Could Radio Shack have prospered if it had stuck with its loyal band of hobbyists? Fry’s Electronics certainly did. Since its founding in 1985, Fry’s has managed to do all that Radio Shack ever dreamed about: sell consumer electronics, household appliances, mobile phones, computer hardware and software—as well as electronic components and circuit boards, while also offering in-store hobbyist advice and repair work.
Most electronic hobbyists have long since abandoned Radio Shack for shopping online or, if in a hurry, the well-stocked aisles of electronics superstores like Fry’s. All too often, your correspondent has found himself going to Fry’s for a $7 cable, only to come out with a new motherboard that was on special offer, plus a further eight-gigabytes of memory—happily handing over $150 or more for the pleasure in store. That is the kind of fat-margin business Radio Shack abandoned for the cut-throat world of selling mobile phones.
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