Hyannis, Plymouth Radio Shack stores to close

The futures of other Cape locations remain uncertain

The Radio Shack stores in Hyannis at Cape Town Plaza and the Cape Cod Mall will close by March 31st according to bankruptcy court documents filed by the retailer on Thursday. The Plymouth store is slated to close by February 28th.

Locations in Orleans, Falmouth, South Yarmouth, South Dennis and East Wareham are not on the bankruptcy closing list. A New York Times story published on February 5th stated that Sprint and hedge fund Standard General agreed to buy 1,500 to 2,400 of Radio Shack’s 4,000 company-owned US stores. Sprint is anticipated to run special “store within a store” departments in up to 1,750 of those stores.

Many Cape Codders purchased their first computer from a local Radio Shack store. The TRS-80 (affectionately called the “Trash-80”) was one of the first mass-marketed microcomputers. Radio Shack’s enormous retail footprint made early personal computers accessible to consumers who wanted to visit a store and see the machine function. Local Radio Shack stores became something of a Mecca for early computer hobbyists. In the mid-1980s the Radio Shack store in South Yarmouth was designated as a “business center” and helped many small businesses get started in word processing, bookkeeping and desktop publishing.

One veteran of the local tech industry told us about his 1984 purchase of a TRS-80 Model 4P “luggable” computer. “The Model 4P was about the side of a sewing machine and cost $1,795. A 15 megabyte hard drive, which was as big as a VCR, sold for $2,495. The 4P had two 5 1/4 inch floppy drives and a built-in 9 inch black-and-white monitor. It boasted a 4 megahertz processor and 128 megabytes of RAM. Today I carry in my pocket a 16 gigabyte flash drive in my pocket that cost $6.99 and my phone is infinitely more powerful than the old TRS-80. Still, many of us cut our teeth on those machines and still have a soft spot in our heart for Radio Shack.”

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