Bring back some good or bad memories


October 28, 2023

Who Remembers Someone Who Had This? Radio Shack’s Ads for One of the First Mobile Phones in the Late 1980s

In the early days of mobile phones, advertisements stressed their usefulness in business and staying connected. Mobile phones could go from car to office to home. These ads for Radio Shack cellphones, which appeared in the late 1980s emphasize the high status of cellphone users and the portability of the phones.

In today’s dollars, the $799 sale price in 1989 for Radio Shack’s “most powerful, transportable cellular phone system” (featured in the video above) would be more than $1,900, and the full price of $1,139 would be more than $2,800. Note also that to get the $799 sale price you had to sign up for Radio Shack’s “authorized cellular phone carrier” service.

RadioShack (formerly written as Radio Shack) is an American electronics retailer founded in 1921. It was initially established as an amateur radio mail-order business centered in Boston, Massachusetts. Its parent company, Radio Shack Corporation, was purchased by Tandy Corporation in 1962, shifting its focus from radio equipment to hobbyist electronic components. At its peak in 1999, Tandy operated over 8,000 RadioShack stores in the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

By the mid-2000s, RadioShack was facing financial decline. In February 2015, after years of management crises, poor worker relations, diminished revenue, and 11 consecutive quarterly losses, RadioShack was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange and subsequently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In May 2015, the company’s assets, including the RadioShack brand name and related intellectual property, were purchased by General Wireless, a subsidiary of Standard General, for US$26.2 million.

In March 2017, General Wireless and subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy, claiming that a store-within-a-store partnership with Sprint was not as profitable as expected. As a result, RadioShack shuttered several company-owned stores and announced plans to shift its business primarily online.

RadioShack was acquired by Retail Ecommerce Ventures, a holding company owned by Alex Mehr and self-help influencer Tai Lopez, in November 2020. Currently, RadioShack operates primarily as an e-commerce website with a network of independently owned and franchised RadioShack stores, as well as a supplier of parts for HobbyTown USA.

On March 2, 2023, Retail Ecommerce Ventures announced that it was mulling a possible bankruptcy filing. In May 2023 RadioShack was purchased by Unicomer Group, a company based in El Salvador. Unicomer Group is one of the largest franchisors of RadioShack with stores based in El Salvador, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.


Post a Comment



Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10