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Fry's Electronics is kaput.


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So this may or may not be a niche topic, and I'm only just now learning about this even though I had just done a quick run to a nearby Fry's to get some tech accessories and anti-static bags; but as of February 24th, the electronics store franchise up and went out of business.

In many ways, the writing has been on the wall for a two or so years, and there was a lot of speculation about the franchise's pending death. I remember things seeming some of the aisles bereft of goods in mid 2019 and being told by employees there were issues with the supply chain, as inventory slowly dwindled further and further. BitWit had done a video about this just before the pandemic locked everything down. In recent months I had noticed the stores here had set up barricades cordoning off over half of the available space. And yet, in spite of the worst months of the pandemic killing off many other stores, up until the last business day last month the franchise was still going.

Welp, in spite of a lot of warning signs, the end came suddenly. Unlike, say, Toys R' Us which gave lot of warning about the pending permanent closing and went through a whole liquidation process, apparently Fry's employees were suddenly told that the whole company practically ceased to exist on the 26th.

It's a damn shame, because Fry's Electronics stores are very whimsical and tend to have unique themes. The one in San Jose had a Mayan temple theme, the one in Campbell was like an Egyptian pyramid, the one in Fremont had a very 19th-century "World's Fair" Victorian theme. I've seen photos of other stores, such as one in Dallas that was (of course) very cowboy-themed while another one in the Southwest had a very Area 51 feel, complete with a giant flying saucer crashing through a wall. These stores often had their own in-house cafes, long before Starbucks dominated that scene. They apparently tried to do the Costco and IKEA thing of selling food on the cheap as a way of enticing people to stay and shop.

It's a damned shame. Especially for the Bay Area, where you could find a lot of these stores. It seems like a lot of the appeal and quirky side of Silicon Valley is quickly vanishing. I found out too late, for example, about Weirdstuff Warehouse. Google bought the building where it was located, and so the store went out of business for good. A similar store, Excess Electronics, recently had the same happen thanks to Amazon but is trying to find a new site.

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