Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Fry's (1985-2021)

I come to bury Fry's, not to praise it. 

Fry's was a joke in the last few years. Almost everything in the stores was on consignment, like some strange electronics thrift shop. All that square footage, and what was mostly on display were "seen on TV!" items and junk. 

There wasn't even much of that, at the end. 

Fry's was the embodiment of the death of retail. It was too big, had too much inventory, and was doomed to die as online took over. 

And yet. 

When Fry's first opened the Austin location, it was a happening. 50,000 square feet of electronics. 70 checkout lanes. 

It had everything electronic. Everything. If it plugged in, Fry's had it.

The Austin store had a theme, and it was music, and it was all so beautifully done and utterly spectacular. It was absolutely the single best retail location I've ever seen. 

It was also a three minute drive from my house, and I used to just go over and walk around. Didn't even always buy something. I just wanted to be there. 

As a demonstration of the power of retail, it was a colossus.

Which is what killed it, of course. Fry's couldn't adapt to changing consumer behavior, no matter how they tried. 

Still, I wouldn't trade those memories for anything. 

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