I have fond memories of TRS-80 computers in elementary school. But really, for me, Radio Shack was the place I went to get the random wires, cables, batteries, adapters and assorted junk that I needed to connect the random pieces of tech I had collected. And back when I had Commodore computers, component stereo systems and more, Radio Shack was the key to connecting everything.
The last time I walked in a Radio Shack was four years ago. I needed a cable – an odd cable – and so I stopped by the Radio Shack near my work. I walked in and worked my way through all the cell phones to the back corner where they had a limited selection of cables. When I couldn't find the cable I needed, one of their associates recommended that I try Best Buy or Amazon.
You might think this tale shows they lost focus. That they somehow lost their way. But in reality, the market they created doesn't exist anymore. They knew that.
At some point – obviously too late – Radio Shack realized they weren't going to survive selling cables and accessories and so they branched out. Consumer electronics systems have gotten simpler and the places that sell them – like Best Buy and Target – sell all the cables and adapters you need. The specialty stuff, you can order from Amazon.
No one needs to make a special trip to a second store to buy cables. So basically, they tried to reinvent themselves to be a cross between a cell phone sales center and a mini Best Buy. Give them credit... they tried to change. But Best Buy has a hard enough time making money even at its scale. Radio Shack never really had a chance.