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Very soon, it’s going to be a lot easier to find great projects, materials, and tools for prospective makers to build with and use to expand their skills. This week, just in time for Maker Faire Bay Area, RadioShack and Maker Media announced a major expansion of their partnership.

“Adding to the popular Make line of kits, like ‘Getting Started with Arduino,’ the new cobranded product lineup from Maker Media and RadioShack combine Maker Media’s strength in cultivating and growing the maker movement with RadioShack’s strong retail footprint and DIY heritage,” said Dale Dougherty, founder and CEO of Maker Media. “Our new cobranded products are designed to give makers a path to making while they continue to develop their skills and push the limits of their creativity.”

New Make-branded kits, tools, materials, and guidebooks will start landing in RadioShack stores nationwide this Fall, broadening the availbility of great DIY resources and hopefully introducing many new makers-to-be to the world-wide movement.

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Comments

  1. I’d be ecstatic to be able to walk into a Radio Shack and actually GET electronic components. The 12 drawers of crud they stock around me is horrible.

  2. Jeff Highsmith says:

    I’d like to see RadioShack develop a community outreach program similar to that of REI. In-store classes and community events would not only create customers for RadioShack, it would also advance the state of STEM knowledge. With weekly or monthly meetings at the stores, “The RadioShack Team” could refer to local groups of makers, and not an international cycling team.

    1. Sam Freeman says:

      I’d love to see it happen.

    2. schurz says:

      That’s exactly what I told the manager at the last radio Shack I went to.

      Marc

  3. chuck says:

    Radio Shack shifted their focus away from DIY in favor of cell phone and gadget sales. I don’t fault them. They are a business and they transitioned from a waning market (at the time) to a growing market, managing to survive where others failed. Now that the maker movement is a thing, they are marketing to the scene. Unfortunately, they’re not the store they used to be. They are extremely under stocked, over priced, the staff knows nothing that isn’t cell phone related and they do not support our scene on the local level.
    I tried to hang fliers for our mini maker faire at several local RS stores but was denied. I reached out to the RS website and 1-800 number but I received no response. It’s a lot easier to say ‘Let’s build something together’ in their ads than to actually do it IRL. A community bulletin board to hang club notices and DIY related flyers would be a nice addition.
    A recent project needed three common pots. I had to go to two different locations because the first one only had one in stock. This happens a lot. I go to Radio Shack when I need something and don’t have time to have it delivered, but if I have to drive all over town for a handful of common components, what’s the point? If they want our business they need to have the things we want to buy at a reasonable price.
    The staff are usually very professional and eager to help but they rarely have any knowledge about electronics. If RS wants us back they should invest in training so their sales staff could actually sell what they have.
    It’s sad because Radio Shack was one of my favorite stores as a wee maker. I had a battery club card!

    1. Sheldon says:

      As long as the Maker stuff is in kits this shouldn’t be a problem unless one fries a part somehow.

      1. Or, you know, you want to modify your kit, or build something not from a kit. But let’s face it, there’s not a lot of money in components. You have to maintain way to large a stock in order to have a decent usable range of components, the components don’t turn over quickly, and there’s very little profit to be made there (I mean, we’re talking about parts the retail for what, about $2?). I can’t blame them for moving away from that aspect of things, and I appplaud them for trying to revitalize that part of their business.

        Micro Center has been doing a lot in this area as well. They’ve been building up their inventory of small kits, Arduinos & shields, Raspberry Pis, and robotic components over the past few months, but they really don’t have anything in the way of individual components.

  4. Christopher Palmer says:

    Why the negativity? As someone who grew up being able to buy electronic kits and lots of components at Radio Shack, this warms my heart. Yeah, RS puttered along for too many years distancing themselves from the DIY market – don’t hold it against them. Many small to medium sized cities have no other local sources for parts. We lost the only decent electronics part store here a few years ago and the only non-Radio Shack one remaining has practically nothing made in the last 20 years – you can buy replacement tubes or ancient ICs, but no microcontrollers or anything cool.

    All a negative attitude about Radio Shack’s foray into the Maker community does is send them a message that it doesn’t work. Metaphorically hold your nose and go buy something there – everyone needs another spare Arduino, right?

    1. Christopher Palmer says:

      For the record, the negativity I was responding to was the results of the survey on the right about the likelihood of shopping at a Radio Shack in the near future, where “Definitely Not” was at nearly 50%.

    2. Wilson! says:

      For me, the negativity is based on experience. The RS in my hometown 30 years ago had a whole wall of stuff that today’s electronics hobbyist would kill for access to. Now if you ask the guys at my big-city RS where to find the capacitors, you get a dull stare and “in those drawers over there, I think.”

      I highly doubt RS is worried about a few comments on the Make blog, positive or negative. What will get their attention is whether people actually buy this stuff at their stores. Someone must be doing it, because they’re expanding. For me, it’s easier to go to Frys, about as close as RS, and where I know if I need a small handful of assorted weird-value resistors, I’ll eventually find them (albeit two aisles over from where the signage says).

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