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Fry’s Electronics Closes Its Doors After COVID-19 Changes the Retail Business

Fry's Electronics Las Vegas
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Fry’s Electronics today announced that after nearly 36 years it’s going out of business “as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.” The company has already closed its 31 brick-and-mortar stores and replaced its online store with a letter to customers explaining how it plans to move forward.

The letter said Fry’s was implementing “an orderly wind down process” in an effort to “reduce costs, avoid additional liabilities, minimize the impact on our customers, vendors, landlords and associates, and maximize the value of the Company’s assets for its creditors and other stakeholders.” That process officially started today.

Fry’s also said it’s “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.” Customers and consignment vendors were given two email addresses and a phone number to use if they need to contact Fry’s before then.

It’s not clear what Fry’s plans to do with its remaining inventory. Retailers often try to sell as much of their stock as possible before shutting down, but if that’s what the company is doing, it’s happening behind the scenes. It’s kinda hard to sell your stuff if closing all your stores was the first step in your “orderly wind down process.”

Fry’s would have celebrated its 36th anniversary on May 17. The company said it was meant to be a “one-stop-shop and online resource for high-tech professionals across nine states.” Now it’s likely to be another footnote left in the shift to online shopping that was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic forcing most people to stay home.

  • atomicWAR
    For the last ten years I have been living on the island of Oahu after spending most of my cilivian life in CA/NV. I have dearly missed Fry's Electronics. Honestly there is nothing on the island like it. I use to love to stroll down the aisles looking for sweet deals I couldn't pass up. Some of my most bargain basement PC builds were because of Fry's sales.

    My last Fry's rig was an i7 920 I had OC's to 4ghz with 8GB of ram, an Asus motherboard (it might of been asrock) and a CPU water cooling kit by Corsair, long before AIO liquid coolers were a "thing". All of which I picked up for just under 700 dollars because of a sale and some incorrect price stickers they choose to honor because I was honest and asked them, "is this price correct it seems really really low from MSRP."...that and I was a regular there probably helped. Anyways I watched as they rung me up while another store employee corrected the pricing on their i7 920 CPUs. I ended up saving like 150 dollars if I recall on that one part alone. Fry's never did me wrong, ever. Even going as far as replacing a motherboard and CPU I didn't buy there because I bought a PSU from them that literally fried both to the point of actually causing the CPU pins to melt effectively soldering it to the motherboard when I powered it on for the first time. They agreed to replace my broken bit after some pushing on my part, asking them how they were going to make this right. This was an AMD64 FX 51 based build so it was anything but cheap. Customer service agreed to replace my PSU, obviously, AND give me a new CPU, motherboard. They tested my ram which oddly ended up being fine but they had agreed to replace it too had it not past a memtest they did on site. I have never seen a store do something like that before or since. It was truly amazing and what made me a Fry's customer for life.

    Fast forward ten years and my wife and I recently decided to go ahead and have kids. Being disabled in a wheelchair we had planned to move back to the mainland so we could be close to family. I was so excited to be able to go to Fry's again. Then tonight I read this, sadly it wasn't meant to be. I only hope Micro Center doesn't suffer the same fate before we make it back. It is a sad day for the tech enthusiast's community...
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  • TimmyP777
    Too much unused space in the two stores Ive been at, and it was never a better store than Microcenter who carries most of the things Frys did.
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  • jwcdis
    TimmyP777 said:
    Too much unused space in the two stores Ive been at, and it was never a better store than Microcenter who carries most of the things Frys did.

    Was the exact opposite for me, Fry's was the motherlode in the early 2000's at least in the Bay Area and made put our Microcenter location here out of business.
    With the rise of e-commerce Amazon/Newegg they simply could not make the transition plus the stores ended up carrying "weird branded" electronics for toys, imitation airpods, computer parts, etc. which as a consumer I was felt were sketchy were to buy
    To be honest they should have closed long ago but still managed to find a way stay open (I believe because they owned most the land their stores were on). It was a failing business the pandemic and rise of minimum wage was the nail in the coffin. Rest in peace frys. Microcenter is probably next.
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  • atomicWAR
    jwcdis said:
    Was the exact opposite for me, Fry's was the motherlode in the early 2000's at least in the Bay Area and made put our Microcenter location here out of business.

    Same for me...
    Reply
  • artk2219
    jwcdis said:
    Was the exact opposite for me, Fry's was the motherlode in the early 2000's at least in the Bay Area and made put our Microcenter location here out of business.
    With the rise of e-commerce Amazon/Newegg they simply could not make the transition plus the stores ended up carrying "weird branded" electronics for toys, imitation airpods, computer parts, etc. which as a consumer I was felt were sketchy were to buy
    To be honest they should have closed long ago but still managed to find a way stay open (I believe because they owned most the land their stores were on). It was a failing business the pandemic and rise of minimum wage was the nail in the coffin. Rest in peace frys. Microcenter is probably next.

    I guarantee you Microcenter is not, atleast not for a while, the two around me are always packed and in speaking with employees they were up 30% year over year between 2019 and 2020. Also unlike Fry's, Microcenter management has done a good job in keeping things rolling and keeping shelves stocked, that still doesn't stop the sting of Fry's going away though, I had some great memories in that store.
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  • kanewolf
    TimmyP777 said:
    Too much unused space in the two stores Ive been at, and it was never a better store than Microcenter who carries most of the things Frys did.
    Fry's carried the types of things that Radio Shack had. Resistors, solder, etc. Microcenter doesn't have electronics parts like Fry's did.
    Reply
  • dan_L
    While I'm extremely disappointed to see Fry's Electronics close, the writing was frighteningly on the wall. The shelves in the Fry's in Downers Grove, IL have been more than 95% empty going back to autumn 2019 well before the Trump Pandemic started. When I asked salesman John Fry (no relation to the owners) what was going on, he said they were in the throes of changing suppliers and wholesalers. I didn't buy his story. During the past year, purchases I made from Fry's online were shipped from individual stores, no longer from a central warehouse.

    In Chicagoland, Fry's was the place to get obscure parts that nobody else carried except online at really good prices as well as a good deal on software and Microcenter the place for a good deal on hardware. I strongly suspect that the shift from physical software to downloads really hurt Fry's brick and mortar business (and suspect much of it shifted to Fry's online store, which, admittedly was not as sophisticated as Microcenter or Newegg.com). The customer service at our local Microcenter was almost always far better than at our local Fry's. But I've got to agree with others posting here, Fry's was a great store in which to meander -- I could easily spend an hour or more wondering the aisles enjoying the vast Selectdion of goodies on the shelves.

    I don't quite know what went wrong for Fry's, but it will be sorely missed in Chicagoland.
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