Lines form for shopping one of the You-do-it sales/ Credit: Courtesy You-do-it Electronics Center

Another longtime Needham landmark is about to close its doors. You-do-it Electronics Center announced in an email to customers last Thursday evening it will shut down after 75 years in business.

“We had mixed emotions,” said John Ahigian, son of the store’s late founder, also named John. “We had a lot of fun.”

A 1965 work station in the store/ Credit: You-do-it Electronics Center

In 1949, the store was founded as Clarendon Radio and TV Sales and Service by the elder Ahigian in Boston’s South End. The store has remained in the family since then, according to the younger Ahigian.

In the early days, said Ahigian, his father made house calls. It was also a time when do-it-yourself TV and radio owners often made their own repairs by replacing worn-out tubes themselves.

“He got the idea of placing tube testers in local drug stores,” Ahigian told the Observer. And plenty of tubes and tube testers were sold in the shop.

The store outgrew its space, and in 1965 opened as You-do-it Electronics Center in a brand-new, one-story building at its present location on Franklin Street in Needham. Its iconic sign is visible from nearby Route 128, often called “America’s Technology Highway.” The store was perfectly placed to serve retailers, industry, radio and television stations and other commercial customers, as well as schools, municipalities and legions of audio and video buffs.

At its peak, You-do-it carried a vast array of merchandise: televisions and home theater systems, audio and video equipment, lighting, power tools, computer accessories, security systems and much more. The building was expanded to four floors, with two floors of selling space and the rest for offices and a warehouse.

Well-stocked store shelves/ Credit: Courtesy You-do-it Electronics Center

Business had fallen in recent years, and selling was downsized to one floor. Ahigian cited factors such as the pandemic and changing consumer behavior with the growth of online shopping. “We decided to shut it down,” he said.

“While the decision to close is bittersweet, we know that the memories created will endure,” the company said in its email.

The response has borne that out. Since last week’s announcement, Ahigian said, many longtime customers have reached out to express their condolences. “We were caught by surprise by the response,” he said. “We didn’t know people cared that much.”

No date has been announced for the store’s closing. You-do-it Electronics will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as it sells off its inventory. Office furniture and industrial shelving will be sold at deep discounts, according to the company announcement.

“We had a pretty good run,” Ahigian said.

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