Whitcomm Electronics Closing in 2018

April 19, 2018


Liquidation Sale  FINAL DAYS

Store Closing April 30 2018

On all items in stock  — Selected Fixtures
Store Hours  MON – FRI  8AM – 5PM

After 37 years of supplying electronic parts, supplies, and technical assistance to electronic hobbyists, tinkerers, and broadcast professionals, Whitcomm Electronics of Clovis will be liquidating all inventory and closing their doors in on April 30th 2018. “It has truly been a fun adventure all these years, but it’s now time to pull back, enjoy some other pursuits and focus on staying healthy,” said the store’s owner Tom Whitlock.

               THE EARLY YEARS

The store opened in 1981 with a modest facility nestled in the Ashlan Park Shopping Center at Cedar and Ashlan in Fresno. “It was a great start,” quipped Tom. It soon became obvious that the 1200 square foot store was too cramped for all the parts, merchandise, offices, and storage. “And then I needed space for the customers too.” Tom laughed.  In 1988 the store was moved to its current location at 105 W Dakota Ave. in Clovis just south of the newly constructed Pelco facility.

Operating one of the largest electronics parts stores in the area wasn’t an initial dream for Whitlock. “I became hooked on radio at an early age,” admitted Tom. “My dad and older brother both had Ham radio licenses.” Tom was born in Fresno and spent his early childhood in a part of town that housed a large radio tower and broadcast radio station. “I remember deciding to take a very long walk down Barton Avenue and knock on the door of the radio station whose tower I could see from my house,” Tom mused—he was 8 years old at the time. “They opened the door, let me come inside, and I got a tour! I was immediately hooked.”

His family soon moved to Spokane Washington where he continued his broadcasting pursuits. “I got my Third Class Radiotelephone Operators Permit with a Broadcast Endorsement and actually worked at a radio station when I was 14,” admitted Tom. A year later, his family was back in Fresno and Tom again was knocking on radio station doors. Now along with the tours he was filling out job applications. His prior radio experience paid off and he landed his first gig in the early 1970’s at KFIG FM which was then at 94.5 MHz.  “I was doing part-time weekends at 15 years old,” said Tom. “My job application might have said I was 16 or maybe even 19, but don’t tell anybody about that.” His on-air talents soon garnered him a full-time position. “It was one of those awful shifts you could only get in radio,” recalls Tom. “I worked two overnight shifts during the week and then on Saturday I came in from 6AM to noon and then came back at 6PM to midnight and then came back six hours later at 6AM on Sunday and worked another six hours until noon.” A year later KFIG moved its frequency to 101.1, “I got to be the first jock on the air when we changed frequency,” recalled Tom.

In addition to his time behind the microphone, Tom began to read and study the technical side of the business. “I was pretty much self-taught on the engineering side,” he recalled. “There weren’t any computers to teach you then but there were books, lots of books.”

He also worked at KFYE 93.7 where he learned radio production. “This was old school style production with grease pencils, razor blades and splicing blocks,” Tom recalls. His skills soon landed him a production director job at 1000 watt KMAK AM. “I wrote a lot of radio spots at that place,” said Tom. His writing and production skills took him to a stint at a local advertising agency. “There were a lot of agencies in town then,” recalls Tom “it was fun but quite competitive.”

Looking for a change of pace he took a job as a buyer for one of the Longs Drug stores in Fresno. “I was there for three years, it was a great experience and I learned the ins and outs of running a business,” Tom said. It was during this time that the idea for his own business was hatched. “I was working on building an alarm system for my house and was having a hard time easily finding the parts and equipment I needed to do the job,” Tom recalls. He spent about a year and a half researching what would be needed to start a parts store that could serve the needs of broadcasters and hobbyists and was able to obtain an SBA loan. All the pieces came together and Whitcomm Electronics opened its doors in 1981 in Ashlan Park. “It’s scary what a sober moment of planning can lead to,” he said.


According to Tom, The last day the store will be open to the public is April 30th. Store hours will be from 8AM to 5PM Monday through Friday. 

Even though Tom will soon be out of the day-to-day world of parts and supplies sales, he’ll still be dappling in his first love of radio. He’ll continue his duties as CE of KFSR 90.7 FM and mentions he could be available for on-call engineering projects. “Just about everyone in this business has my phone number so it will be hard for me to hide,” he laughs. Tom is also a licensed radio amateur with the callsign WD6DGR. “Running the store hasn’t left me with much time to be on the air, but that could change,” he states. Rumor has it that his brother just sent him an end-fed wire antenna for the 40 meter Ham band. “I’m taking that as a hint as to what I might be doing after I close the store,” said Tom.

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