RadioShack, I Hope You Bounce Back
RadioShack, a mainstay of the downtown business community for decades, is leaving its riverfront home this week and will consolidate what’s left of its operations at a distribution center in north Fort Worth.
The bankrupt company’s headquarters staff, down to about 50 people, will relocate from the west end of a campus it built along the Trinity River, now owned by Tarrant County College, to space in a warehouse on Terminal Road north of the Fort Worth Stockyards, which it also once owned.
The nearly century-old electronics retailer has downsized dramatically, closing most of its stores nationwide since filing for a second Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March. But it doesn’t plan to shut down completely.
Instead, it has proposed moving forward with its e-commerce business, RadioShack.com, and a network of more than 400 franchised dealers that operate mostly in smaller communities. It also continues to operate 27 company-owned stores, with some in the Houston area, and plans to keep retail locations in Texas, Colorado and New York.
A confirmation hearing on its reorganization plan is scheduled for Oct. 25 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., and the company hopes to exit bankruptcy by the end of the year.
“We’re confident that there is a future in RadioShack online and in the dealer business,” said Steve Moroneso, the chief operating officer who is now running the company’s day-to-day business. RadioShack’s last chief executive officer, Dene Rogers, left in July.
Moroneso said that eight dealer locations have opened in the last 90 days and that the company is in discussions for 18 additional stores.
RadioShack has been a presence downtown since the 1960s, when Charles Tandy bought the small electronics chain and moved it from Boston to Fort Worth.
The company would grow and prosper through the 1970s and 1980s within the Tandy Corp. conglomerate, anchored in the Tandy Towers complex now known as City Place. In the late 1990s, with its other companies spun out, Tandy changed its name to RadioShack Corp. and, in 2005, moved into a sprawling $200 million headquarters complex it built for itself on the Trinity River.
But before long, its business started deteriorating under pressure from online competitors such as Amazon.com, wireless phone stores and the advent of devices such as Apple’s iPhone.
The company first filed for bankruptcy in 2015 after sustaining heavy losses for three years. RadioShack closed more than half of its 4,000 stores and sold about 1,700 locations to General Wireless, a unit of the Standard General hedge fund. It signed a deal to co-brand locations with Sprint, but that arrangement fell apart, leading to the second bankruptcy filing this year.
It has steadily reduced its headquarters space at the sprawling riverfront campus, down to about 4,000 square feet. It leases about 120,000 square feet at the north-side distribution center, where it employs about 20 people.
The company’s only remaining store in North Texas, in Weatherford, is expected to close soon.