RADIOSHACK AT COOK’S CORNER Shopping Mall in Brunswick, as seen Friday. RadioShack may be closing its Brunswick and Topsham locations.

RADIOSHACK AT COOK’S CORNER Shopping Mall in Brunswick, as seen Friday. RadioShack may be closing its Brunswick and Topsham locations.

BRUNSWICK

RadioShack’s stores in Brunswick and Topsham are on a list of shops that will be closing their doors, although it’s uncertain when.

RadioShack, which was founded nearly a century ago, said in its Chapter 11 filing on Thursday that it plans to sell 1,500 to 2,400 stores to its largest shareholder, investment firm Standard General. It is seeking to close the remainder of its 4,000 U.S. stores.

Sprint has a deal with Standard General. Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier, plans to open mini-shops in stores Standard General is buying. It would take up about onethird of the retail space in each store, and Sprint employees would sell mobile devices and Sprint plans.

Sprint would be the primary brand on those RadioShack storefronts and marketing materials.

The deal is expected to be wrapped up in the coming months. But other parties could bid for RadioShack’s stores in the bankruptcy process.

The 2,920-square-foot store at Cook’s Corner Shopping Mall is one of a several stores on the company’s list of stores that may potentially close. Stores in communities including Topsham, Augusta, Auburn, South Portland and Wells may also be shuttering.

Not all Maine stores appear on the list, such as locations listed on the company website in Falmouth and Biddeford.

A manager at the Cook’s Corner store referred questions to RadioShack’s corporate office.

A RadioShack spokeswoman on Friday said she was unable to say how it was determined which stores will close, noting that the list was “fluid.” The spokeswoman referred additional questions to the company’s website.

Rob Nolon, store manager for RadioShack at the Topsham Fair Mall, said closures were attributed to location, as opposed to store performance. Nolon’s store employs only four people now, but he warned that vendors and sales representatives from companies such as Samsung could also be affected by the closures.

Nolon said he hasn’t received word on when his store will close, but noted that, starting Friday, everything went on sale.

RadioShack Corp. introduced one of the first mass market personal computers and used to be the go-to stop for consumers’ home electronics needs. But it struggled as shoppers increasingly moved online and growth in its wireless business slowed. It has suffered years of losses.

RadioShack had warned of a possible bankruptcy in September, but received rescue financing that kept it afloat. Still, its CEO recently cautioned the chain might not be able to find a longterm plan to stay in business.

The company worked hard on its turnaround efforts, hiring Walgreen Co. executive Joe Magnacca as its CEO and former Treasury Department adviser Harry Wilson as chief revitalization officer. It also developed relationships with popular brands like Beats Audio and redesigned almost half of its U.S. locations — some 2,000 stores — in an effort to entice younger shoppers.

The company, which has not turned a profit since 2011, employs about 27,500 people worldwide, according to its last annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

It is seeking court approval to keep paying employees, honor customer programs and keep operating as it restructures.

The closures will be another blow to the Cook’s Corner area, which has seen an exodus of retailers in the area since the Great Recession of the previous decade and the closure of the Brunswick Naval Air Station in 2011.

While developers such as George Schott and Jim Howard have been investing in new developments in the area, existing strips malls Merrymeeting Plaza and Cook’s Corner Shopping Mall have many prominent, empty storefronts.

“It’s getting lonely out here,” said Chris Tupper, gesturing to the vacant storefronts at Cook’s Corner Shopping Mall on Friday.

Tupper, an electrical engineer, said he shopped at RadioShack “frequently” for components and the “occasional odd part” for his business, Raven Technology of Brunswick. He was at RadioShack purchasing a kit for a microprocessing project. That kind of kit, he said, is more difficult to get from distributors.

“I’m not sure where I’ll be going to get the little pieces that I need for my electronics projects work,” he said.

Tupper added that the store’s closure is “going to be a loss to the community.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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