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Fry's is Fried - Closing Down. Austin Needs a Micro Center


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If you are close to both, Microcenter has been crushing Fry's for 10 years.

A few (more) huge boxes are gonna be sittin' empty for a long time.

I won't miss the shitty customer service, bag checks, and always ridiculously long checkout lines.

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41 minutes ago, RPM said:

 

Looks like my best buys are no longer at Fry's...guaranteed :( will miss the jingle, the little personified microchip, and the actual times in the store.

Edited by TheFlyingBoat
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Under duress, I darkened the door of Fry's back in the early 2000s due to the unrelenting pressure of my wife and her desire to get a Helio Ocean slider phone.

Fry's sucked, Helio Ocean slider phone sucked, the money was sucked out of my wallet and the phone was quickly abandoned.

To this date, when my wife wants some ridiculous purchase I just say "Helio" and the conversation quiets.

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Used to go to the one in South Arlington at the old Hypermart quite a bit, then they opened the one in Carrollton and started going there. It was never busy and they had great techs that were fast because they had no wait time. Rescued my old gaming tower in 10 minutes and it was like $40.

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This was in the pandemic thread, but Fry's in Austin has been shit for many years, way before the pandemic.

Early/mid-2000s, when I worked up in North Austin at a few tech companies, I swear, at least once a week a group of us would go to Fry's at lunch, and at least two people would come away with decent purchases.  I probably built a good half-dozen computers for the wife and I, as well as family members, from stuff I bought at Fry's - they had some really good deals at times, and good prices on a lot of stuff in general.  It was always packed at lunchtime.

And then at some point they just stopped stocking, stuff became dated quickly, and the place started becoming a ghost town.

I was actually thinking Fry's would be rocking during the pandemic, when people began to upgrading/building PCs for working (and gaming) from home, along with all of the associated accessories.

I went in the Austin Fry's few months ago, and it was just stunning how empty the shelves were.  Almost felt like their inventory could fit in a Best Buy.

I wish Austin would get a Micro Center.

Edited by atomheartbevo
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  • atomheartbevo changed the title to Fry's is Fried - Closing Down. Austin Needs a Micro Center

And it was sudden

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/24/business/frys-electronics-closure/index.html

Quote

Fry's Electronics suddenly closed all of its stores overnight, ending a nearly four-decade run in business. 

The company, which had 31 stores across nine US states, said in a statement on its website that it "made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently" because of changing consumer shopping habits and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

Based in San Jose, California, the privately held company was a family business. It was founded in 1985 by the three Fry brothers with the goal of being a "Silicon Valley retail electronics store to provide a one-stop-shopping environment for the Hi-Tech Professional."

I call bullshit.  At least in Austin, Fry's became a shitty store a good decade ago.  For a while, you could go in and have a decent selection of hardware and software and that had prices approaching NewEgg and Amazon (but more importantly, you could walk out with the item in hand that day, rather than wait on it to be shipped).

If anything, the pandemic should have helped it out, given that we had a massive increase in the number of people buying/building PCs.  As somebody building a gaming PC right now, certain components sell out quickly these days.

Edit: Reddit nailed it:

Quote

 To honor their memory, please stand in line while waiting for someone to check your receipt for the chewing gum you bought when you couldn't find any games or movies from the current decade in the store to purchase.

 

Edited by atomheartbevo
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Fry's was shitty in the 90s.  Multiple accounts of them repackaging broken returns as new and selling it off the shelf again.  Which makes no sense because they should have been able to just RMA that crap back to the manufacturer, but instead they tried to sell it again.  After they did that to me once, I never went back, and that was over 25 years ago.

In short... Fuck Fry's.

 

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3 hours ago, 52-80 said:

Very sad.  I used to spend a large portion of my youth there, not getting laid.

you and me both.

somewhat unfairly, it seems to me, is that a lot of hot girls have gotten into gaming. this was...not the case when i was going to fry's. plenty of acne, glasses, and ill fitting, stained tshirts there though.

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I stopped into the mopac store in Sept because I needed to pick up a thumb drive on the way into the office. It was a ghost town, but I got the drive cheap. They also had one of the largest collections of PPE including gloves, masks & hand sanitizer. It was crazy.

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I have no idea how they held on so long.  I'm no computer nerd, but I need high performance computers to do my job -- I had them build me 2 really good workstations over the past 3 years.  Every time I went in to grab something like a keyboard or whatever over the last couple of years, it was just more and more barren.  How much rent did they blow by not shutting down years ago?

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Back in the day, Fry's was one of the greatest stores on earth.   

In the dark days before the world wide web,  long before amazon,  the go-to place had been RadioShack or odd-balls stores like Weird Stuff Warehouse.   Fry's was a game changer. 

Fry's was to RadioShack like HEB is to <insert_any_grocer> 

But all good things must end.  Fry's stopped being relevant when the were slow to move online...from that point it was only a mater of time.  That time is today.

RIP  

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loved Fry's but here we are today. 

image.png.02d81d7210786d88acda6782b1662e32.png

 

Hell, i am a EE that used to work for AMD and stopped building my own PCs.  Used to go there all the time for passive components and you could count them to have most everything in stock.  Last store i would just go visit 'just because' or because my pops was in town and he loved going in there.

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Fry's was shitty in the 90s.  Multiple accounts of them repackaging broken returns as new and selling it off the shelf again.  Which makes no sense because they should have been able to just RMA that crap back to the manufacturer, but instead they tried to sell it again.  After they did that to me once, I never went back, and that was over 25 years ago.
In short... Fuck Fry's.
 

Same here
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Several years ago those shysters sold me a broken used thingamajig that was packaged and priced as brand new.  Houston southwest store.  Screw them.

Edit:  Looks like I wasn't the only one burned by that.

 

I'm guessing Incredible Universe is also no longer with us....

Edited by clapclapclap
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I don't know how they lasted as long as they did. They're stuff was total crap.

Anytime I went in the Plano one there was like 15 customers and 47 employees in their ill-fitting dress shirts standing around looking miserable trying to avoid eye contact with any customers.

Then you'd spend 20 minutes looking for some random thing you needed only to find the empty shelf space where it should be.

Then you leave and drive down 75 to the Microcenter wondering why you bothered trying Fry's in the first place.

 

Edited by Hawndoh
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I never visited during it's zenith, but I seem to recall an empty store off Mopac that had an empty cafe inside. It was a creepy place post-amazon, but I can see how it was pretty cool in the 90s.

Edited by SimonBolivar
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It was better when it was Incredible Universe. The THX room was awesome. 

The one here in East Dallas has been a ghost town for years. I would go in there for a random ink cartridge or mouse replacement that Amazon couldn't get to me fast enough. It was getting to a point where they had a wall of the same terrible item as they weren't getting any replacement items. 

Those are going to be some huge empty stores. 

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I only went there for parts in that one little back section - the Radio Shack on steroids part.  Rest of the place was like a payday car lot.

But I did see my first 4K TV in person there.

The apple section was also a good place to play with the latest Apple gadget without having to set foot in an Apple store and deal with that shit.

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2 minutes ago, mdmost said:

It was better when it was Incredible Universe. The THX room was awesome. 

The one here in East Dallas has been a ghost town for years. I would go in there for a random ink cartridge or mouse replacement that Amazon couldn't get to me fast enough. It was getting to a point where they had a wall of the same terrible item as they weren't getting any replacement items. 

Those are going to be some huge empty stores. 

just to be clear - incredible universe was radshack.  building may have been taken over by fry's in your neck of the woods but different companies. 

 

last few times i've been to fry's (and only a few times since 2015 or so), place has been a ghost town.  40 cash registers with 3 open and maybe a person or two in line, more employees than customers in store, shelves half bare.  used to be packed full of customers on weekends.  and the heady days of chip/motherboard combos.  between 2002 and 2010 i must have bought 10 of those just for me. 

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4 hours ago, atomheartbevo said:

I wish Austin would get a Micro Center.

There's a MicroCenter 15 minutes from my house. I stopped by a few times to pick up new monitors last year. It is prime people watching in there. Geeks and nerds with no social skills walking around aimlessly and not adhering to social distancing.

 

And with Fry's closing, where am I going to get their $4 hand crafted artisanal ham and cheese sandwiches?  (They always advertised it in their flyers).

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37 minutes ago, Longhornstampede said:

Looks like someone will be getting a good deal on rent to open a Laser Tag or  Halloween Store!

I’ve seen indoor go karts move on some of this space.

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So what do you think caused the inventory issues? The store had blamed the issue on COVID and the inability to get products from China. But it sounds like the problem has been going on since way before COVID.

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Wild guess, but I assumed that their inventory dried up because they didn't have the money to pay vendors for new product. And/or still owed vendors for previous shipments of product.

It's been in obvious decline for at least a decade but I'm still sad to see it go. Used to be a pretty good place for PC games, DVDs, CDs, and some midgrade A/V stuff. And I don't know where I'll go if I need something like a PC power supply, case fan, a mouse, or a monitor RIGHT NOW and can't wait on shipping.

And I liked the idea that they tried to run a cafe right in the store. Reminded me of K-Mart in the old days.

 

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1 hour ago, Celery Man said:

still mourning computer city

Amen brutha.  I fondly recall buying huge packages of single sided floppy disks and hole-punching them into double sided glory.

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9 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

I have no idea how they held on so long.  I'm no computer nerd, but I need high performance computers to do my job -- I had them build me 2 really good workstations over the past 3 years.  Every time I went in to grab something like a keyboard or whatever over the last couple of years, it was just more and more barren.  How much rent did they blow by not shutting down years ago?

Yeah, I'm really shocked they were able to last as long as they did - they had to burn through a shitload of money keeping those stores open over the years.  I wondered if somebody like NewEgg or Amazon would buy up a few of them and turn them into smaller retail stores with a massive shipping center out back to handle local/regional stuff, but NewEgg isn't interested, and Amazon prefers their retail stores to be small and only handle the top selling items in certain categories.

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4 hours ago, Bevo said:

So what do you think caused the inventory issues? The store had blamed the issue on COVID and the inability to get products from China. But it sounds like the problem has been going on since way before COVID.

Inventory issues go back a decade at least.  Early 2000s, they had an amazing inventory of cases, motherboards, CPU, RAM, etc.  You could get the parts to build a decent-spec computer for a decent price in one trip to Fry's, and you could go from a cheap-ass budget build all the way up to a high-end premium build.

Maybe it was Amazon and NewEgg, and like Best Buy, Fry's pivoted to big-ticket stuff (large appliances, etc.) in an effort to pull people in, but it still seemed like Fry's was doing enough volume in the early 2000s to still have decent prices.

There were some supply fuckups somewhere along the line, but they had years to correct them - like I said, a store like Fry's should have been thriving over the past year, with so many people building/upgrading their home PCs, as well as there being a PC gaming renaissance of sorts.

I hope the story eventually comes out, because I am really curious as hell as to A) How they survived for so long and B) How they couldn't course-correct over the last 10 years or so.  This wasn't a Computer City/Circuit City/CompUSA thing where a few bad years could doom them, since they started deteriorating so long ago.

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3 hours ago, Celery Man said:

still mourning computer city

Made the transition from Computer City to CompUSA and moved on when they closed down.   Last retail job I had, although technically I was in tech services.

We were closest to UT, so worked on more than a few computers from students/athletes, which was interesting.  I worked on Cactus Pryor's computer a few times as well.  Still amazing that people would overpay for various expansion/upgrade cards, and then pay us to install them.

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