It seems there is still a retail market for electronics hobbyists.
While brick-and-mortar retailers are losing the battle with the internet and consumer electronics are becoming increasingly difficult to customize, a new RadioShack has opened in Idaho Falls.
The new store, branded as “Vern’s RadioShack,” is owned by Vern and Dalyn Murray, of Pocatello.
Last month, the new store held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting with the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce.
Vern’s RadioShack, a franchise store, relocated from Blackfoot, following the recent closure of Idaho Falls’ RadioShack, which was corporate owned and operated.
RadioShack is an electronics retailer that caters to hobbyists. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company has seen hard times in recent years. It closed hundreds of stores in 2017, after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (its second bankruptcy since 2015).
Following the bankruptcy, the company switched its focus to franchise stores. More than 400 independently owned stores remained open.
The Idaho Falls corporate store’s closure allowed Vern’s RadioShack to move into a larger market.
“They regrouped, but they decided not to do corporate stores in this market,” Vern Murray said. “They went through a little bad phase, regrouped, but it gave us the opportunity to come to a way larger town.”
The franchise approach allows franchisees to tailor their sales to local markets, Vern Murray said.
“On the franchise side, you can look at a market and go, ‘OK, here we sell a lot of CB radios and TV antennas,’ where on a corporate level they make decisions for thousands of stores,” he said. “Every market is so different.”
Vern’s RadioShack services cell phones, including fixing broken screens, and it sells various electronics, from stereos to Bluetooth speakers and “every weird cable,” Vern Murray said.
It has electronics for both young and old hobbyists.
“We do all the way from kids to the RC toys all the way up to the older guys that are doing scanners and CB (radios),” Dalyn Murray said.
Vern and Dalyn Murray opened a RadioShack in Pocatello in early 2018.
“Customers come in every day, and they’re just excited that we’re there,” Dalyn Murray said.
The owners said the Blackfoot store drew customers from as far as Rigby and Rexburg, just to get a small part.
“It’s the techy guys that need a little LED or a resistor, capacitor or fuses,” Vern Murray said. “That’s what RadioShack was founded on: little pieces and parts.”
Dozens of people attended Thursday’s grand opening, which featured a raffle, giveaways and free tacos.
“We just want people to know that we’re here,” Dalyn Murray said.
Vern’s RadioShack is located at 1755 W. Broadway St.