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Consumer Technology Industry Mourns Death of Retail Legend and Industry Pioneer Bernie Appel

Arlington, VA – April 3, 2017 – 

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ mourns the passing of consumer technology industry legend and Hall of Fame member Bernie Appel. Appel, affectionately called “Mr. Radio Shack” by employees and vendors alike during his 34 years of working for one of the industry’s largest retail chains, passed away Sunday, April 2nd.

Appel began his career with Radio Shack in 1966 when he traveled to Asia to find new business partnerships for the company and its vendors. Throughout the years, Appel held virtually every merchandising position for the company, sometimes credited within the industry as the individual who bought more consumer technologies than anyone else in the United States. Appel was appointed president of Radio Shack in 1984 and held other key positions within the company, including chairman of Radio Shack and senior vice president of the Tandy Corp., Radio Shack’s parent company.

During Appel’s career, Radio Shack grew from three stores to more than 7,000 outlets. After leaving Radio Shack, Appel formed Appel Associates a consulting company that provides companies with merchandising, marketing and distribution strategies.  Appel is a member of the Consumer Technology Hall of Fame, joining the third class of inductees in 2002.

“Bernie was truly one of a kind,” said CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “He helped build Radio Shack from a small local chain to a national retail powerhouse. His passion for the industry was infectious and inspirational and his merchandising expertise helped introduce generations of Americans to the latest consumer technology innovations. Our sympathy goes to Bernie’s wife, Ellen, and his extended family and friends.”

Appel was an active CTA volunteer, serving on the Association’s Small Business Council since it formed in 2003 and as a Mentor in CTA’s formal mentoring program since 2010. He also was a regular contributor to CTAPAC, CTA’s political action committee. Appel received special recognition at CES® 2017 as only one of three people who has attended every CES since its inception.

“Bernie was my boss and my mentor for many of my years at Tandy. He was known by all within the Tandy family as ‘Mr. Radio Shack’,” said Henry Chiarelli, executive vice president Industry Relations at Gibson Brands and former SVP, Business Development with Radio Shack and President of “Bernie had an extraordinary impact on the consumer technology industry and pioneered many of the early innovations that made our industry what it is today. He will be missed by many but he has left a legacy that will live on forever.”

In addition to his wife, Appel is survived by his son and daughter-in-law; daughter and son-in-law and six grandchildren.