RadioShack’s second bankruptcy in two years may have brought its company-owned stores to the edge of oblivion, but it has apparently sparked a renaissance among the chain’s approximately 425 independent franchisees.
As Wisconsin dealer-owner PJ Kruschel explains, inventory is beginning to flow again, and the departure of the corporate stores has ramped up customer demand and unshackled RadioShack dealers from restrictions on expansion.
Kruschel, who will grand-open the country’s first post-bankruptcy RadioShack tomorrow in Baraboo, Wis., shared his observations in an email to TWICE, which we posted below with his permission:
“I’ve owned a RadioShack dealer store for the past ten years and just opened a new store a couple weeks ago. It’s the first new RadioShack since the latest bankruptcy. There is another store opening in Utah and a couple more in Tennessee coming in the near future, but I’m the first.
“Us dealers are now in charge of re-growing the company. Unlike the corporate stores, we have the flexibility to adjust for our markets. For instance, my original store, in the Wisconsin Dells, rents movies, does computer and phone repair, and sells lots of items tourists might need, like specialty chargers for laptops, cameras, etc.
“My second store started as a repair shop, doing computer and phone repair, and selling refurbished phones, laptops and accessories. We added Boost Mobile and now RadioShack.
“Our grand opening is this Saturday [Aug. 26] from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., where we’ll be giving away lots of stuff like Green Bay/Minnesota tickets, a 55-inch Toshiba TV, Sennheiser headphones and lots more. Plus we’ll be installing free tempered-glass screen protectors on phones.
“In the last couple months RadioShack has been refilling their warehouse and we’ve been seeing much more traffic from customers driving up to an hour-and-a-half away to get those essential parts and pieces available only in a RadioShack.
“The future for us existing dealers and prospective small business owners looking to open a RadioShack has been impressive. Dealers are evaluating new markets in larger cities that used to be off limits due to RadioShack corporate stores having a presence there. The rule of thumb was any city with a population over 10,000 was off limits for us dealers. Now, cities like Chicago, Nashville, Milwaukee, etc., are not only open, but RadioShack is encouraging us to open in these markets.”
– PJ Kruschel, Dells and Baraboo RadioShack