Diversifying the business helped this former Radio Shack franchise survive in the age of Amazon
When Bruce Polvi started his Radio Shack franchise in 1990, the internet was barely born and televisions were the size and weight of refrigerators. Today, as Amazon prepares to roll out drone delivery, Radio Shack is a name of a bygone era. For Bruce, it was the start to a successful business that has grown and adapted with help from the SBDC.
After starting in an 800-square-foot retail space, Bruce saw an opportunity to develop a former lumber mill site, turning a closed industrial space into prime retail real estate with help from the SBDC. By successfully developing real estate to meet the needs of the local business community while running the electronics business, Bruce has adapted with technology and market shifts.
Bruce saw a need for a firearms dealer to sell to local law enforcement and started the sporting goods business on the side. When the electronics business changed, Bruce was able to combine the sporting goods business with the electronics business to better serve his customers.
Throughout this time, the SBDC has been there for support. After getting help starting the business in 1990, Bruce returned to the SBDC in 1996 and enrolled in the Small Business Management program, graduating in 1998. He continues to take SBDC classes.
“The SBDC is like a tuneup,” Bruce said. “The evening classes are great for retailers, and they help you see the big picture. I have three degrees from universities, and I view the SBDC as my fourth degree. It is that valuable. It helps you keep in mind all aspects of your business.”