Fry’s Closing? Is Fry’s Electronics is gone? Did Amazon Kill Them?
Walking into Fry’s Electronics has been something for me to do since Paul Fly opened the first store near my apartment in Fremont California. The dumpy little store was near a 7-11, so I could get a Slurpee and shop for computer stuff.
At first Fry’s was last years model Radio Shack. Everything was out dated and only discounted a little. Over time Fry’s Electronics grew into a monster store. When you were looking for a Cool Toy, Fry’s was the place. A place with everything a geek needed. Computers, Video Games, Stereo, appliances and junk food. They even had a couple of bags of junk food trying to pass as health food.
Unlike the other big stores only Fry’s and Radio Shack carried parts for things you wanted to fix. You couldn’t walk into a Circuit City or Good Guys and buy a transformer or a capacitor. At Fry’s you could. I remember building my first car alarm out of raw parts at Fry’s. A small voltage relay for when the door opened, an LED light to go where the door lock used to be and a siren.
There was a certain satisfaction with building your own whatzit out of parts at Fry’s and Radio Shack. And then Radio Shack went on the offensive and built Incredible Universe. That was the beginning of the end, leading to total domination by Fry’s of the true nerdy market. And then came Amazon.
Recently while trying to help a friend build a gaming computer we went to our local Fry’s and found empty shelves. I saw two old men pushing empty shopping carts and it reminded me of the scene in Trumps biopic where he hired bull dozers to push dirt and fool investors.
I fell like I am living the empty life of a character in Logans Run. I can only work and watch the screen as I shop at Amazon. With billions of investor money, Amazon can afford to lose a lot of money to squish private companies like Fry’s. They might have just done it.
Fry’s says it is only closing a few stores as leases expire and that shelves will be restocked soon. One employee who refused to give his name said that they had not received a truck in six months at the Fountain Valley Location, and that one was “possibly arriving today”.
Paul Fry has had a good run, and like many I am sad to see it go, if it goes. As a privately held company, Mr. Fry has always played his cards close to his chest. When I met him at the first store in the late 80’s, I could see then this man wasn’t going to sell out, but he might die trying.
We don’t know for sure, but the evidence says Fry’s as we know it is gone, and even if this is just a “restructuring” it won’t be the same.