SEASIDE — It’s business as usual at Kennell’s Electronics despite Radio Shack’s decision to file for bankruptcy protection.
The Radio Shack franchise store will continue to have everyday electronics needs, said Nate Keck, assistant manager.
Radio Shack filed Chapter 11 in bankruptcy court on Feb. 5. The Seaside store was fielding calls from concerned customers on Feb. 6.
The folks at Kennell said the writing was on the wall long before the bankruptcy filing.
The store is owned by Dan Kennell and operated with help from Keck; his mother, retired school teacher Nancy Kennell; and his father, Van Kennell.
They’ve been ordering some merchandise from third-party vendors for years. They’re not alone.
“Most franchises have been getting third-party because the margin’s better,” Nancy said.
The Kennells have a laundry list of complaints with Radio Shack’s operations, including its insistence that they carry certain products when they first bought the store nine years ago. The merchandise just didn’t fit the community, Nancy said.
“We’re not Portland; we’re not a big city,” she said. “We match our products to our community. We’re going to stock what our community needs.”
She declined to say exactly what products Radio Shack pushed on the store, but said the upscale items didn’t fit in with what the community wanted.
“I finally put my foot down,” she said.
Over the next few weeks the familiar Radio Shack logo will start disappearing from the store at 1219 S. Roosevelt Dr. as signs are replaced and Radio Shack merchandise sells out.
The store is having an Early Spring Cleaning Sale to move out the Radio Shack branded products. They’ll be replaced with merchandise from other vendors, Keck said.
As for the diodes, transistors and other small electronic parts that built Radio Shack’s brand decades ago, Kennell’s has plenty in stock, and Dan Kennell is confident he’s found a supplier to keep the parts drawers full.
Regular customers will notice very little, Keck said. Most of it will be behind-the-scenes issues of changing the business license, ordering and other things customers don’t see.
“It’s going to be a very smooth transition.”
The store will continue to be a full-service Verizon Wireless store. They’re also happy to offer assistance with electronics from other service providers.
Nancy said Kennell’s can help with gadgets needing new batteries as well. She recently replaced the batteries in a Montgomery Ward garage door opener for a 100-year-old customer. Montgomery Ward closed its doors in 2000.
Business in the store Feb. 5 was brisk, with customers seeking cellphone accessories, small electronics parts and other supplies. The Kennells are already making the transition to the new brand.
Nancy was struggling a little to remember to answer the phone, “Kennell’s Electronics,” instead of “Radio Shack.” It’s worth it, she said.
“At first I was thinking, ‘What are we going to do?’’ she said. “Now I’m thinking we’ll do better.”