Goodbye Fry’s Electronics

Thread Starter

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,158

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
377
Man I was even thinking of heading over there one Saturday, a few weeks ago I decided to set aside a morning!

It wasn't a bad store, neat to be able to wander around a large store and see so much stuff, a rarity too to see some of the technical products like that on shelves.

I guess its a combination of Covid and online stores, I've bought so much electrical and electronics stuff from Amazon the past few months.
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
15,464
Man I was even thinking of heading over there one Saturday, a few weeks ago I decided to set aside a morning!

It wasn't a bad store, neat to be able to wander around a large store and see so much stuff, a rarity too to see some of the technical products like that on shelves.

I guess its a combination of Covid and online stores, I've bought so much electrical and electronics stuff from Amazon the past few months.
I hope you're not copping to it being all your fault! Yikeso_O
 

ZCochran98

Joined Jul 24, 2018
131
After Radio Shack, for the most part, died to death (they really shouldn't have tried to become a phone and battery store, considering a lot of their clientele were makers and hobbyists....), I relied on Frye's for "oops I forgot to order such-and-such component, guess I gotta go get one fast!" So this is sad, but I can't say I didn't see it coming; the Frye's Electronics near where I lived had been dwindling in quantity and quality of supplies for years. The last time I was in there (pre-COVID), I was the only customer in there. Even then, they were struggling to even get inventory stocked! It was always "an order is on its way."
 

Lo_volt

Joined Apr 3, 2014
149
Baltimore lost Bainesville Electronics a few years ago, another sad loss.

What ticks me off about Amazon is the absolute junk that's sold by their marketplace vendors. Any Chinese manufacturer can open up a store and sell direct to the US. There's no oversight, no UL or CE compliance. Rarely any quality at all. Often the sellers renege on warranties if they even warranty the product in the first place. Shipping is horrendous as well. My daughter bought an IP security camera from one of the marketplace vendors. She was then checking her network traffic and realized the camera was being accessed by someone with a Chinese IP address. She tossed the camera and got a name brand unit. And don't even ask me about the masks that are sold there!
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
26,735
Not to mention Lafayette Electronics and Allied Electronics
Yes, I used to like Lafayette Electronics as the sold cheaper Asian parts when few others did.

Allied Electronics is still around, of course, but mainly for industrial type purchases.
I used to look forward to the arrival of the new Allied Radio Electronics catalog, with their Knight Kits and other hobby electronics.
As I recall the first electronics kit I built (circa 1960) was a 20W/chan stereo amplifier here (bottom left).
The kit did have a curious design error.
It worked fine after I built it except for the magnetic phono input, which had way too much treble (had to turn the treble control all the way down for a more or less normal treble).
After some research into the phono circuit I realized the record RIAA equalization network was missing the high frequency roll-off capacitor (which normally gives a 1-pole rolloff above 2122Hz).
After adding that, the treble response was fine.
It baffles me to this day how they could have sold the kit without realizing that the capacitor was missing, since it was painfully obvious when listening to records. :rolleyes:
 

ZCochran98

Joined Jul 24, 2018
131
I have come to realize I have not heard of most of these other companies that have largely disappeared (if not entirely disappeared). Wow.
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
15,464
Yes, I used to like Lafayette Electronics as the sold cheaper Asian parts when few others did.

Allied Electronics is still around, of course, but mainly for industrial type purchases.
I used to look forward to the arrival of the new Allied Electronics consumer catalog, with their Knight Kits and other hobby electronics.
As I recall the first electronics kit I built (circa 1960) was a 20W/chan stereo amplifier here (bottom left).
The kit did have a curious design error.
It worked fine after I built it except for the magnetic phono input, which had way too much treble (had to turn the treble control all the way down for a more or less normal treble).
After some research into the phono circuit I realized the record RIAA equalization network was missing the high frequency roll-off capacitor (which normally gives a 1-pole rolloff above 2122Hz).
After adding that, the treble response was fine.
It baffles me to this day how they could have sold the kit without realizing that the capacitor was missing, since it was painfully obvious when listening to records. :rolleyes:
For me it was the VTVM.
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
15,464
I have come to realize I have not heard of most of these other companies that have largely disappeared (if not entirely disappeared). Wow.
There is an add on CNBC that mentions: "One-half of the companies in the S&P 500 at the turn of the century are no longer in existence". That to my mind is absolutely stunning.
 
Every medium sized town would have an electronics shop where they would sell all sorts of components and tools. Mostly focused on radio and TVs, and expensive, but nevertheless it was a paradise for someone getting started in electronics, as one could get free advice from both shopkeepers and patrons alike.

All of those are completely gone.
 
Last edited:

jgessling

Joined Jul 31, 2009
82
I guess I can throw in my Fry’s story. In 1979 when I started my first “real” job I was wearing a tie and doing computer and mapping stuff at our local San Francisco oil company. Now known as Chevron. That summer a young intern showed up wearing monogramed white shirts. John Fry. He never seemed to actually do anything except talk on the phone and then disappear after lunch.

No skin off my nose I guess, I was having fun modeling geologic basin gravity contours, on an Apple ][ no less. One of my bosses son had his name etched inside the case. It was a real poke in the eye to the corporate mainframers. Fun for a young buck getting started

There are lot’s of stories about Fry’s electronics, I later worked in Sunnyvale right around the corner from the original store. (at AMD). We would walk over at lunch just to look. It was a weird jumble, one feature was the junk food displays lining the aisle to the checkout. Soda, candy all along. Waiting in line would be some nerds with electronic parts next to some guys with a basket full of Coke cans. The story was that Fry senior would only fund the store if they also sold the junk food items that he knew would sell. That made for a very diverse line, nerds with their prized components and holding some candy and Coke to keep them going interspersed with guys from the local Mexican restaurants who had discovered that the Coke cans were cheaper here than wholesale.

Good times all over. And to top it off there was a store across the street “Weird Stuff” selling surplus stuff from the local assembly and research businesses.

All gone now I’m afraid.
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,505
Last time I was in Frys I saw the writing on the wall. It was a YUGE store, bigger than best buy. Half of it was devoted to selling DVDs and appliances and the other half was the electronics. They had the aisles spaced far enough apart to drive a fire truck down, so that it wouldn't look as empty as it was. To no avail, 75% of the shelves were bare. It was depressing. I went for solder. They didn't have any. Solder. They didn't have any solder. Frys didn't have any solder. I said my goodbyes and made my peace with it.
 
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