The Source (Bell) Electronics Inc., doing business as The Source (French: La Source), is a Canadian consumer electronics and cell phone retail chain. The chain goes back over 40 years in Canada, initially as Radio Shack and later as The Source by Circuit City. The Source is now owned by BCE Inc., which purchased the assets of InterTAN from its parent, American retailer Circuit City, in 2009. The Source is a unit of 4458729 Canada Inc. and is based in Barrie, Ontario.

The Source (Bell) Electronics Inc.
The Source
FormerlyRadioShack Canada
(1986–2004)
The Source by Circuit City (2004–2009)
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryRetail
FoundedJune 1986; 37 years ago (1986-06) (as InterTAN Canada)
HeadquartersBarrie, Ontario, Canada
Number of locations
300
ProductsElectronics
Parent
Websitethesource.ca

History edit

 
Store in Promenade

The Source began as the Canadian branch of Radio Shack (later "RadioShack"). The chain was originally owned by Radio Shack's American parent company Tandy Corporation, but was spun off in June 1986, along with the rest of Tandy's international operations, as InterTAN. A licensing agreement with what became RadioShack Corporation allowed InterTAN to continue to use the chain's name and logo. InterTAN abandoned its non-profitable West German stores in 1987, left Belgium and France in 1993, sold its British stores to Carphone Warehouse in 1999 and sold its Australian stores to Woolworth subsidiary Dick Smith Electronics in 2002, leaving just the Canadian Radio Shack, Battery Plus, and Rogers Plus stores.

In May 2004, InterTAN was acquired by Circuit City. One week after the acquisition was completed, RadioShack Corporation filed a lawsuit in the 352nd Judicial District Court in Tarrant County, Texas, to end the licensing agreement. RadioShack Corporation claimed that InterTAN had breached the terms of their agreement. On March 24, 2005, the district court judge ruled in favour of RadioShack and cancelled the agreement. The ruling prohibited InterTAN from using the brand name on its stores or in any of its products, packaging, and advertising after June 30, 2005.

 
Logo from 2005 to 2009

On April 26, 2005, Circuit City announced that the stores would be renamed The Source by Circuit City (La Source par Circuit City in Quebec). The rebranding process was completed in the majority of the chain's Canadian stores by July 1, 2005. The chain also introduced new house brands, including Nexxtech and Vital, in place of RadioShack store brands.

In February 2007, The Source announced it would close down 62 low volume stores across Canada. On March 30, 2007, Circuit City announced to its shareholders that it was seeking options including selling off the InterTAN/The Source subsidiary to cut losses. On November 10, 2008, InterTAN sought protection from its creditors, after Circuit City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Circuit City announced on January 16, 2009, that its namesake U.S. stores would be liquidated. The Source was not affected by the announcement, and a process followed to sell the Canadian operations as a growing concern.[1]

 
Logo from 2009 to 2019

On March 2, 2009, Canadian telecommunications firm Bell Canada announced it would acquire The Source and continue to operate it as an independent division. The acquisition was completed July 1 for the final purchase price of $135 million US, following which the chain removed the "by Circuit City" from its name. Prior to January 2010, the stores sold mobile phone services from Bell's main competitor, Rogers Wireless; at that point, the chain began to exclusively market Bell-owned wireless (including value brand Virgin Mobile), television, and internet services.[2] The Source continues to sell a full array of consumer electronics products.[3][4]

On January 18, 2024, Bell announced that it would enter into an agreement with Best Buy Canada to rebrand The Source stores as Best Buy Express. The agreement is a brand license, under which the stores will remain owned and operated by BCE, and continue to exclusively offer Bell services. As part of this transition, The Source will close 107 of its nearly 300 locations, and also close its Barrie offices;[5] the rebrandings and closures will take place in 2024.[6]

Products edit

The Source stocks a wide array of products. Most of the products are consumer electronics, including Bell devices, Virgin Mobile devices, laptop computers, computer accessories, televisions and mounts, DVD players, Blu-ray players, soundbars and Bluetooth speakers, automated smart home devices (i.e. lightbulbs, thermostats, security cameras), printers and ink, clock radios, landline telephones, RC toys, gaming consoles and accessories, cables (such as HDMI, DVI, component, composite/RCA, VGA, USB A, C, Mini, etc.), Apple products and accessories, as well as a large selection of headphones including models by Bose, Sony, JBL and Skullcandy.

They also offer products for their Bell internet and Bell Fibe TV or Virgin Plus internet and TV services such as streaming devices, smart TVs and remotes, modems and range extenders.

References edit

  1. ^ Marina Strauss, "Circuit City's The Source to remain open Archived 2009-01-18 at the Wayback Machine", globeandmail.com, January 16, 2009
  2. ^ "Rogers turns to courts in attempt to block Glentel sale to BCE". The Globe and Mail. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  3. ^ Simon Avery, "Bell Canada snaps up The Source Archived 2009-03-05 at the Wayback Machine", globeandmail.com, March 2, 2009
  4. ^ "Bell to acquire national electronics retailer The Source", March 2, 2009
  5. ^ Daley, Dean (2024-02-06). "Bell to close The Source headquarters, lay off employees following Best Buy Express rebrand". MobileSyrup. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  6. ^ "Bell, Best Buy team up to rebrand and revamp The Source stores". The Globe and Mail. 2024-01-18. Retrieved 2024-01-18.

External links edit