Minnesota's last ham radio store to close its doors as owners retire

It's an end of an era for ham radio enthusiasts as the only store in Minnesota closes in the next few weeks.

Radio City in Mounds View has been in business for 36 years, serving generations of loyalists and newcomers to the ham radio community.

"It's one of only a handful of ham radio stores left in the country,” said Dan Fish. “It's a place where folks can find a router like this one to help their TV antennas or some of the newer technologies like this transmitter that works over Wi-Fi."

After 36 years of helping customers pick out the right telescope or the perfect ham radio, owners Dan and Maline Fish are closing up shop.

"You see the kids grow up and have kids of their own after 36 years in business but the people in this hobby is who I will miss the most,” Dan Fish said.

Dan Fish had the background in electronics and Maline had the customer service expertise and knowledge of the inventory. Together though, they built one of the most successful amateur ham radio stores in the country.

"It's a collaborative effort and you need to have your community behind you otherwise you can't do it,” said Fish.

Loyal customers like Doug Renner wanted to check out the sidewalk sale before Radio City closes to see if he can nab any deals.

“It feels like an end of era,” Renner said. “This is the last and really the only ham radio station and store in Minnesota.”

Jason Schrofe drove up from Eau Claire and said he got into the ham radio scene because of the emergency preparedness aspect when all other types of communication goes down. He also likes storms.

“I got into this because I’m a storm spotter and storm chaser and I’m a weather geek; I always have been,” Schrofe said.

However, ham radio fans got into this scene they all say Radio City has made a huge impact throughout the region and beyond, entertaining their customers with great service and conversation.

For once, Dan Fish will be turning on his ham radios at home to keep in touch with his friends.

“I talk ham radio all day long, so I kind of have my radios off at home but it might be fun because I’ll start turning my radio on more,” he said.

The owners say they're looking to close Radio City by the end of the year or perhaps sooner. They said some of their most loyal customers are possibly interested in keeping this store going, but at this point the owners are looking forward to their next chapter: retirement.