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January 12, 2015 AT 12:58 pm

What’s Happening With Heathkit and RadioShack? By Lou Frenzel @ElectronicDesgn #makerbusiness

Heathkit-2

What’s Happening With Heathkit and Radio Shack? By Lou Frenze @ Communiqué / Electronic Desgn.

One of our favorite electronic suppliers is gone and the other may be on their way out of business.  I wonder why?  Given the continued growth and popularity of electronic equipment and the emergence of the maker DIY movement, you would think business would be booming for both.

You remember Heathkit, the world’s largest kit provider.  They went out of business in 1992 but the Educational Systems group of Heahtkit survived until 2012.  Then in December of 2013, the owners of the Heathkit brand and IP held an online Q&A asking potential customers what they wanted in the way of new products.  There was an implied tease of forthcoming new products within about a year.  It has yet to emerge.  Did they get cold feet or just run out of money?

As an ex-VP at Heathkit, I often wonder what I would have done if I owned the assets.  Heathkit is widely known and much admired and many have expressed enthusiasm about buying new kits.  There is an existing market but I think time is running out.  Before too long those who remember Heathkit will be gone and that nascent market will go away.  I’m not saying they could not make it without the gray-hair enthusiasts but it would be difficult.  My grandkids do not know Heathkit nor do the mass of 20 and 30-somethings that are potential buyers.  The Heathkit owners better get a move on and do something soon or lose a rare chance to make a great come-back. 

…Creating innovative new kits is not easy. I would probably try for some ham radio products.  The amateur radio market is relatively small…

A former VP at Heathkit! Read more.


See our previous article(s) – Heathkit: The electronic History Mystery.


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