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From The Road: Radio Shack Alternatives

From The Road: Radio Shack Alternatives



Active Surplus (Image property of OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

Believe it or not, there was a time when Radio Shack was actually a cool place to visit for electronics enthusiasts. These days the shelves are lined with the same crap that put The Sharper Image out of business, but as a kid I remember them carrying some pretty cool robots (Robie Junior joined our family one year), computers (remember the Tandy?) and electronic components that were actually useful. Those days are long gone but thankfully there’s a much better alternative where I live. Active Surplus is the kind of place that attracts a wide range of people from geeks to hackers to artists, and it’s mostly due to their eclectic stock of merchandise.

Active Surplus (Image property of OhGizmo!)

There’s kind of an ‘anything goes’ mentality at Active and you can find everything from empty Lacie drive cases, to chemistry glassware, to any kind of computer, audio or video cable you can imagine. And more importantly, most of the stuff is dirt cheap. The staff is also very knowledgeable (one thing Radio Shack never had) and while they don’t tend to roam the store (the aisles are pretty narrow) they’re always ready to help you find what you need. After the jump you’ll find a few more pictures I took during my most recent visit.

[ Active Surplus ]


Active Surplus (Image property of OhGizmo!)

Active Surplus (Image property of OhGizmo!)

Active Surplus (Image property of OhGizmo!)

Active Surplus (Image property of OhGizmo!)

Active Surplus (Image property of OhGizmo!)

Active Surplus (Image property of OhGizmo!)

Active Surplus (Image property of OhGizmo!)

Active Surplus (Image property of OhGizmo!)

Active Surplus (Image property of OhGizmo!)

Active Surplus (Image property of OhGizmo!)

Active Surplus (Image property of OhGizmo!)









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  • http://chevelin.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    For Midwesterners, check out American Science and Surplus. Same premise: cheap stock of electronics and science gadgets and parts!

    http://www.sciplus.com/stores.cfm

  • http://www.globalspynetwork.com Scott

    Looks like heaven to me. When I lived in Portland, we had Wacky Willy’s, which was a huge place with this kind of stuff. Sadly, it’s closed now…although my wallet is fuller and my garage doesn’t have so much weird stuff in it.

  • Raoul

    Man oh man do i love going to Active.. if only there was something like that for us over in Ottawa, sure we have bits and pieces but nothing like Active

  • http://www.majid.info/ Fazal Majid

    The SF Bay Area equivalent is Weird Stuff:
    http://www.weirdstuff.com/

  • Koskun

    Ok, this may be a minor thing, and perhaps you changed the name on purpose, but it is spelled RadioShack, no space.

  • Aaron Davis

    There is a store something like this (even has the box of random arms and legs!) in St. Paul MN called ax-man surplus
    the people there really have a sense of humor, every item is tagged with a goofy description

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Cardwell/721536100 Dave Cardwell

    Geez I miss this store. I used to live in Oakville and I used to go down every second Saturday to the Queen st Store and spend hours looking through parts. I moved to Vancouver in 97 and I miss all the parts and Fred and the guys and all the fun. Sigh… Now I’m looking for a lousy 4″ speaker and can’t find anything here. If I went to Active Surplus I would find 100 possibilities and a dozen more cool parts for later.. How depressing this is.. I