Fry’s, one of the last dedicated electronics retailers in the U.S. and a once-beloved institution on the west coast, permanently closed its doors late Tuesday night. Its Twitter feed is set to private, its Facebook page is gone, and the Fry’s website itself has been replaced by an announcement of the closure, along with information on where past customers can find help going forward.
“After nearly 36 years in business as the one-stop-shop and online resource for high-tech professionals across nine states and 31 stores, Fry’s Electronics, Inc., has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the website now reads.
The pandemic surely didn’t help, but Fry’s was in a downward spiral long before Covid hit. Fry’s legacy may be its massive, uniquely themed stores—you could find a Fry’s with UFOs, and another with cowboys, and another with Egyptian gear—and legendarily bad customer service. But over the last several years, the store become better known for its vast stretches of empty shelves. YouTuber Bitwit famously toured an empty Fry’s in January of last year, and you could see the writing on the wall then.
So Fry’s closure is no surprise, but it’s definitely the end of an era. At least we still have Microcenter.
For a longer jaunt down memory lane, go check out the Twitter feed of former PCWorld editor Harry McCracken. He’s been honoring the store’s memory with a firehose of nostalgia, summoning seemingly endless photographs and newspaper articles from Fry’s heyday.