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The term was already in use — and is to this day — by hams when referring to the location of their stations. In 1954, Radio Shack began selling its own private-label products under the brand name Realist, changing the brand name to Realistic after being sued by Stereo Realist.
After expanding to nine stores plus an extensive mail-order business, the company fell on hard times in the 1960s.
In 1996, Radio Shack successfully petitioned the US Federal Communications Commission to allocate frequencies for the Family Radio Service, a short-range walkie-talkie system which proved popular. The cards also served as generic business cards for the salespeople.
They chose the name "Radio Shack", which was the term for a small, wooden structure that housed a ship's radio equipment.
The Deutschmanns thought the name was appropriate for a store that would supply the needs of radio officers aboard ships, as well as hams (amateur radio operators).
In 1994, the company introduced a service known as "The Repair Shop at Radio Shack", through which it provided inexpensive out-of-warranty repairs for more than 45 different brands of electronic equipment.
it hoped to leverage these to build customer relationships and increase store traffic.
Private-label brands from lower-cost manufacturers displaced name brands to raise Radio Shack profit margins; Customer data from the former Radio Shack mail-order business determined where Tandy would locate new stores.
As an incentive for them to work long hours and remain profitable, store managers were required to take an ownership stake in their stores. Tandy, who had guided the firm through a period of growth in the 1960s and 1970s, died of a heart attack at age 60 in November 1978.
Radio Shack is an American chain of wireless and electronics stores, founded in 1921 and since 2017 has approximately 28 remaining corporate locations, which are owned by General Wireless Operations, Inc., who are leasing the name from Kensington Capital Holdings.
Radio Shack operates as an online website and the name is licensed to approximately 425 independently owned franchise stores.
By 1990/1991, Tandy was the world's biggest manufacturer of personal computers as its OEM manufacturing capacity was building hardware for Digital Equipment Corporation, GRi D, Olivetti, AST Computer, Panasonic, and others.
The company manufactured everything from store fixtures to computer software to wire and cable, TV antennas, audio and video tape. House-brand products, which Radio Shack had long marked up heavily, were replaced with third-party brands already readily available from competitors.
In 1982, the breakup of the Bell System encouraged subscribers to own their own telephone extensions instead of renting them from local phone companies; Radio Shack offered twenty models of home phones.