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Where To Get Sets and Parts For discussions about swapmeets, rallies, NVCF and BVWS, car boot sales, antique and charity shops, dealers, newspaper adverts, the local tip and just about any other source of equipment (other than eBay).

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Old 25th Jun 2020, 10:52 pm   #701
Radio Wrangler
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Never used Maplin in any seriousness. In Huddersfield we had Jim Fish's shop as well as Miss Taylor down the bottom of king street. Components were well stocked, plus amateur radio gear and surplus stuff at Jim's. Not fertile ground for Maplin to start in. Hop a train to Leeds and there was M&B under the very station itself.

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Old 27th Jun 2020, 1:45 pm   #702
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I miss "old" Maplins, when they were happy to sell you parts, and stocked everything you might need!

I used Electrovalue a lot for all sorts of parts, virtually every week, when I moved to the current house. They had a shop only a mile or so away in Englefield Green. I was very sorry when they closed and I had to use mail-order.

But then Maplins opened a store close by. Hooray, I thought, and visited soon after they opened. Oh dear, a toystore awash with nasty RC cars, electronic gadgets, home disco lights and parts for PC builders, and staff who were on commission to sell toys, not help with advice.

The response to "have you got 4, 10K resistors", was almost always, "we have one left and can get some more in". OK, components sales were clearly not profitable, but then why bother at all. The component counter was relegated to the furthest reaches of the shop. However, they were a godsend for odd connectors on a Saturday afternoon, to avoid mail-order!

We have a proper little hardware store still only a mile away ("Morleys"). They are helpful, resourceful and friendly. They have been open with careful precautions throughout the epidemic. They sell individual bolts and nuts. I try to buy as much as I can of bits of hardware, softener salt, bug-sprays etc from there, as they deserve to survive, and very often their prices are not that far adrift from the big boys, for whom I would have a 10-20 mile round trip . That's my sort of shop!

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Old 27th Jun 2020, 1:58 pm   #703
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Stockport hasn't had any kind of big DIY shop in the town centre since Homebase moved to Bredbury. There nearest is a B&Q just outside the town centre but it's only really accessible by car.

At least there is a Screwfix up the road from me, which has been useful if I've needed something quickly & didn't want to get the car out.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 4:42 pm   #704
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What I do miss is the components shop with chemist type drawers and old-fashioned counter staffed by middle-aged blokes puffing on pipes - but that is ancient history and only a fading memory for those of us of a certain age.
Here on Tyneside our original shop like that was 'Aitken Brothers' on High Bridge, a narrow street running between Grey St and the Bigg Market. Aitkens sadly went the way Tandy and Maplin did with increasing focus on DJ type equipment and eventually closed.

We thankfully still have E.S.R components in Cullercoats which is almost a reincarnation of Aitkens with components in small trays under glass topped counters, and little drawers on the wall behind the counter, and, the hallmark of a 'real' component shop, you get your parts handed to you in a little white paper bag with the cost added up in biro on the outside of the bag.

In Felling, South Tyneside we also still hopefully have 'Canny Components' who I have ironically only ever seen at radio rallies far and wide across the country, I'll have to try to get to their actual shop some day.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 7:12 pm   #705
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I think both Tandy and Maplins were poor relations to shops like J Birkett as we have here in Lincoln and similar elsewhere. Obviously all are now dwindling out but there are reliable sources online. I think, in the main though, no one supplier is there anymore. it is the Internet as a whole that is the shop of the future.

I liked both Tandy and Maplin. Not for continuous trade, just useful to be there for a quick buy. Many online stores now offer just as quick solutions.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 10:22 pm   #706
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Default Re: Maplin stores

When some semblance of normality breaks out and I next go south to visit the family, I think I want to divert to Cullercoats (now there's a name with radio associations!) and Felling.

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Old 28th Jun 2020, 12:44 am   #707
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I think I want to divert to Cullercoats (now there's a name with radio associations!) and Felling.
Ironically I did it the other way around once, made a day trip all the way up to Fife and back just to visit Jaycee in Glenrothes (when they were still there). I still use the Comet dual-band mobile aerial I bought as my 'reason for going there', so it was quite well worth the trip to get it in... 1994.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 1:18 pm   #708
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Sirius - you might remember the appearance of Phillips shops around the NE way back in the 70's. They were not too much bothered who you were, but I used the PO (Telecomms) letterhead on my orders and got staff discount in the one near4st to me.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 6:58 pm   #709
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Possibly a little before my time, the only thing I remember Philips-related here was that when I started my first job in a radio and TV shop ~ 1979 we would occasionally make trips across to the west side of Newcastle to some sort of Philips parts distribution centre - mainly for Philips specific TV parts like LOPTs, I would imagine. Maybe it was one of the shops you refer to, I never went in. My job was always to guard the works Austin Maxi and drive off if anyone tried to put a ticket on it.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 7:58 pm   #710
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Default Re: Maplin stores

It's interesting to note that in the retail-park which once hosted my nearest [an hour's round-trip-drive from here] Maplin store, since Maplin folded the following other businesses have folded:

Laura Ashley
Homebase
Mothercare
Early Learning Centre
Staples
Frankie&Bennys.

And a couple of furniture/bed retailers whose names I forget.

"Big Box" retail is definitely not a good market-sector to be in.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 10:59 pm   #711
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I was in Cheltenham about 4 years, ago and there almost in the town centre was (I hope it still is) a fabulous electronic components shop of the old fashioned type. Unfortunately I couldnt think of anything I wanted at the time. Still kick myself.
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Old 29th Jun 2020, 7:41 am   #712
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I was in Cheltenham about 4 years, ago and there almost in the town centre was (I hope it still is) a fabulous electronic components shop of the old fashioned type.
Thatíll be Hardings it the Lower High St. I havenít been there in the last year or so but it still appears on Streetview so I suspect itís still open.

Hugh
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Old 29th Jun 2020, 10:26 am   #713
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My job was always to guard the works Austin Maxi and drive off if anyone tried to put a ticket on it.
Having owned an Austin Maxi I would have stood by and let them tow it away... John.

Nobody makes anything anymore. We had a 25 year old guy at the museum that had never held a screwdriver let alone actually use it. Many young guys and many not so young, don't even know how to do simple home maintenance such as redecorating a room properly, change a tap washer, unblock a drain or put up a simple shelf. 'Often they wail, I haven't been trained' Neither was I but I soon taught myself with the aid of books. Information looked up on phones is forgotten five minutes later. They just get on their phone and 'call someone'.

The shops that supplied the needs of the handyman have gone for ever. The so called DIY stores sell more toys and beds than tools and screws. It's an age thing. Nobody wants to get their hands dirty anymore and prefer to spend their spare time in the GYM rather than doing some useful work.
Oh well, There you go. John.
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Old 29th Jun 2020, 10:52 am   #714
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Default Re: Maplin stores

It can depend, my brother in law & cousin's husband are both a few years younger than me and better than me at DIY than I am.
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Old 29th Jun 2020, 12:19 pm   #715
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Sorry to see Maplin disappear, but, as is often emphasised, we're today experiencing rapid evolution in online retail - and overall I believe it's beneficial.

I grew up in Doncaster with numerous shops selling electronic components and other useful bits, for example, from memory: -

'Chiefy' Brown, so called because he always addressed customers as 'chief'.

Ketley & Taylor, mainly ex-WD kit, but wouldn't touch transistors because 'they melt in the heat of your hand'.

'Alf's Bargain Store' stocked all sorts of ex-WD components, some of 'interesting' dubious origin, Alf's little boxes of ex-WD wax paper capacitors were in impressive tropical packing, but were already leaky straight from stores!

Ramskir & Son were primarily a joinery and DIY retailer, but had a prodigious range of electronic components in the back room.

Plus there was always 'Smith Bros' the electrical wholesaler - as long as you knew the right people to be permitted to buy there.

So buying components typically involved a search round various shops - it took time, but was interesting. On the other hand, today online mail order is quick and cheap, with a next day service. No need nowadays to wait till you have time to visit the shops, and 'wholesalers' like RS and Farnell will sell to anyone.

As an afterthought, when it comes to DIY appliance repairs, it's remarkable what a great range of spares is available online today. What's more the spares companies even publish videos on Youtube showing how to do the fitting job.

Overall, I think we're remarkably well served today, despite the sad demise of the likes of Maplin.

Martin
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 4:56 pm   #716
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Default Re: Maplin stores

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Originally Posted by Stockden View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicam49 View Post
I was in Cheltenham about 4 years, ago and there almost in the town centre was (I hope it still is) a fabulous electronic components shop of the old fashioned type.
That’ll be Hardings it the Lower High St. I haven’t been there in the last year or so but it still appears on Streetview so I suspect it’s still open.

Hugh
Hardings is still very much there though I think it is his son running it now - not used it for several years.

I did ask him (Harding snr) when Maplin's first opened whether it had damaged his business. His somewhat surprising response was no, it had caused a significant upturn. It seems that the Maplin staff were all well aware of his existence and passed a lot of customers on to him after they had been drawn in by the presence of Maplin for items they did not stock.

Don't know how it his now. The shop looks unchanged - still a bit like the ex WD shops of their time.

Chris K
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 12:07 pm   #717
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I can't be the only one who prefers a specific, specialised experience to a generic warehouse selling a variety of the same Chinese tat as everywhere else. A local components shop would be brilliant. Here we have a fasteners place where it's not impossible to take in a screw of unknown thread and buy a couple of new ones when they've worked out what it is. No matter how convenient the online shopping experience is, it cannot compare with the ability to inspect a product for feel and size before purchase - I've been caught out with connectors bought mail order before now, which I wouldn't have got had I been able to see them in a shop. I suppose the problem is the rent, which is generally outrageous for residential and commercial places. Instead of sad-looking high streets, shuttered or populated by bookmakers and charity shops, there could be a concerted effort to make these places affordable for relatively low-volume emporia.

While it's not convenient for me to go to Cheltenham and buy components, I'd love to have such a shop in town so when I cycle in for groceries I could come away with some capacitors as well. Having more such shops would also mean my generation would be exposed to the concept of repair and the associated tools and experience rather than having it apparently accessible online, but also distant.

Rather like cricket - they wonder why the game is struggling to find new players, but don't look at how it's not been on free-to-air TV since before I was born!
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 3:02 pm   #718
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Here we have a fasteners place where it's not impossible to take in a screw of unknown thread and buy a couple of new ones when they've worked out what it is.
JEB Supplies used to be the place for me years ago.

Lawrence.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 3:13 pm   #719
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Default Re: Maplin stores

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Here on Tyneside our original shop like that was 'Aitken Brothers' on High Bridge, a narrow street running between Grey St and the Bigg Market. Aitkens sadly went the way Tandy and Maplin did with increasing focus on DJ type equipment and eventually closed.
I well remember Aitkens. Got started in electronics in my early/mid teens buying stuff from them. Although I recall through the intervening five decades that they were somewhat expensive. Plus the return bus fare from Ryton.

Even so, I was sad to see them go, even though I last lived permanently in the NE in 1974.

But there was a common thread to the demise of Aitkens, Tandy and Maplins - you dumb down at your peril. They miss the point that it is far easier to keep existing customers than to win new ones; Business ABC.

Craig
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 5:30 pm   #720
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Default Re: Maplin stores

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Quote:
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Originally Posted by nicam49 View Post
I was in Cheltenham about 4 years, ago and there almost in the town centre was (I hope it still is) a fabulous electronic components shop of the old fashioned type.
Thatíll be Hardings it the Lower High St. I havenít been there in the last year or so but it still appears on Streetview so I suspect itís still open.

Hugh
Hardings is still very much there though I think it is his son running it now - not used it for several years.

I did ask him (Harding snr) when Maplin's first opened whether it had damaged his business. His somewhat surprising response was no, it had caused a significant upturn. It seems that the Maplin staff were all well aware of his existence and passed a lot of customers on to him after they had been drawn in by the presence of Maplin for items they did not stock.

Don't know how it his now. The shop looks unchanged - still a bit like the ex WD shops of their time.

Chris K
Ive not used it since the lockdown but previously i used to wander in there to get bits n bobs , always something different to look at .
Its very old school which is great , not even a website as far as i am aware although if you google Hardings it does come up on a variety of sites.
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