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Electronics chain Fry’s is closing for good

People outside Fry's Electronics store in Renton, Wash.
A small crowd gathers outside a Fry’s Electronics store in Renton, Wash., in 2009.
(Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Fry’s Electronics, the go-to chain for tech tinkerers looking for an obscure part, is closing for good.

The company, perhaps even better known for the outlandish themes at some of its stores, including Aztec and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” said Wednesday on its website that the COVID-19 pandemic had made it impossible to continue doing business.

Fans immediately took to Twitter to post images and memories (good and bad).

The chain was concentrated on the West Coast but had 31 stores in nine states. It was founded 36 years ago.

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Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData, called it “the end of an era, and a sad day” for an army of loyal customers.

The pandemic has done heavy damage to retailers, but Fry’s was already getting hammered by online competition and a battle between heavy-hitters Best Buy Co. and Amazon.com Inc.

The wild themes became more of a burden than an experience, Saunders said, and when Fry’s began to struggle, gaps began to appear on shelves in the cavernous stores, making them shells of what they once were.

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“Fry’s was really a business built for the 1980s electronics boom. During that era, it was a gathering place for enthusiasts of an industry that was on fire,” Saunders said. “However, those days have long since gone, and now, too, has an icon that represented them.”

Fry’s Electronics Inc. said its operations have ceased and the wind-down of locations will begin immediately. Customers with electronics being repaired in-store are being asked to pick them up.

The chain’s online presence appears largely to have been shut down.


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