Radio Shack used to be a pretty awesome place. Back in the 8 personal computer revolution, they were for sure a force to be reckoned with. Compared to the other guys at the time, they were the only ones who had their own retail distribution channel. They had a variety of models with different capabilities (and little cross-compatibility!), and was a great little shop to visit when you're a nerd kid in the 80s. Beyond computers, they had a "Battery Club" where you would get a free battery every month!
They also had walls of common electronics components... 555 timers, resistors in exactly the impedance you needed, prototype boards, power supplies, lcd numeric displays... Completed products were the exception, components were the rule. Not to mention educational materials and experiment kits! http://imgur.com/XZyJf
Talking about how things were better "back then" can be cliche, but sometimes it's true.