This month Radio Shack is testing the waters for a return to its roots and the DIY revolution. Parallax is supplying 500 stores across the country with XBees, Arduinos and other maker-oriented components. If sales take off, the distribution will extend to Radio Shack’s 5,700 company locations and potentially to 4,500 other independent dealers.
This is an amazing opportunity to bring the innovative power of rapid prototyping directly to a broad audience of students, inventors, educators, weekend tinkerers and professional engineers. Here’s a complete listing of the Radio Shacks with XBees, Arduinos, etc. from Parallax. If you’re near one, then a visit along with a purchase could help put the wheels in motion for countless creative components to be available nationwide. Check the list and go!
A correction to Rob’s post we quoted here. Just to be very clear. Arduino is supplying the Arduinos to Radioshack!
And Parallax is supplying Basic Stamp and Propeller Microcontrollers as well as Xbee wireless kits, sensors (GPS,Altimeter, Gyro, Compass, PIR and Ultrasonic Distance sensor) human interface devices (Joystick, 5 position switch, LCD and servo) all are compatible with a wide range of microcontrollers, including Arduino.
Sorry for any confusion, we’ll email Rob too 🙂
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Last night I needed a 2n3096 transistor for a last minute Halloween project, and was delighted to find one in stock at my local RS. While there I asked the manager about the Arduino/Parallax deal, and was sadly met with a (much) less than enthusiastic response. His biggest gripe was how much of a pain it was going to be to rearrange display space. This was followed by “we’ve got four racks of drawers filled with stuff already”. Stuff = a very random supply of transistors, caps, ICs, LEDs, etc…
Now maybe this was an isolated instance of a jaded store manager, but if not, it is doubly important everyone GET OUT THERE and let your local RS know you want this “stuff” on the shelves.
Parallax is providing Arduinos?! I guess RS and Parallax have an existing relationship, but … that’s almost cruel!
I’m disappointed that the pilot list doesn’t have any stores anywhere in the Eastside area near Seattle – it’s a huge high-tech corridor with Microsoft, Google, and a bunch of smaller companies, but the closest stores listed are in West Seattle, Lake City, Snohomish, etc. – not necessarily hotbeds of maker activity. Doesn’t seem like there was much thought given here to trying to sign up stores based on where the demographic would actually make sense!
Just a clarification.
Arduino supplies the boards directly to RadioShack
massimo banzi, arduino team
It means a 120 mile drive for me, but I will buy several Arduinos, just to help the OSH movement. I encourage everyone to do the same. #OccupyRadioShack would make a great Twitter trend!
How much does the xbee kit cost in the store?
Thanks Massimo! My original post is correctly updated now.
In my opinion this article actually highlights one of Radio Shacks biggest problems. They have inconsistent stock between locations even in corporate locations let alone the franchise locations. The only way you know for sure if your local RS carries something is to call or go there. These inconsistent stock issues combined with clueless retail associates and a lack of competitive pricing have drug RS down as much as any items just completely missing from their lineup. They need to do more then just slap a couple dozen SKU’s in a smattering of stores. If they fix those issues they may have a chance of turning things around. Here’s another idea, actually get involved in the community, host workshops, teach people some of the basics. Home improvement and Craft stores frequently host events like that as it helps move product.
Radioshacks in peoria IL have the most obnoxious staff. I understand that they cant hire engineers, but omg I dont know where they find these people. The odd part is that we have 5 or so in the area, and workers are all the same! there must be one head manager that does the hiring…..
oh wow one of them is the local Shack right down the street from me…will have to check it out after work!
Of course I’d rather buy that kind of stuff from LadyAda, but this would be really handy for those “I just realized I need an XBee RIGHT NOW” moments. Will definitely have to head out to the ONE local store on the list, even though it’s miles away in suburbia, and express enthusiasm by buying some stuff…
Alright! Little Panama City Beach is on the list. I guess spring breakers might need some Arduinos?
I’ll drop $100 to support the cause.
just an FYI, I went to my shack today and they said the stuff wasn’t supposed to come until next week (Tuesday).
2 out of 5 stores in my area, happen to be the 2 newest ones, though there’s one that moved to a new location a few months ago that’s not on the list. Not the highest cell phone stores.
This is a trial, they couldn’t have gone all in on it and added the full line to all 5700 mentioned stores, say 2 of each item, times how many items, talking a large quantity of merchandise and high cost. Just how many xbees have been sold in the past 6 months for example. Supplying all the stores at once might wipe out the supply on some items, and no one really knows what will sell.
In my area for example, the nearest hackerspace type locations I’ve been able to find info on are 3 in the Los Angeles area, 60 miles or more away. I’d expect there would be a demand for one closer, as around 30% of the local 0.5 million people are employed in the aerospace field, and there are x-prize type competitions held close enough that international competitors are sometimes found in the radioshacks looking for parts.
Within that 60 mile range of those spaces there are over 10 million people, there are a whole lot of radioshacks, at a quick guess around 20-25 of which are on that list. Are you going to buy at the radioshack if you don’t need it same day? depends on the price, an arduino is 30 most places online, 35 at makershed, 27.50 on amazon with free shipping. Radioshack will have to charge sales tax(and no one fills out the use tax line when they do their state taxes, where they are supposed to pay tax on out of state and online purchases) and we don’t know which price they will go with. One can hope the 30.00 price, coming to almost 33.00 after tax for most here, but the 35 is a good possibility (considering they still sell the parallax basic stamp kit for 99.99, unless on sale, that even parallax sells directly for 79.99), 27.50 is hopeless.
A retail store has to make enough profit to pay for rent and electricity, payroll for the store employees, shipping, warehouse space, warehouse payroll, etc. times all the locations they have. To stay in business, they can’t compete with suppliers with no retail locations that have lower costs.
Will you buy at Radioshack, especially if they don’t have the particular sensor or relay etc you need for the same project, and so you are going to make an online order anyway? I just don’t see enough demand for arduinos xbees etc to work at a store like Radioshack. A chain with far fewer locations and more floorspace, sure, but to even have 2 employees per store who even know what an arduino is means training 10,000 uninterested people.
For selling them at all stores at $30.00 to work, say each store has to sell 2 a month, that’s 120,000 a year, is there even that kind of demand nationwide for 1 at a time purchases of arduinos?
Radio Shack – You have questions, we have blank stares.
Went to Radio Shack in Milford, MA last evening on my way home from work. I said to the clerk that I heard they were selling Arduino microcontroller boards and I’d like to get one. He went in the back and brought out a Make: Getting Started with Arduino Kit. I really just wanted an UNO board, but I asked him how much for the kit. He spent a few minutes at his point of sale terminal but nothing came up, so even if I wanted to buy the whole kit he wouldn’t be able to sell it to me. Oh well! I’d rather deal with Adafruit anyway.
@3, Metrix Create:Space has Arduinos, basic components and sensors as well as other supplies and tools, and is located on Capitol Hill in Seattle, your local hotbed of Maker Activity.
I tried calling the closest store on the list today. It was like shouting into the wind.