The post-economic fallout caused by the pandemic has claimed a West Coast icon.
Fry’s Electronics announced on its website it has shut down operations and closed all 31 of its stores after 36 years, citing “changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The company’s full website has been pulled down, replaced only with a message detailing the chain’s closure.
Fry’s is reaching out to vendors and to customers who have ongoing repairs with the chain about next steps.
“The Company will implement the shut down through an orderly wind down process that it believes will be in the best interests of the Company, its creditors, and other stakeholders,” reads an excerpt of the message on Fry’s website.
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The electronics store chain operated 31 stores in nine states, mostly in California and Texas.
The company was founded in 1985 in Sunnyvale, Calif. by the three Fry Brothers – John, Randy, and Dave – and Kathy Kolder, according to a cached version of the Fry’s website detailing its history.
Each store had its own theme, such as the Sunnyvale location detailing the history of Silicon Valley, and the Houston store paying tribute to the history of Texas oil.
Despite its smaller size compared to giants like Best Buy, Fry’s was an icon in electronics retail, said Neil Saunders, managing director of consultancy GlobalData Retail. But even before the pandemic, big chains like Best Buy and Target had siphoned customers away from Fry’s.
“That left the business increasingly reliant on its core electronics customers for sales,” said Saunders. “However, even here, more and more technology enthusiasts were buying computer and electrical components from online suppliers.”
Fry’s is just the latest business hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, as Americans quarantined to limit the spread of the virus. Last year, several businesses filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the pandemic, including J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and Hertz.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.