Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,011   +130
Staff member
Recap: Fry’s first opened its doors in 1985 and most recently operated more than two dozen stores, many of which were located in California and Texas. Each location had a unique theme; for example, the store in Phoenix was modeled after an Aztec temple while the Austin store was built with live music in mind.

Fry’s Electronics, once considered by many to be the holy grail of electronics stores, is calling it quits.

A message posted on the company’s website notes that after nearly 36 years in business, they’ve made the difficult decision to shut down operations and close the business permanently due to changes in the retail industry and challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic.

Fry’s said it ceased regular operations and started an “orderly wind down process” on February 24, which it believes will be in the best interest of the company, creditors and other stakeholders.

It’s been tough sledding for electronics retailers ever since the advent of online shopping. Chains like Best Buy have managed to survive and even thrive at times, but others including CompUSA and Radio Shack weren’t so fortunate.

Fry's didn't say what would happen to its existing inventory but a fire sale seems unlikely considering store employees have reportedly been laid off.

Images courtesy Sundry Photography, Kit Leong

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BadThad

Posts: 396   +367
They've been sliding downhill for YEARS. They used to have some great deals on TVs and computers but those gradually vanished. I recall reading something about them not paying their creditors so they lost a bunch of inventory - other companies stopped selling to them.
 

Thretosix

Posts: 59   +68
I'll be honest, I've never heard of Fry's before. Maybe because of where I live.
Same here, I started looking and found nothing. Sounds like they went downhill from what they once were. Around where I live we pretty much have Best Buy. I would never buy things like hmdi cables as they overprice them but they tend to have great deals on their TVs and other things that usually sell for MSRP. Best Buy will kill you with accessory add on and services they offer. I've heard of Fry's never seen one before.
 

NeoMorpheus

Posts: 362   +651
Another one bites the dust.

Never had the chance to go to one of their stores, since they didnt had one close to me.

It sucks, since is another iconic place that will be gone.
 

Hexic

Posts: 912   +1,213
TechSpot Elite
I'll be honest, I've never heard of Fry's before. Maybe because of where I live.

There are Fry's that could mostly be found out west, having lived in the western US and Midwest myself, Best Buy is about the best you are going to get in the Midwest.

Fry's Electronics (there are still Fry's Supermarkets around) was an amazing place that years ago they put tons of effort into in ambiance, let alone their hardware selection. One of the locations that I went to in Orange County, CA had a full waterfall splitting the store in two. Sad to see them go, they made Best Buy look like a dollar store.
 

antiproduct

Posts: 176   +216
Awww, I'm going to miss this place. Granted, they haven't been that great for awhile. I remember they used to have great sales on IT stuff and I used to go all the time. For the past couple years their sales have been mediocre and their internet site SUCKS so bad. So sites like NewEgg and Amazon have probably really killed them off.

I still miss the Fry's in the East Bay, where they had a Tesla coil and Jacobs ladder on demo in the store, that was really cool.
 

Joray K Joseph

Posts: 28   +34
Good Riddance! Fry's have been terrible for Yeats with 3 day return plans, not honoring their shady warranties and overall service sucking. It got significantly worse when they started just selling straight up chinese junk over the past 5 years and coupled with the sales reps trying to get you to lean more towards the products they OBVIOUSLY makes the most dividends on its no wonder they went out of business. Ref. I live in Georgia where we have 2 Frys in driving distance from me
 
It's been a long time since I lived anywhere near a Fry's but I was fortunate to live in three places in California where they had one...San Diego, Palo Alto, and Oxnard. Of all the electronic stores I remember growing up (Circuit City, The Good Guys, CompUSA, etc.) Fry's was easily the best. It was one of those places you could go in and not come out without buying something...or leaving after you saw something only to come back and get it. A/V, computer components, electric and electronic hardware, toys, appliances, and much more...sad to see the chain go and too bad it never expanded. The brick and mortar stores were much better than their web site.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 230   +301
Scattered across the Midwest and Eastern side (with a few stores in other spots such as Texas and I think even one in California) you can still find Micro Center stores for your computer needs. I have to avoid the store (thankfully it's about a 15-20 minute drive from my house, depending on weather or traffic) so I'm not browsing and buying stuff I don't need.

A good 3 or so years ago I remember reading news stories about inventory woes at Frys due to credit issues with suppliers. I want to say that Frys told people they were not having inventory issues and they were just restructuring and that inventory was on the way. I figured this was the downfall of them. I'm kind of surprised they stretched their stay out this long.

Too bad, though. It's getting harder and harder to find a place you can actually go to and see the products first hand and not online. I enjoy the hands-on approach when buying things. I'd much rather buy something I can hold in my hands than over the internet, but with the way things are going I have to adapt or become one of those old guys that always has one of those "When I was young...." stories as I complain about everything around me.
 

brucek

Posts: 745   +1,014
TechSpot Elite
Anyone know why say Microcenter and Best Buy were able to keep going, but Fry's could not? They were a big deal back in the day (for people who lived near one)....
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,730   +3,952
I've heard of Fry's but we never had one in our area. Best Buy is pretty much it for our area; however, there is a family owned Audio/Video store that usually has better deals and significantly better service than Best Buy does. If I am buying audio or video, the family owned store is where I go.
 

ddg4005

Posts: 451   +137
TechSpot Elite
I'm sorry to read this even though there are no Fry's locations in New York. It's always sad when a retail icon that sells electronics goes under. At least Best Buy and Micro Center are still around (and B&H here in NYC).
 

psycros

Posts: 3,365   +3,807
Anyone know why say Microcenter and Best Buy were able to keep going, but Fry's could not? They were a big deal back in the day (for people who lived near one)....

Microcenter only locates in rapidly growing areas (usually big suburbs) and has everything for an enthusiast. Best Buy has some really good locations, usually in big shopping centers, and enough buying power to stay competitive. They didn't wait around to get into online sales, either..they saw that train coming.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,730   +3,952
Anyone know why say Microcenter and Best Buy were able to keep going, but Fry's could not? They were a big deal back in the day (for people who lived near one)....
My guess is that they were strictly regional. IIRC, some of the "deals" that they had on their web site were only available in-store which sucked if you did not happen to live within driving distance of one.
 

richcz3

Posts: 52   +46
Frys for the unfamiliar stocked just about everything. Every component to build a PC: Motherboards, Cases, CPUs, GPUs, coolers, Memory, Monitors and loads of different plugin card and accessory you could think of.

They also stocked software, books, specialized electronic equipment, consoles, PC/Console games, TV's, Home Stereo, Car Stereo, Cameras, and all the accessories that would support those. Over the last five years it was becoming clear they had way too much in these huge stores. There just wasn't that much foot traffic even before the pandemic.

One of the bigger issues the stores had was when they repackaged returns and sold them as new. I don't know how they got away with that for years. Any packaging that looked iffy, you knew to avoid it.
 

trparky

Posts: 874   +892
Microcenter only locates in rapidly growing areas (usually big suburbs) and has everything for an enthusiast. Best Buy has some really good locations, usually in big shopping centers, and enough buying power to stay competitive. They didn't wait around to get into online sales, either... they saw that train coming.
Exactly. Microcenter tends to locate themselves in affluent suburbs where people have the money for such luxuries. I have a Microcenter that's about a half-hour drive by highway in good traffic and I feel d**med lucky.

I built my PC that's sitting on my desk there, I absolutely love it how I just walked in and said I wanted this, this, that, and that... and walked out with everything I needed to build my new PC.
 

mctommy

Posts: 384   +114
Anyone know why say Microcenter and Best Buy were able to keep going, but Fry's could not? They were a big deal back in the day (for people who lived near one)....
Biggest issue is store size. Most fry's stores are easily twice the size of best buys. Fry's also had too much inventory of everything. They also didn't get the online sale part so failed to implement that.

It was great from the 90s to around 2015 or so. You could buy literally see and buy everything for your computer.
 

tacobravo

Posts: 151   +174
Microcenter beats Fry's prices hands down. I stopped going to Fry's in favor for Microcenter for years.