HSC Electronics will be halted early next year

Update: The HSC folks were out with a stand at the Electronics Flea Market in Sunnyvale this morning (March 9, 2019). Signs and flyers noted that they’ve sold the store to Excess Solutions of San Jose. Should be interesting to see how the inventory is integrated.

Halted Excess 2019-03-09 07.40.42

Update: HSC closed this past Saturday, January 12, 2019. There was an impressive crowd, cake and coffee, and last minute deals. Best wishes to the owners and employees for success in their next stages, whether retirement or different work.

About 8 months ago, I wrote about the closure of Weird Stuff Warehouse in Sunnyvale, California. Well, Halted Electronic Supply/Halted Specialties Company/HSC Electronic Supply will joining Weird Stuff in the history of Silicon Valley in just about 6 weeks.

Halted History

Halted has been in business for 54 years now. The Homebrew Computer Club often visited back in the day (including both Steves). I wasn’t around the Bay Area for most of that time, but got an introduction early in my time here, in the late 90s.

Around the turn of the century, Halted had three locations, with the main one being in Santa Clara on Ryder St, just off Central Expressway and Lawrence Expressway (near the Sunnyvale Frys, the pre-1996 Weird Stuff, St John’s Grill, and Ham Radio Outlet among others). Gradually the remote locations closed, and the Ryder store was left.

Halted was known for components of all sorts, books and magazines for people who made things from those components, antique radios, tools, legacy computer components, and all sorts of other things. It wouldn’t be unusual to find people in the store with ham radio transceivers on, students buying components for an electronics class, people reminiscing about the radios they used to listen to during the war, and random bargain hunters looking for computers and electronics to mess with at home.

They also had a well-known parking lot sale every September, where cases and crates and pallets would come out of the warehouse, hot dogs and donuts would be put out for sale, and you could get some incredible deals on things you’d forgotten you needed. And you could also find them at the Electronics Flea Market sometimes, with a truck full of carts from the store.

The New York Times had a feature on Halted in 2009, revealing and even foretelling the greatest strength and weakness of the business at that point.

The Tide Turns

In early 2016, after closing off and vacating the back half of the store on Ryder, they announced they would be moving to another location an intersection away on Corvin. And in February 2016, after 28 years in the old location, they moved to a smaller space just down the road. More of the property was publicly accessible; the main lobby was carpeted for a change (which could be good or bad), and the parking lot sale shrunk a bit (due to a shared parking lot) but continued for three years.

Alas, with costs going up, active makers moving away, and the state of business in Silicon Valley, Halted announced in November 2017 that they would be attempting to sell the business. Ten months later as the final parking lot sale approached, they didn’t have a buyer and posted another update. And last night, they made the announcement I think many of us were expecting but hoping would not come.

On December 1, 2018, Halted will begin their store closing sale. The last day of business will be January 12, 2019.

We’re lucky to have more than 2-3 days of notice (as opposed to the surprise closure at Weird Stuff), and there will probably be a few reunions and scavenger runs over the next few weekends.

Where do we go from here?

First of all, you’ll probably want to head to Santa Clara in the next few weeks, maybe even more than once.

As you may remember, Weird Stuff sold their inventory to Outback Equipment in Gilroy, who operate an eBay store called outback6. Weird Stuff’s website has disappeared in the last month or so, it seems. Outback haven’t made much noise since the announcement, although they do have several thousand auctions listed and allow local pickup.

Anchor Electronics in Santa Clara is still there, and has a clean, carpeted, friendly environment for picking up components and tools (and the occasional bit of legacy hardware–I recently saw an Apple // numeric keypad there).

Excess Solutions in San Jose is also still open. The component selection is bigger, as is the space, and they also have an e-waste recycling bin out front. However, the computer and networking selection has gone down in recent months, and the 50% Off Everything sale is long gone.

I have not heard of any other stores that would fill in the space left by Weird Stuff and soon Halted, but if you know of anywhere, feel free to share in the comments. I’d be happy to visit, review, and spread the word.

20 thoughts on “HSC Electronics will be halted early next year

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  3. Halted closed, lack of builders these days… Bob said.
    I went in and out Halted many many times .. buying vac tubes and silver wires.
    Invoice of Steve Jobs posted @ the entrance always brings out a smile.


    • Yep. I think a lot of people (myself included) moved up the construction level chain, and were more along the lines of Weird Stuff inventory.

      For the maker/builder crowd, there is still Anchor Electronics, at least. And Excess Solutions. And for a while, the Electronics Flea Market.

      Thanks for your comment. Always appreciate interaction on the posts here.


  4. My first experience with Halted was back in 1979. As I recall, the first place was off of Kifer/wolfe in S’vale, the 2nd was off of Arques (could have these mixed up) and of course their long standing on Ryder St. I only visited their last location at Corvin a couple times.

    Halted was a big part of my life and I made weekly visits to see if there was a irresistible deal I could not live without. Over the years, I have bought more equipment and components than I can remember. My first PC was purchased from surplus from Halted. I have seen test fixtures at Halted that I built for other company being sold as surplus. My last visit to Halted summed up my career when I was browsing through their hardware I stumbled upon a linear Power supply (Micro Computer Power) that had my test initials on it. That was my first tech job back in 1979.

    As I recall, there was a couple of employees that started working at Halted back in the early 80’s and over the years I have watched them grow from young adults to grey haired old men. They can say the same about me. We all grew old during the golden age of the Silicon Valley where the best hardware was designed and built here in the USA.
    I am sad to see them go, but just like the tech culture they were a mere shadow of what they used to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Rickey. They were already at Ryder when I got to the Bay Area (a month or two after Weird Stuff moved from Kern/Lawrence), but I remember many years where the Saturday morning Halted trip was part of the most consistent structure in my life.


      • rsts,

        Thanks for the correction, it was Kern. Kifer and Wolfe was the first place I went. BTW- I remember when they were at Kern, they had an Apple 1 for sale in a partial kit for $90, that in 1987. $30 more would get you a wooden case.


      • We still have Excess Solutions, and I learned on my last visit that they’re on their fourth location down on 7th and Alma in San Jose. I’d gone to their Milpitas location one light south of Calaveras, which was their third site.


  5. My first encounter w/ HSC was at a out of the way place in Sacramento out toward Arden Way, if I recall. Any time I was in SAC, I’d swing by and snag goodies. They closed, and everything went to their place in Menlo Park until it closed. Many years of fun and creativity.


  6. I remember when they were affiliated with Hulted. Hulted went under in the early 70s, replaced by condos. I have spent a bit of money in Haltek. Their stuff was always just a little too dated. Although I did get some cool doodads there. I remember their hardware box. A 4’X4’X4′ box absolutely full to the top with millions of small screws, nuts, lock washers, and bolts. The box has to weigh way more than a ton. Maybe 2 tones.


    • Hi James, thanks for the comment.

      I’ve never heard of Hulted. Halted/HSC have been the same company for quite a while, and Haltek was over on Terra Bella just off Shoreline in Mountain View (behind Fiesta Del Mar more or less) for quite a while.


      • I purchased a lot of gold plated sockets and resistor packs (SIPS), wire wrap stuff in Haltek in
        early 1990s. I built several prototype wire wrap PCI boards using their components.
        It was lots of fun !!


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  9. Tiz a sad day in history, my fellow geek, ham, designer brothers and sisters. I had the store right in Sonoma County. Damn, and Mtn. View was a drive (but worth it) …I need to go cry, K6DAS …clear


  10. thanks for the article. I wanted to go to the store as I’ve occasionally done, too bad they’re closed. And thanks for the links to other local stores with electronic components.


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