Such a successful ride is made up of a billion wonderful memories. Not dollars. But about memories involving 40,000 ordinary associates doing truly extraordinary things.”
A few of the more unusual items for auction include an autographed nude photo of mixed-martial arts star Ronda Rousey, a brown leather couch and a City of Irving revenue bond for Texas Stadium.
The auction is prominently displayed on RadioShack.com, which also features clearance sales of batteries, drone kits and headphones.
In Weatherford, Woody said he, too, will always have memories of RadioShack.
“When I was a kid in high school, I remember coming [to the Weatherford RadioShack] for CB radios, speakers and such,” he said. “I guess there was a time I was in here more frequently. But, in this day and age with Best Buy, Amazon and everything else — not so much.”
The Star-Telegram's Gordon Dickson delves deep into Fort Worth's history by taking a journey beneath downtown into the subway tunnel that use to transport residents and shoppers from a parking lot near the Trinity River to Leonards Department Store. Star-Telegram archives