Another one bites the dust: Online shopping and a global pandemic have forced big-box store Fry’s Electronics to close all locations, effective immediately.
Known for its elaborate decorations (including huge statues of pop culture characters and retro car bodies as dining tables), the family-owned operation began as a 20,000 square-foot electronics store in Sunnyvale, Calif. At its peak, the chain operated 34 stores in nine states.
“After nearly 36 years in business as the one-stop-shop and online resource for high-tech professionals … Fry’s Electronics, Inc. has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a message on the company website.
Fry’s ceased regular operations today, beginning what it called “an orderly wind-down process” it hopes will reduce costs, avoid additional liabilities, “minimize the impact on customers, vendors, landlords, and associates, and maximize the value of its assets for creditors and other stakeholders.”
Like many brick-and-mortar shops, family-owned Fry’s was struggling before the novel coronavirus forced people indoors and onto their computers. Staff reductions and price-matching weren’t enough to save the beloved retailer, which began shuttering stores in 2019—including its Wild West, space shuttle-, and ancient Egypt-themed location in Palo Alto, Anaheim, and Campbell, Calif., respectively.
“The company is in the process of reaching out to its customers with repairs and consignment vendors to help them understand what this will mean for them and the proposed next steps,” the Fry’s site said. Those with equipment currently being repaired or in need of fixing under a service contract are encouraged to contact the shop via email or phone.