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You-do-it, landmark electronics store, shutting down

You-do-it logo

You-do-it Electronics Center, which has been selling electronic components and equipment for 75 years, announced today it's closing its doors.

In e-mail to customers today, the store, now located in Needham right off Rte. 128, did not give a specific final day:

As we prepare for this transition, we encourage you to come say goodbye and take advantage as we sell off our existing inventory and place special orders for popular products. Additionally, we will be selling office furniture and industrial shelving at deep discounts.

You-do-it started in Boston - quickly becoming one of the largest distributors of vacuum tubes in the state - but moved to larger quarters in Needham in 1964.

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Comments

Handy little piece of equipment.

I was just down there last week to use Logan. Now I gotta race back?

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Voting closed 29

Sad to see You-do-it close. It was legendary among the engineering/electronics crowd.

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Voting closed 59

It's been a long while, but I used them a few times in the past to find various things. So much has changed with the ability to find almost anything on the web - usually at reasonable prices. I don't know if You-do-it did web sales, but even if they did I'm amazed they were able to stay open this long.

I still like fixing things, but I suspect I'm a small minority these days.

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Voting closed 35

There’s a good reason DIY videos on YT are so popular: you’ve still got good company in the “I fix it” camp!

But the parts are indeed too readily available online.

It’s the expertise of the employees that we will miss the most, I’m afraid … perhaps they will move into The Tube?

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Voting closed 29

I feel rally bad to see it go but I am definitely one of those people that only had been a handful of times. It was too far away for most items but if you needed something RIGHT NOW it was definitely the place to go. I wish I had more of a reason to support them over the years because I think having people that know what they are talking about on a sales floor is huge.

Most interior components can not be replaced and exterior components are either universal and can be found all over the place or made to be proprietary and ordered right from the company. Even if stuff was not available online as readily that really starts cutting a place like this out since basic things like USBC can be found at Walgreens now.

It really is also a symptom of the disposable electronic culture we are experiencing where nothing is replaceable. If a small component blew we used to be able to crack it open and replace it with a five dollar item. Now you gotta throw the whole device out.

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Voting closed 26

seeing that sign from 128 meant I was almost home. Haven’t been there in ages, but what a great store. Spent a lot of time there back when I was in bands in high school and we built all kinds of random stuff for our stage set up. Sorry to see it go - there’ll never be anything else like it.

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Voting closed 34

What will happen to the You-do-it sign?

It's the Citgo sign of the Route 128 "America's technology highway" era, like "Roadrunner" sung in neon.

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Voting closed 50

Good chance Dave Waller will pick it up. He is the resident curator of Boston’s neon history.

https://www.rosekennedygreenway.org/the-collector-of-crazy-cool-shapes-d...

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Voting closed 22

I'm sad to see it go. Back in the day it was an excellent resource if you needed a component in a hurry. Lots of good stuff for home built electronics and ham radio operators too. Their component sales dwindled to almost nothing some time ago, but in the 1980s it was a go-to place. My nerd buddies and I affectionately called it "You Blew It Electronics" and went there to get stuff frequently.

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Voting closed 30

Back in the day it was an excellent resource if you needed a component in a hurry.

They were a go-to when I worked field service and was based right across the highway in Needham.

When I didn't have a spare, I even repaired CCTV monitors by breaking out the soldering iron and replacing components at customer sites. Pretty sure anything like that would just get trashed and replaced now.

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Voting closed 16

This one hurts.

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Voting closed 31

average people knew a lot more about how things worked, and how to fix them. Massachusetts was at the center of the computer revolution and the space race. I know that was then and this is now, and we are at the center of biotech and whatever, but in those days it seemed like it was more cool to create than to consume.

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Voting closed 37

Wanting to support a local business, a couple of years ago I looked at their website in hopes of placing an order. The first time I looked, I found two different websites, apparently both official, with slightly different spellings of their name (something like youdoit and you-do-it); but only one of them offered online sales. Google, interestingly, took me to the site which didn't work. On the working site, I found a couple of items that might work, and decided to try again later.

A few months later, I went back. Only one website was active then; but nearly all of the items posted were listed as out of stock or coming soon.

For a tech-oriented business, the failings of their website(s) were a harbinger of things to come. I suspect that they just hadn't assigned adequate staff to update the online inventory listings.

[Living in Cambridge as I do, the schlep out to Needham wasn't worth the hassle for just a few items, especially if their website suggested they weren't available.]

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Voting closed 18

I'm sad though I can't really say I've contributed enough to expect a different outcome. The 3 times I've been to the place has been very useful as I needed fuses and they've got it with expertise to help me by by brining over the fuse. But such a purchase was only a few dollars.

That said, the most recent visit was only a few weeks ago. I can't say I'm surprised they are shutting down. I guess that sign saying the 2nd floor was undergoing renovation isn't going to happen. The single floor they still have was lacking in inventory. Yet, even in its declining state, I can still see how it used to thrive as a mutifloor store with all kinda of gizmo to check out. Despite my needs means I only needed to go only 3 times, I've glad the Boston area still retained at least one store of this style. But it seems that will no longer be true for much longer.

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Voting closed 24

You-Do-It was the go to spot for hard to find tech back in the pre-internet days. Need a break out box or a multimeter immediately? That was the place. Need some help pinning an RS232 cable to work with your computer? There was someone there who could walk you through it. They also had a great audio section.

Unfortunately, I have not been there in years which I guess is their epitaph.

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Voting closed 20

I worked for an AV company in waltham for years. On almost every job we did some part would not be in on time for an install and we would pick one up at You Do It. It saved us many times and yes, we also called it You Blew It because you forgot to order the RJ45's!!!!! You blew it!!!

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Voting closed 19

As a kid I remember going to the remnants of "radio row" in NYC (which by the 80s was already mostly a memory of itself) to buy a remote control for a model airplane. Then there were the quirky grumpy middle-aged guys behind the counter at the local Radio Shack who could actually read a schematic and tell you what your problem was.

When Mouser or Digikey can ship you a single resistor next day for the cost of Big Mac, the days of these weird and wonderful niche retailers ended. We gained a lot, but lost some valuable things too.

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Voting closed 18

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Voting closed 17