Recession Lazarus: Sharper Image finds a second life in Best Buy


In February 2008, as pundits and analysts were arguing about whether our economy was really headed into a recession, Sharper Image filed for bankruptcy. The high-end gadget stores, which had come of age in the gleefully self-indulgent eighties, suddenly found themselves unable to convince penny-pinching consumers that reconditioned jukeboxes and ionizing air filters were absolute necessities.

While the world might not have needed a store that specialized in high-priced, high-tech doohickies, Sharper Image's demise left a pretty serious hole in the retail pantheon. Consequently, when HoMedics, a major manufacturer of personal health and wellness machines, ponied up $540 million for a five-year option for the licensing rights to Sharper Image, fans of the moribund brand rejoiced.