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.”
“It is hoped that undertaking the wind-down through this orderly process will reduce costs, avoid additional liabilities, minimize the impact on our customers, vendors, landlords and associates, and maximize the value of the company’s assets for its creditors and other stakeholders,” Fry’s explained on its website.
Other details about its sudden disappearance were scarce.
Many of its retail locations had wacky themes. For example, its Burbank location was inspired by 1950s sci-fi movies and had a UFO decoration crashing through the exterior of the store. Its Phoenix, Arizona, location had an ancient Aztec temple and its Houston, Texas store was inspired by the state’s oil history.
The retailer didn’t innovate its online operations as rapidly compared to its larger rivals. Best Buy (BBY), for example, recently reported its best quarter in 25 years as home-bound customers snapped up laptops, home theater systems and kitchen appliances.