The end of Fry’s


Fry’s was a store made by nerds for nerds. Born in Silicon Valley. I always loved going in and seeing every imaginable kind of electronics. I am sad to say I am not surprised by its demise. The last time I went to Fry’s was two years ago in Arizona. Before the pandemic, it was one of the saddest stores I have ever visited with random broken computers scattered around and no one to help. But in its heyday, Fry’s was the best place with amazing staff.

Comments (22)

22 responses to “The end of Fry’s”

  1. basic sandbox

    I remember walking around Fry's 20 years ago eyeing the Pentium III computers.

    The store was cool.

  2. harrymyhre

    Fry's was great, because you could pick up the items and LOOK at them. They sold all these fasteners, screws, something like a Radio Shack on steroids.

    It's a black day in the tech world.

  3. Brett Allen

    I used to go to my local Fry's (Renton, WA) nearly every weekend. I moved to Dallas two years ago and after a few months I went to the nearest store. It was so sad. Empty shelves everywhere. They had a ton of "As Seen on TV" junk, exercise gear, and perfume. It looked like they were close to shuttering the doors. I never went back.

  4. winner

    Even well before the pandemic our nearest Fry's was looking shabby. In its heyday it was a great experience, but time has passed them by.

  5. matsan

    :-( My first Fry's experience was while working in Mountain View 1998-1999. RIP

  6. illuminated

    Sad to see it go but it was a zombie for the last 5 years or so. Internet and iPhone killed them.

  7. harmjr

    I live in Houston and we had 3 locations. Two of them were themed Oil and industry and the other was Nasa themed. I hadn't been in one of them for about 2 years now in Jan I wanted to window shop so I went in. I was heart broken to see the isles of merch they had were all As Seen On TV junk and those party speakers you see at Flea Markets. The last PC I bought at a store was from there. I loved how they always had so many units to select from.

  8. hrlngrv

    Fry's in San Jose was great, but the Concord store stunk.

  9. yoshi

    I never had the chance to visit a Fry's, since they weren't in my area. I've always been big on Micro Center which I believe Paul mentioned is similar in today's FRD.

    I also just read that Best Buy will be laying off 5,000 employees and shutting down some stores.

    Sad times. But inevitable I suppose.

    • bluvg

      In reply to yoshi:

      Not sure about other Micro Centers, but the one in my area is doing gangbusters, employees told me. The pandemic has been very good for their business overall.

    • crunchyfrog

      In reply to yoshi: I used to avoid Best Buy but in the last year or so I have been shopping there a lot more. They have adapted much better than many of the other retailers. I can easily see which store has what I need, order it and go pick it up.

      • yoshi

        In reply to crunchyfrog:

        Yeah, honestly I'm a huge fan of Best Buy. They can still be hit or miss depending on store, but overall I like them. Their online ordering and store pickup is top notch.

    • Greg Green

      In reply to yoshi:

      Best Buy apparently increased revenue last year with online purchases, however they closed 40 stores in the last two years and are looking at closing more as their leases come up. They expect 40% of their sales to be on line. I guess they’re building to that future.

  10. murray judy

    The best thing about Fry's was the people watching. Over-the-top nerd-fashion and nerd-couples that even Hollywood couldn't create were everywhere.

    Probably explains why they sold popcorn.

    • crunchyfrog

      In reply to murray judy: I remember the old days at Fry's with their horrendous return policy and long lines of screaming customers. It was worse than going to the DMV. I strategically bought exactly what I needed so I could avoid ever having to return something.

  11. shark47

    I've only ever bought one thing at Fry's, a Philips portable CD player, back in 2001 when I was visiting the Bay Area. I'm just sad about the rate at which we are losing brick and mortar stores. Circuit City, Radio Shack, Fry's - all gone. All Hail Amazon!

    • Greg Green

      In reply to shark47:

      Buy online or in person from Best Buy or we’ll lose them too.

    • bkkcanuck

      In reply to shark47:

      Here we don't have Amazon, but I have noticed a mark decline in any malls where they focused on DIY computer components and builds. Pantip Plaza (which had part DIY build stores and part a mix of old computer junk and trying to sell porn to westerners (touts) .... is now mostly a 'Lifestyle Mall' (before COVID), and Singapore their mall I use to go to that was also focused on DIY builds - is depleted of those stores as well.

      • bluvg

        In reply to bkkcanuck:

        Oh, I miss Panthip, MBK, etc... very sad to hear Panthip is not the same. Looking forward to a post-COVID visit once mandatory quarantine has been lifted. I miss going with friends to the local festivals and finding some new food to try.

        Where do you get your parts now? I was always skeptical about computers from Panthip, though, as they were typically pre-loaded with malware and pirated software. I've spent many hours helping friends clean up their brand new machines.

        • bkkcanuck

          In reply to bluvg:

          I have not been down in Bangkok for a year and a half but I think 'Fortune Town IT (a few stops north of Asok on the MRT line) is more or less the same (less diversity but also had less annoyance from touts)... and of course the chains still exist (JIBs and Banana IT) as well as a computer shop in Hua Hin 'Invade IT'. Never bought a full computer, and never bought pirated Windows or any other software... asking for trouble with those.

  12. vladimir

    As a teen, in the 90s, I had a few opportunities to visit the US. When i was there, I loved visiting the huge computer stores that offered the opportunity to see and test all kinds of hardware, computer peripherals and even books. All this did not exist in Europe at the time. We just had very small shops with no inventory. Everything had to be ordered looking at catalogues. It's funny the situation is reversed now. We still do have huge stores in Europe but they all went out of business in the US

  13. crunchyfrog

    It's sad, not just because Fry's is going away but it's the way it ended for them. I used to love going into every Fry's I could find while traveling, however over the years I watched it wither away like a beloved family member to the point that I simply stopped going to visit because I knew they would not have anything I needed.

    They can blame online shopping but my experience is that it's a failure of management to adapt than just an outright consumer revolt. They never could get the online shopping experience to work just like Sears, Radio Shack, Circuit City, the list goes on.