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BRW Electronics takes over former RadioShack space in Northampton

  • BRW Electronics store manager John Wright, left, assists customer Arline Corbett of Northampton in transferring her information from an old Android phone to a new one. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Store manager Paula Rackliffe, right, offers technical iPhone advice to customer Dee Dice of Northampton June 14, 2017 at the new Northampton location of BRW Electronics. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Ira Brezinsky, co-owner of BRW Electronics, sets up a Steren speaker June 14, 2017 at the new Northampton location of the business. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • BRW Electronics has a new home on King Street in Northampton in the old RadioShack location. At right, a 3-D printer is displayed. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY PHOTOS

  • USB chargers are displayed June 14, 2017 at the new Northampton location of BRW Electronics.

  • Ira Brezinsky, co-owner of BRW Electronics, organizes merchandise at the new Northampton store. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Headphones are displayed June 14, 2017 at the new Northampton location of BRW Electronics. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • BRW Electronics has a new location on King Street in Northampton, shown June 14, 2017. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Store manager John Wright, left, and co-owner Shelly Brezinsky organize merchandise June 14, 2017 at the new Northampton location of BRW Electronics. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • A 3D printer is displayed June 14, 2017 at the new Northampton location of BRW Electronics. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Customer Bill Arnold of Springfield, left, is assisted by David Osterholt, manager of the Brattleboro branch, June 14, 2017 at the new Northampton location of BRW Electronics. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Store manager Paula Rackliffe, right, offers technical iPhone advice to customer Dee Dice of Northampton June 14, 2017 at the new Northampton location of BRW Electronics. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY



@RebeccaMMullen
Sunday, June 18, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — For those who thought RadioShack’s bankruptcy signaled the end of the neighborhood electronics store, watch out — there’s a new sheriff in town.

BRW Electronics, which for years has operated an electronics store in Brattleboro, Vermont, this month relocated its Greenfield store to 242 King St. in Northampton. The location should be familiar to many, as it’s in the same space formerly occupied by RadioShack before it closed in May.

Owners Ira and Shelly Brezinsky said BRW’s interior has been remodeled so that the store can carry more products including audio, video, computer and mobility equipment, cellphones, accessories, electronic parts, components and batteries.

The store also offers cellphone and tablet repair, delivery and installation services and, in what they hope will set them apart, a backroom “maker space” where amateur and professional tinkerers can meet, collaborate and learn from each other.

“We really want to become a community resource for technology,” Ira Brezinky said during an interview at the store last week. He said a main goal of the store is “to support ‘do-it-yourselfers,’ people interested in tech.”

Brezinsky estimates that the maker space can hold about 12 people. Located in a 350-square-foot former storage room, the space will be outfitted with stools and benches.

The space will hold DIY workshops on everything from 3-D printing to computer building. Brezinsky said he is meeting with community mentors and a representative from a high school robotics club to get feedback on the programming.

“We’ll get it started, but we really want it to be community run and organized,” he said.

All workshops will be free with a nominal fee for parts and equipment. The first workshop is slated for mid-July and will be on soldering, a process that is used to form permanent connection between electronic components.

Move to Northampton

BRW Electronics got its start as a RadioShack franchise in Brattleboro in 1983 and soon grew into its own brand with a second location in Greenfield.

Early this year, the Greenfield store’s lease was up and the couple decided to try something new.

When they saw that the King Street location in Northampton was opening up, the Brezinskys decided to change locations and open a branch in Paradise City. The store opened June 3 with four employees, including the couple.

Northampton RadioShack was one of some 6,500 stores to close nationwide in the last three years as the company filed twice for bankruptcy in 2015 and 2017.

Brezinsky said that the location will help people find the business because they already know it as an electronics store. He’s also excited to have a store located near the Five Colleges because he thinks there will be interest by students in the programs offered in the maker space.

A longtime South Hadley resident, Brezinsky has been a community fixture for nearly 30 years, serving on the School Committee and the Select Board.

He is also president of Music and Arts South Hadley, an organization that promotes the arts in that community.

Music has been a lifelong passion for Brezinsky. Thirty-seven years ago, before he got into electronics, he worked as a high school band director. He said that electronics and music have more in common than people might think.

“Both involve a lot of creativity, slightly different sides of the brain,” he said.

A grand opening ceremony for BRW Electronics scheduled for Aug. 12 will include live music, free food and giveaways.