No sooner had Western Radio Electronics moved its store back to Kearny Mesa from Mira Mesa than Zack Electronics swept in and purchased its assets and sent its employees home. Mike Richards, who sold supplies at Western for 32 years total, said he was laid off in October.
It’s no secret that electronics retailing has suffered from a combination of increased web mail order purchasing and a decrease in do-it-yourself hobby activity as modern electronics has used large scale integration techniques increasingly difficult to build and test. In San Diego, only Willy’s Electronics remains as a strong source of audio/video installation supplies and electronic components. Gateway Electronics and its derivative SD Electronics have closed.
Mike said that all stock was sent to Zack during by end of August from a temporary facility on Convoy Court. “I understand Zack has a will call department and counter but no real storefront as majority of sales are by phone or internet,” he said.
“At the time I officially retired from Western Radio I had been with the company starting downtown in 1973 working in the stock room and shipping department, and filled in on counter sales for only 2 years, at which time I was hired by Honor Marine Communications to be a buyer and estimator for repairs and maintenance on the tuna boats (also did some bench repair work when needed in shop).
“I was re-hired by Western Radio in 1984 to become Purchasing Manager upon retirement of the head of that department. At the high of Western Radio I was managing 2 additional buyers, 1 purchasing clerk, and shipping and receiving personnel.”
Jim Dujiwich bought the company in 2004 and moved it to Mira Mesa, where it floundered with low inventory and a poor location.
Mike continued, “It was always fun and really enjoyed getting to know all the customers of Western Radio. It was sad for me to see an institution close down that had been in San Diego since 1932, but as we all know, times change and local distribution just could not maintain the kind of sales that almost all manufactures wanted to retain dealerships.”
Mike is continuing with a side business he has had since 1971, setting up live sound events, and consulting and design work for small- to medium-sized churches, resorts, and businesses. Anyone can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.