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Frys electronics is Closing.

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Reply 20 of 26, by brostenen

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Small privately owned computer shops have nearly all been closing down here in Denmark, since around 2007/08'ish. When the recession kicked in it just went faster. There are a few surviving ones here and there. Else it is big chain stores, like something that are named Elgiganten. They also provide shopping online, were you can pick up in the store or have it sent to you.

We have one big supplier of electronics, named Elextra. And they have a webshop as well, and ship to you. That thing someone talked about, that made stores close all over, have no real effect here as such on electronics stores. You just buy online, have it delivered at a pickup place (usually a grocery shop) or delivered to your door. The ones that are left have extreme good service, and will usually ship fast. Like I ordered solder tin on monday, and was able to pick up the package on wednesday. And fast shipping is something they will survive on. Who wants to wait 2 months for electronics components, when you can have it delivered in 3 days? (Just buy before 5pm)

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

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Reply 21 of 26, by shamino

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The internet is something Fry's never did well.
A long time ago they bought out a forgotten internet retailer from the bubble days, I think it was "outpost.com" if I'm getting the name right. My memory is foggy of what the web site looked like after that, but I think it wasn't integrated with their physical store business very well, or maybe even at all.

I think it wasn't until just a few years ago that you could finally search Fry's web site and find out what was in stock at your nearest store. And even accomplishing that was always clumsy and frustrating. The site was stubborn about wanting to assume my store was San Jose and liked to quietly ignore me when I'd try to tell it otherwise. Occasionally I could actually change it. Until next time.
Even when I got my store changed, I don't think I was ever able to filter search results to *only* show what was actually available to buy there. In a perfect world, I'd have liked that to include 2 different stores I was willing to drive to, but let's not get crazy.
The search form didn't work well either. Half the time I'd get back 1000 results, or none at all, and couldn't find something that I *knew* they should have.
Search results were heavily spammed with old Clearance priced Open Box items from 5 years ago that supposedly had 1 unit available in a store 3 states away from you.
Not sure when, if ever, it became possible to buy online and pick up in the store instead of driving down with your fingers crossed.

Since Fry's was a major expedition for many people, their web site should have been better at inviting people to make the trip.

The Friday newspaper ad was something to look forward to though. That is something they did do well. Every Friday they'd cycle through a new set of sale promotions, and anybody in the market would study that Friday ad and come shopping over the weekend. They'd almost always have some great CPU+Motherboard combos. The last new computer I built got it's CPU from one of those deals. It cost about the same with a motherboard as it did without one.

I was on Fry's email list but lately was in the habit of deleting their emails unread. I wish I had kept the last ad they sent. I wonder if it said anything about going out of business or just promised more deals.

Reply 22 of 26, by Intel486dx33

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“Central computer” is the only local computer builder i know of in Silicon Valley.
They post “We beat Amazon” on there website ?

Who knows how they are doing in these troubled times with the lock downs in Silicon Valley ?

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Reply 23 of 26, by creepingnet

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Most of the local shops I see open doing computer stuff are in one of three states...regardless of location...

- Still has the signage but nothing inside, usually looks like it did when it started.

- Looks like a PC Recycler dumping ground, still does some repairs on modern equipment. Usually owned by older guy (50+) and was opened sometime in the 1980's or 1990's and has been around for a long time. I usually get great prices at places like this, and usually they let you peruse their recycle pile unless they have caught people reselling their stuff on e-bay.

- Looks old on the outside, but inside everything is modern. Usually one of two types here - either a bunch of younger people who have not a cluse what anything before a Core 2 Duo is, throws out PS/2 peripherals, does not allow CRT monitors for resell/disposal, and usually has seriously inflated prices on stuff you can buy from China direct on e-bay for pennies on the dollar. Or it's an older guy who seems bored and likely has a son or a "work son" as I call it who will probably take over the place and run it into the ground before it closes for good.

Local Fry's type Places it's sort of the same deal. Limited inventory, a lot of it just old enough to be "old" but not vintage. Asking for vintage stuff gets a laugh, asking to see the recycle pile or if there's any "junk" in back to get rid of results in them saying "we don't want to be liable if you get injured" type responses. Place closes, all the stuff is scrapped.

An interesting I thought I had for someone with a lot of business savvy whose into the things we are would be to re-orient and re-brand Fry's as a retro botique for people like us. Keep all the same locations, but become more like a chain version of Computer Reset. IE, sell vintage electronics all around. Boom Boxes, CRT TV's, CRT Monitors, vintage Computers, vintage game systems and games, and maybe even some things like used musical instruments.

The argument I get against such a thing is that it'll "never take off" - then what about RE-PC, whom metaljesusrocks did a full tour of? What about Computer Reset - an un-air-conditioned 3000 sq foot warehouse in the middle of the Dallas Industrial Ghetto (or so I'm told) filled with rat feces and rust among the decades of vintage tech hiding behind it's doors? A place it seems over 100K have joined a friggin Facebook Group wanting to make a pilgrimage to the "retro PC Mecca" from around the world? If that's not interest then I don't know what is? If people are willing to climb rat shit covered Compaq's to find expansion cards and look for random electronic odditites, I'd say there's market, and one Fry's could easily be converted to. Then all we'd need is some visits by LGR, 8-bit guy, Metaljesus, for videos and the places would legitimize what we do a lot more - not to mention provide a new eco-friendly solution to our e-waste problem in this country.

I've been talking about this for 2 decades and get poo-pooed by people very freakin' time. I'd not even charge to dump your CRTs - taking a burden off the local PC shops for having to handle such things.

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Reply 24 of 26, by shamino

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Fry's stores are huge, so they couldn't keep their old locations if they shifted into a niche business. I wonder if the old locations will survive as Super Home Depots/etc, or just get demolished. They could be subdivided but they're pretty deep so they would still only be usable by very large stores.

We still had a local computer shop nearby in CA before I moved - but I haven't been in there in a few years so unknown if they were still really open. Like all those stores they were mainly in the repair business. It was a good place to buy simple specific components like cables and drive mounting brackets and such.
Due to the business they were in, they ended up with lots of 2nd hand components. Going back 10-15 years ago they used to make a serious effort to offer them for sale. It was fun to browse. On different occasions I remember buying a large ATX case, a P2B motherboard, and 5 socket-7 CPUs. The CPUs were in a cardboard box containing ~100 of them, all for $1 each. I picked out 5 of the more unusual ones, but looking back now of course I wish I had made an offer on the whole box.
As the years went by they stopped putting used components out for sale. They might have had some, but if it's not on display in the storefront then I don't really want to make awkward requests to aimlessly browse their service area. Other local shops were out of business entirely by this point. So the fun of browsing old components at local shops came to an end.

I would still go in occasionally to get basic parts. The last time I went in there (a few years ago) the owner was now refusing to sell modular PSU cables because somebody might plug them into an incompatible PSU, not bother to check the pinout and damage something. Previously I had used such cables to solder needed connectors into a PSU and wanted to do the same this time, but nope they weren't for sale anymore. I ended up getting what I needed at Fry's (SATA splitter/extension cables which I clipped and soldered).

It's kind of sad when a computer shop won't even sell cables for fear of lawsuits, or maybe it was willful nannying, not sure which.
That's quite a shift from what early PC enthusiasts used to do. People would buy boards, passive components and ICs and solder the whole damn thing together over the course of a month, and carefully check their work because it was up to them to make sure they didn't smoke it. Once they got it running, they'd have basically a box of blinkenlights until they figured out how to program it to do something, anything at all.

Incidentally that was when electronics stores were booming, and Fry's got started. The funny thing is there's a lot of interest in hobby electronics nowadays - but it seems retail didn't find a way to stay relevant in the midst of that.

Reply 25 of 26, by NovaCN

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shamino wrote on 2021-03-10, 05:18:

We still had a local computer shop nearby in CA before I moved - but I haven't been in there in a few years so unknown if they were still really open. Like all those stores they were mainly in the repair business. It was a good place to buy simple specific components like cables and drive mounting brackets and such.
Due to the business they were in, they ended up with lots of 2nd hand components. Going back 10-15 years ago they used to make a serious effort to offer them for sale. It was fun to browse. On different occasions I remember buying a large ATX case, a P2B motherboard, and 5 socket-7 CPUs. The CPUs were in a cardboard box containing ~100 of them, all for $1 each. I picked out 5 of the more unusual ones, but looking back now of course I wish I had made an offer on the whole box.
As the years went by they stopped putting used components out for sale. They might have had some, but if it's not on display in the storefront then I don't really want to make awkward requests to aimlessly browse their service area. Other local shops were out of business entirely by this point. So the fun of browsing old components at local shops came to an end.

I used to work at a little shop like that. We didn't let people browse the parts though because the contents of the shelves were in constant danger of falling and injuring them. Owner had ADHD so nothing was organized in the slightest, but if you needed something specific, he could tell you which pile it was in and exactly how deep you'd need to dig.
The place tragically went out of business a couple years ago because our bread and butter was cleaning malware, and infection rates started falling steadily ever since Windows 10 implemented automatic updates. Those last few days, as we were clearing everything out, my boss let me take the handful of old games that had somehow ended up in the piles over the years (big box Diablo II and its expansion, Max Payne in a clamshell, some assorted ones in jewel cases), but there weren't too many particularly unusual or rare components left at that point; everything had been going into customer machines as warranted.
I actually learned most of what I know about building and fixing PCs from working there, and I do often miss it.

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Reply 26 of 26, by rmay635703

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I got a lot of parts for free (or close) From the former Jack Allen computers (one owner started (computer renaissance)

Allen would let me browse his recycling bin area and buy parts per pound at the scrap rate.

He used to maintain all the local DEC and mainframe systems, sadly I had little interest in those.

Got a lot of old network cards and a few gems like the IBM EGA card with the memory expansion and the IBM 5170 motherboard I have that was an OEM spare with shipping damage to some of the piggyback memory chips.

Sadly he had to go out in 2012 when the hobby was at its lowest and I could have had half a warehouse of 80’s gear but had no time or interest in that project at that point having cleared a few truckloads of my own stuff (mostly to recyclers) at that point.

Wish I would have bought the room for it looking back.