The longtime RadioShack at 5456 Westbard Avenue, alas, is on the list. By closing the Westwood Shopping Center store, and 360 others, the corporate partners say they will be able to keep "as many as" 1740 remaining stores open nationwide. I'd put the emphasis on the qualifier "as many as" at this point.
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be described as a
This will be a big test for Westwood Shopping Center landlord Equity One. They're said to be retail experts, and this will be the first major vacancy on this property since they took over. GNC was converted into a nail salon a couple of years ago, but this center has been otherwise stable for almost 30 years. After the initial purging of the national chain tenants and hardware store prior to that, in the mid-to-late 80s, there hasn't been much turnover among tenants. [That purge came after the original owner apparently was swayed by politicians' promises that Montgomery County would allow shopping centers to be redeveloped as urban mixed-use centers. Dr. Tauber did not live to see that promise come to pass, but the politicians' 1980s games led to the decline of MoCo retail centers such as Wheaton and Glenmont, as well as Westwood I and II. Landlords did not want to be stuck with long term tenants, if they would be getting the green light for demolition soon. Or so they thought. It was only in 2014 that the Wild West zoning changes were finally passed by a County Council with 8 of 9 members beholden to developers.]
In contrast, Equity One has so far been unable to fill the two most prominent vacant spaces at Westwood Center II across the street, nor the lower level space that's been vacant for several years after West River Deli closed. They've also lost Springhouse Manor Care at the nursing home property across Ridgefield Road this past winter, leaving a virtually-unheard-of vacant building in the 20816 zip code.
No major tenant is going to find moving into a building that may be demolished in a couple of years appealing, adding to the challenge of filling the RadioShack space.
I've bought many an item at this particular RadioShack store since childhood, and am still using many of them, including a portable AM/FM transistor radio that has worked without fail for decades. My shopping there declined exactly in relation to the chain's elimination of the interesting, innovative, and - most importantly - exclusive products RadioShack used to carry.
I used all kinds of audio accessories they had in my guitar and recording setups over the years, and was a big fan of their Tandy computers. They had handheld computers, early laptop prototypes, and the famous Color Computer. Again in the exclusive category, they had several prominent game licenses you couldn't get anywhere else, such as a Poltergeist game based on the classic film.
Apparently, the company took some of that "good advice" from misguided consultants to drop its cool and exclusive products, and sell the same mainstream phones and overpriced earphones, etc., you can buy anywhere.
The much-discussed retro ad RadioShack ran as it reached rock bottom really summed up their basic problem. Yes, the 80s wanted its store back - but Dee Snider, et al, took all the good stuff with them. Want to buy a phone like everyone else has at RadioShack? You're in luck.