Thursday, July 7, 2016

AES Closing After 59 Years

Well, this has all the Ham Radio tongues wagging.

Amateur Electronic Supply, headquarted in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is going out of business at the end of July.

I bought tons of stuff from them over the years, and they were Good People to deal with.

Sad to see a brick and mortar Ham Radio store close, but profit margins on Ham gear are very low, and Hams are notoriously cheap, so running a major chain of Ham Radio stores is a headache I wouldn't want to have.

I'll miss them, they were truly a fixture in the Ham radio world.....

Here's the story, courtesy of the ARRL website:

Amateur Electronic Supply (AES) will close its doors at the end of July after 59 years in business. No reason has been given for the decision to close the business. AES has been a premier player among Amateur Radio equipment retailers for decades, as well as a major presence at Dayton Hamvention® and other events. Various media outlets were informed of the closing in a brief e-mail message on July 6, but word of the closing has not yet appeared on the retailer’s website or Facebook page.
“It’s with great sadness that I have to tell you that Amateur Electronic Supply (AES) will cease operations at the end of this month,” AES National Sales Manager Tom Pachner, W9TJP, said in an e-mail. An employee at the Milwaukee headquarters store, who did not wish to be identified, confirmed that the message was legitimate. It’s believed that the AES staff was notified before the July 4th holiday weekend. In addition to the Milwaukee store, AES operates outlets in Cleveland (Wickliffe), Las Vegas, and Orlando.
Fond-du-Lac, Wisconsin, native Terry Sterman, W9DIA (SK), founded AES in 1957 when he was just 18, after getting into the radio-TV business by working in his father’s TV and electronics parts store. On January 1, 1998, ownership of AES shifted to Amateur Electronic Supply LLC, headed by Phil Majerus, a prominent Wisconsin businessman. Sterman died the following year at the age of 60, after a period of ill health.
For many years, the public face of AES was its Executive Vice President Ray Grenier, K9KHW, who oversaw marketing and advertising for the retailer from 1964 until his retirement in 2013. Grenier nearly singlehandedly produced the famous AES catalog, as well as magazine ads. For about 20 years, he also organized the well-received AES Superfest, a promotional effort begun in 1995 that grew into a hamfest. In April, the AES Superfest hosted the 2016 ARRL Wisconsin Section Convention.
Many radio amateurs reacted to the news on various online forums, expressing surprise, sadness, and dismay, and saying they would miss AES. A few reminisced about having bought their first radios from AES.


  1. Shocked, I am. And stunned. Like all old hams, I've bought from them a few times over the years. Their Orlando store is an hour or so away, and while they've gone through good and not-so-good periods over the last 35 years, they've been among the good guys for a while now.

    It just seems that retail is really a rough way to make living, maybe more so now than ever before. I just keep getting that message underlined to me regularly.

  2. Yep, retail is tough these days, in any market segment.

  3. I had purchased my first dual-band handheld (a Yaesu FT-470) from AES, as well as plenty of different accessories for my station. I even worked at the Las Vegas store briefly as a temp during the 1994 holiday season when they experimented with doing phone orders until midnight EST. Good times...


Keep it civil, please....

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