LJWorld.com weblogs Town Talk
Longtime electronics retailer set to close final Lawrence store; proposed law would keep track of political affiliations of faculty members
It is still hard to believe a store with such a forward-looking name like RadioShack is slowly going out of business. I suppose I should brace myself for TelegraphHut to close as well. Indeed, the days of RadioShack in Lawrence are very near the end.
The RadioShack store at The Malls shopping center at 23rd and Louisiana is conducting a store closing sale. According to the signs at the location, its last day of business will be Wednesday.
In case you have lost track, that is the last RadioShack store in Lawrence. At one point, RadioShack operated three stores in Lawrence. But the company already has closed its stores near Sixth and Kasold and 31st and Iowa.
For awhile it looked like The Malls store might survive. Not long ago, the store received an updated look and began selling Sprint products. But now it looks like the entire chain is set to close. Bloomberg reported on Friday that its sources say RadioShack’s parent company is preparing to file for bankruptcy. The parent company — General Wireless Operations — bought the RadioShack brand out of a 2015 bankruptcy case. So, many observers are expecting this next bankruptcy will be a straight liquidation.
I’m not sure when RadioShack came to Lawrence, but it has been around for decades. And despite me making fun of the company’s name, the stores were often helpful. I would get 10 minutes of advice, a $2 part, and with such knowledge and supplies I could fix any audio/video device — as long as either of my children were around to help me operate the remote control.
• While we are in The Malls shopping center, I have a few updates there. Family Video is now located in that center, having previously been located across the street at the Louisiana Purchase shopping center. A couple of other businesses, however have closed.
The Kansas Sports Outlet ended up being a short-lived venture at The Malls. We reported in August that the store was opening and would be selling a lot of KU Athletics clothing and merchandise. The company was selling stock that it had left over from the Allen Fieldhouse merchandise store it previously operated. There was talk that the Kansas Sports Outlet would remain in business once it sold that inventory, but apparently the owners decided not to go that route.
There does appear to be one new business going into the center. Renovation work is underway on space next door to the former Bikram Yoga location, which closed this summer. I’ve got a couple of calls in to see what is going into the space. I’ll let you know when I hear more.
In other news from around town:
• The old Bikram Yoga sign at The Malls actually touts the former business as the “Yoga College of India.” That reminded me of a recent news story that I thought was appropriate to share in a college town.
Did you hear about the Iowa state legislator who had some confusion over the definition of a degree? The Washington Post and several other outlets ran an article about Iowa State Sen. Mark Chelgren. One of his online biographies indicated he had a degree in business management from the Forbco Management school.
Well, a television station in Iowa started looking into that and found that the “degree” actually was a certificate from a Sizzler steakhouse that he once worked at. He had to do some in-house training to be eligible for a promotion. The state senator said he didn’t see much difference between the terminology of “degree” versus a “certificate.” The online bio has since been changed, and Chelgren indicated he did not want to argue over “semantics.”
Although it is kind of amusing, I probably wouldn’t have pointed this out had it not been for the other part of the article. Chelgren has been in the headlines in Iowa for a higher education bill he has proposed. It is one that I’m guessing faculty members across Lawrence would at least find interesting.
The Washington Post reported that Chelgren last month filed a bill that would require Regents universities in Iowa to consider the political affiliation of people applying to become faculty members at the university.
The Post reports that the bill would restrict universities from hiring a candidate based on his or her political affiliation, in some cases. The bill seeks to ensure that the percentage of faculty belonging to one political party not exceed by 10 percentage points the faculty belonging to the other political party, The Post reports. Yes, I’m aware there are actually more than two political parties, so I’m not sure exactly how that works.
It makes sense to the Iowa lawmaker, though.
“I’m under the understanding that right now they can hire people because of diversity,” Chelgren told the Des Moines Register. “They want to have people of different thinking, different processes, different expertise. So this would fall right into category with what existing hiring practices are.”
I haven’t heard of any proposal like that for Kansas, but you don’t have to stretch your imagination too much to think of some Kansas lawmakers who might support such a plan.