NEW BRITAIN – The RadioShack store in New Brite Plaza, one of the East Main Street shopping center’s oldest tenants, will be among 552 stores closed by the chain in the next three weeks.
Friday’s announcement that the electronics retailer will shut down stores in 46 states and Puerto Rico came one week after its second bankruptcy filing. The closures will affect locations with the “lowest sales velocity and highest rent,” according to Business Insider magazine. The outlets set to go dark account for 36 percent of the chain’s storde, according to the magazine, which reported that 187 stores would close immediately and another 365 would go out of business by the first week of April.
The imminent closing will result in the only vacancy in New Brite Plaza, a 156,000-square-foot complex that houses 23 stores. Nicole Johnson, vice president of retail leasing at Paramount Realty, the property owner, did not return requests for details related to the Radio Shack lease.
The electronics store has been located in New Brite for more than 40 years, opening not long after the shopping center was built, in the mid-1960s.
While national commercial and retail outlets come and go in the city, Gerry Amodio, executive director of the Downtown District, said the RadioShack closing will no doubt make some longtime residents sentimental.
“I don’t think that there was any boy, or even girl at that time, who doesn’t remember taking a city bus to downtown and making a stop at RadioShack, especially in their junior high school years,” Amodio remembers. “At first it might have been to get the newest, smallest transistor radio to listen the latest rock ‘n’ roll tunes on WPOP, or the Sox on WTIC. Then we made the trek to get parts to build that high school science project and shopped there all the way until we went looking for that one present for our own children. RadioShack was truly a piece of Americana … memories of a simpler time, at a slower pace. But we know that change is good, not always easy, but good.”
This round of closures will claim 10 RadioShack stores in Connecticut. In addition to the New Britain location, stores in Bristol, West Hartford, Hartford, New London, Wallingford, Bloomfield, Fairfield, Danbury and New Milford will close. The store on Queen Street in Southington, the last original tenant in the shopping center anchored by Bob’s Discount Furniture, has so far survived the waves of closings.
The Hartford store is in Flatbush Avenue’s Charter Oak Marketplace, also owned by Paramount Realty.
Christopher Fortier can be reached at 860-801-5063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.