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


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years +/- 2000 you could go and see bare hard drives laid out on a table, CPU models pinned to a board on a wall, and raw tower cases on tower cases open on the display.

 

no Microcenter or Best Buy with smaller selection inside retail packaging hidden behind glass cabinet could match that.

 

news stories came a bit over a decade ago around all sorts of corporate malfeasance within their exec ranks and that was really disappointing to a big fan of the brand, who thought they were on the up-and-up

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10 hours ago, Bevo Num1 said:
13 hours ago, Judge Roybeanbag said:
Don’t lie, you used to eat at the Thomas Buffet there next to the hobby shop.   

Or Hometown Buffett before that.

 

10 hours ago, Stunns38 said:


Raises hand embarrassingly

I used to meet my parents there for lunch - never got sick that I was aware of, but man, it was living dangerously.

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It's crazy how far brick and mortar has fallen.  When Fry's opened, the parking lot was packed and they had 50 cashiers working.  The full color back page ad in the AAS was the first thing you turned to in the morning.  I went in there maybe a year ago and I don't even remember the reason why. It seemed to be more of a dollar store or Big Lots with some token electronics haphazardly sold on the side. 

 

Edited by CooterBrown
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52 minutes ago, CooterBrown said:

It's crazy how far brick and mortar has fallen.  When Fry's opened, the parking lot was packed and they had 50 cashiers working.  The full color back page ad in the AAS was the first thing you turned to in the morning.  I went in there maybe a year ago and I don't even remember the reason why. It seemed to be more of a dollar store or Big Lots with some token electronics haphazardly sold on the side. 

 

Last time i went in there, I needed a standard keyboard and they didn't fucking have it. Had to settle for a black gaming keyboard that's unusable in a comfortably lit room unless I turn on its neon blue underlighting with the scroll lock key. Of course that has annoying consequences in basic programs like excel. 

Ordering a replacement from Amazon now. Fuck you, Fry's management. 

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1 hour ago, CooterBrown said:

It's crazy how far brick and mortar has fallen.  When Fry's opened, the parking lot was packed and they had 50 cashiers working.  The full color back page ad in the AAS was the first thing you turned to in the morning.  I went in there maybe a year ago and I don't even remember the reason why. It seemed to be more of a dollar store or Big Lots with some token electronics haphazardly sold on the side. 

Yep, for a few years, I remember coming into work, and somebody would have the newspaper ads open/out.  It was almost a ritual for a while.

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16 hours ago, Judge Roybeanbag said:

Don’t lie, you used to eat at the Thomas Buffet there next to the hobby shop.   

I did eat there once! THOMAS SUPOR BUEFFET! Our little group of tech bros used to see that place and laugh at it and we finally decided one day to try it, almost on like a frat boy dare type thing. 

It was everything you might have expected. I don't remember it well but I'm pretty sure they had a bin of ravioli and a bin of "fresh" shrimp right next to one another on the buffet.

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16 hours ago, atomheartbevo said:

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.


Seems you’ve observed wisely. Was reading an article yesterday on this, and it went into things like them trying to get their inventory on consignment, which most suppliers weren’t having, as well as several big suppliers cutting them off for unpaid bills. They apparently also cut out full time hourly employees. And this was all before this covid shit. 
 

It was an interesting read, but the tl;dr of it all was pretty much a company so entrenched in tech that it couldn’t keep up with trends. They got so far behind and they just couldn’t catch up.

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On 2/24/2021 at 12:45 PM, hayden_horn said:

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.

is it that hot girls have gotten into gaming or is it that hot girls filter to the top of twitch because we'll watch hot girls do anything.

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5 hours ago, SwanderedTalent said:

I did eat there once! THOMAS SUPOR BUEFFET! Our little group of tech bros used to see that place and laugh at it and we finally decided one day to try it, almost on like a frat boy dare type thing. 

It was everything you might have expected. I don't remember it well but I'm pretty sure they had a bin of ravioli and a bin of "fresh" shrimp right next to one another on the buffet.

Thomas' Super Buffet had the strangest mix of food. I ate there several times. I think it was still better than the Ryan's buffet on Parmer Ln, which always made me feel sick afterwards.

 

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On 2/25/2021 at 9:40 AM, atomheartbevo said:

Yep, for a few years, I remember coming into work, and somebody would have the newspaper ads open/out.  It was almost a ritual for a while.

Every Friday morning, they had an entire section in the newspaper (remember newspapers?). High school age tokamak used to study that thing like it was the Magna Carta while eating breakfast.

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21 hours ago, elfenix said:

is it that hot girls have gotten into gaming or is it that hot girls filter to the top of twitch because we'll watch hot girls do anything.

This.

 

On 2/25/2021 at 9:17 AM, B00M said:

How long til city council buys the building to house the homeless? 

Only if one of their cronies owns the building.

 

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2 hours ago, horn4life said:

Hoenstly in Austin they should just tear down that whole shopping center complex that Fry's is in off Mopac and re-develop it as a nice sized mixed use complex. A not so rich main's Domain!

 BUT WHERE WILL THE HARBOR FREIGHT GO

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On 2/25/2021 at 3:25 PM, thunderlounge said:

Seems you’ve observed wisely. Was reading an article yesterday on this, and it went into things like them trying to get their inventory on consignment, which most suppliers weren’t having, as well as several big suppliers cutting them off for unpaid bills. They apparently also cut out full time hourly employees. And this was all before this covid shit. 

It was an interesting read, but the tl;dr of it all was pretty much a company so entrenched in tech that it couldn’t keep up with trends. They got so far behind and they just couldn’t catch up.

I watched Computer City and then CompUSA implode from the inside.  Well I didn't see CompUSA through to the end, I was out the door after CompUSA got bought by some Mexican company and they shut our location down.  And I never understood that because our location was profitable and arguably we had a prime location - high visibility near Highland Mall (intersection of 290 and 35), we were the closest large computer/electronics store to UT, etc.  The fact that it's a large liquor store today speaks volume about how good the location was.

Actually that has nothing to do with my observations of Fry's, it was just, like I said, a ritual of sorts to visit/shop there almost weekly for several years while I worked in North Austin.  Once I stopped working in North Austin, which coincided with Amazon and NewEgg coming on hard in pricing/shipping of computer stuff, I was not as frequent of a visitor, and so problems were lot more noticeable to me.

On a related note, I've been on the hunt for a new CPU and GPU, and it reinforces my desire for a Microcenter in Austin even more - Best Buy is trying to fill the gap for a lot of people, but they never see any decent GPUs or new CPUs in-store.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/28/2021 at 5:19 AM, RPM said:

Man that Fry's ad was weekly must read stuff. 4 pages of greatness.

Their ads are literally the only reason I've caught up on this thread. I've never been inside a Fry's, never will, and was not really a geek growing up (definitely not into building computers) but for some reason middle/high school me would read those ads and just daydream. 

"The CD-RW drives are how much there??" "I can get an 16GB flash drive for that?!??"

Place just seemed awesome.

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And today I learned that Electronic Boutique and Babbages live on in Gamestop, which is really disappointing.  I loved those two stores, especially Babbages.
Gamestop also bought Funcoland, if anyone remembers that. My first job in high school. Fun as hell job. Eye opening how many parents would drop their kids off to "test out" different games for two hours while they shopped or fucked or got drunk or whatever they did.
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When Fry's opened up here I inevitably lost my job at a local computer store.

As did many others due the many local stores closing.

Yes, Fry's had great deals but man did they knock out the local competition.

I did buy my very first pair 1G drives from there. 

I thought I'd never run out of hard drive space.

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17 hours ago, Davis Lane said:

When Fry's opened up here I inevitably lost my job at a local computer store.

As did many others due the many local stores closing.

Yes, Fry's had great deals but man did they knock out the local competition.

I did buy my very first pair 1G drives from there. 

I thought I'd never run out of hard drive space.

I remember buying a 1 gb flash drive for like $75 bucks or something at Fry's. I thought that was amazing. Now a 1 gb flash drive is literally trash.

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On 3/21/2021 at 4:15 PM, Davis Lane said:

When Fry's opened up here I inevitably lost my job at a local computer store.

As did many others due the many local stores closing.

Yes, Fry's had great deals but man did they knock out the local competition.

I did buy my very first pair 1G drives from there. 

I thought I'd never run out of hard drive space.

I do remember in the mid-90s you could open up the Statesman and there'd be tons of ads for local, mom-n-pop type computer businesses. (But by the later 90s the bigger stores mostly stomped them out.) What was the name of that big (at the time) PC parts store that was somewhere near Lamar & Anderson, where that chinese buffet used to be? I think it was next to NTB,

 

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4 hours ago, Paper_jam said:

I do remember in the mid-90s you could open up the Statesman and there'd be tons of ads for local, mom-n-pop type computer businesses. (But by the later 90s the bigger stores mostly stomped them out.) What was the name of that big (at the time) PC parts store that was somewhere near Lamar & Anderson, where that chinese buffet used to be? I think it was next to NTB,

 

In the Metroplex we had First Saturday or Third Saturday or something like that. I can't remember the exact day. You could go to a convention center in downtown Dallas and every mom and pop computer store in the region would be there selling stuff. Dozens of them under one roof. They'd have boxes and trays of parts piled up everywhere and all their prices written on a white board. So this place over here might have an AMD K6 for $86, but that store on the other side of the hall has 'em for $79. Then a 3rd guy has a K6 + a 128 MB stick of RAM combo for $169. It was like heaven to a high school nerd like me. Built my first ever computer from parts bought at one of those shows.

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