Sunday, December 29, 2019

[ICYMI] Fry's Electronics Quietly Pulled the Plug in Duluth

Fry's Electronics earlier this month abruptly closed its store in Duluth and the entire chain may soon meet a similar fate.  The Duluth store, located on the rear side of Gwinnett Place Mall and visible from I-85, reportedly closed shortly after Thanksgiving, surprisingly well before the peak holiday shopping season. The nearly 150,000 square foot store first opened in 2004.

Based in San Jose, California, Fry's Electronics shares a logo similar to that of Fry's Food & Drug due to the fact that three of the men who started the electronics chain - John, "Randy" & David Fry - did so with funds provided to them by their father, Charles Fry, founder of the supermarket chain.  The Fry's supermarket chain started in 1954 with the electronics retailer debuting in 1985.   The two chains were never corporately connected and today the supermarket chain is a wholly owned division of The Kroger Company.

Sources with knowledge of the Duluth closure tell ToNeTo Atlanta that the store had seemingly stopped receiving new merchandise some time ago and that no "closing sale" took place with the company opting instead to send on-hand merchandise to the other Atlanta area store in Milton.  The Milton store, located on Webb Road just off Windward Parkway, opened in 2006 and is just over 150,000 square feet, slightly larger than the Duluth outpost.  

Fry's Electronics, like its onetime rival Incredible Universe [a division of then RadioShack owner Tandy], built ridiculously large stores in hopes of being "one stop shops" for all kinds of electronics.  The stores, though, were not nearly the success the companies had hoped.  Fry's purchased six profitable Incredible Universe stores in 1997 and converted them to the Fry's banner.  The purchase did not include the lone Incredible Universe in Atlanta.  The store, located along I-85 in Duluth not far from Fry's, has gone though several replacement retailers, most recently Dave & Buster's and a Havertys Outlet, both of which are now closed.  

Online reports indicate that several Fry's stores nationwide seem to be liquidating and perhaps even offering sales, without mention of a "going out of business sale." (Other reports indicate the entire chain will close by February 2020)  When contacted for comment on the suddenness of the Duluth closure and the status of the Milton store, an associate at the Milton store indicated they are not closing but confirmed the Duluth store closure was sudden and without warning.  

Fry's closure in Duluth is just the latest in a growing list of big box closures in the area.  

Target closed its large format SuperTarget on Venture Drive in 2014 with the aforementioned Dave & Buster's closing their Venture Drive store earlier this year.  Other closures in the Gwinnett Place corridor include Borders Books & Music, Barnes & Noble, Toys R Us, Circuit City, hhgregg, Golfsmith, Babies R Us, among others.  At Gwinnett Place Mall itself, JCPenney, Belk and Sears have all closed leaving only Macy's (originally Rich's), MegaMart (in the former Macy's {originally Davison's}) and Beauty Master (in the former JCPenney) to anchor the mall.  

For those seeking to purchase electronics in Duluth, Best Buy and Micro Center remain open along Pleasant Hill Road.  

There does not appear to be a current sales listing for the Fry's property in Duluth but Colliers International’s Atlanta-based Southeast Retail Investment Sales Team is currently marketing Gwinnett Place Mall and its 39 acres for an undisclosed amount.  

Are you surprised to learn of Fry's closure in Duluth?  When was the last time you purchased something at Fry's?  What would you like to see open in place of Fry's and/or Gwinnett Place Mall?

Please share your thoughts below.  

23 comments:

Jodyml813 said...

Went to the Milton location today and it was a ghost town. Not a single router for sale? Lots of empty shelves and only two employees working in the entire showroom. I have always liked the store but what I saw was various general merchandise (DVD, As seen on TV merch, office supplies) and nothing but outdated components. I don't think I'll be back and will make the drive to MicroCenter.

Anonymous said...

This place had to have been a money laundering operation

Anonymous said...

Not quite a money laundering operation. More of a victim of 1 day free delivery from places like Amazon. Don't have to get in the car, drive, hope they have what I am looking for, pay and drive home. For most things I can wait 24 hours.

RichKnobSales said...

I got several parts there last summer when my desktop died. It was pretty well deserted, but they were very well stocked at the time.

Was always almost as fast to order online as to make the trek up there. Was fun to see the name on the Mall, though!

Anonymous said...

The Milton store has had very limited inventory since the summer. I asked a manager one time I went in what the deal was. The excuse was they were changing to an inventory model where they didnt pay for the inventory upfront with suppliers and paid when sold so it would take a few months for that switch. To me that’s a BS excuse and they are in the process of going under but trying to get more out of the inventory then a going out of business fire sale.

Microcenter is great and appears to be thriving. Would be nice for them to expand around Milton/Alpharetta area.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how someone JUMPED TO A CONCLUSION about a laundering operation... ALL the stores nationwide seem to have stopped adding inventory and are simply employing people to sell off everything while the property is still owned/leased/whatever they do. They are getting VERY sparse now. Fry's is a privately owned company, so they can keep quiet as long as they like. But the inventory is SO SPARSE, there's almost no reason to bother going to any of them any more.

Anonymous said...

When I first visited this store probably 10 years ago, I said there is no way a store this size is going to last...especially with the amount of staff they had on deck back then full of commission salespeople. Even though it just closed, it has been dead for some time.

Anonymous said...

Amazon is not the problem here.
If you don't have any new supplies, then it will be a matter of time.

Kind of like the rest of Gwinnett Place Mall, they did nothing but try to milk the last dollar out of the property without trying to save it.

This was management's decision to not try and save the store or any of the jobs. I feel sorry for the employees.

Anonymous said...

Amazon is not the problem here.
If you don't have any new supplies, then it will be a matter of time.

Kind of like the rest of Gwinnett Place Mall, they did nothing but try to milk the last dollar out of the property without trying to save it.

This was management's decision to not try and save the store or any of the jobs. I feel sorry for the employees.

Emma said...

I thought this was THE coolest place ever when I was in high school (so, when it first opened). I remember you could play lots of video games, they had so many different computer parts and wasn't there a cafe in the middle too? It definitely was enormous, but back then, I just saw that as being so full of possibilities!

Unknown said...

My computer just died and my first thought was Frys. What a coincidence that I Googled it only to find the Milton location. At least I now know not to bother with it. It is a real loss as we have no other local supplier of individual electronic parts. Originally we had Lafayette Electronics and Radio Shack. Now we just have the Internet. I'm afraid I don't consider that progress.

Unknown said...

Even here in California Fry's electronics is just a ghost town. I think it's BS that the company won't admit that they're going under. But that's what greed will do to you

David Stone said...

The Fry's Electronics here in Phoenix has been a deserted ghost town during the holidays, with shelves almost completely empty. I cannot understand why they keep the doors open. I agree with the feeling of some others who find the whole thing a bit shady.

Unknown said...

Here in Illinois, the Downer's Grove location was my hotspot with a decent drive from Chicago. Three TVs, two laptops, a whole bunch of sd cards and gadgets later, empty slots everywhere. This week, they couldn't even fill my order for two Xbox keypads, saying they only had one and it was an open box. Tick-tock

Anonymous said...

A store that size was never profitable. It was indeed a money laundering operation. Carlos Slim used to own CompUSA to launder american dollars to Mexico. There is something similar happening here.

Allan M said...

Earlier in 2019 on the YouTube channel Retail Archaeology, that guy did a video touring a few Fry's Electronics stores, showing how sparse in inventory their Phoenix area stores were starting to get. I agree, that I get a bad feeling all their stores will probably close at some future point.

Unknown said...

I used to work at Fry's electronics back in the late 90's till 2001 I remembered the line was long, busy was good, it always felt like a black Friday even during the weekday, back in 2015 / 16 they were still doing pretty good, but I noticed the 2-3 Fry's electronics that I shopped at had alot of empty packing space, shelves,I saw more employees, and hardly any customers, Fry's used to sell things you wouldn't think an electronic store would carry in store or online.

Gonzo said...

Fry's is moving allot of inventory and whatever moneys they have to their island resort in the Bahamas. They even have the island resort designated as a store number just like their brick and mortar stores. This designation allows to move stock and money easier without raising suspicion.

Anonymous said...

Fry's in Wilsonville, OR is a ghost town too. When I asked I was given the "changing inventory system" answer. It sounded like BS and I'm sure it will be closed soon. Shelves were bare, very few customers or staff.

Unknown said...

Same here in the Houston area. I asked one of the employees about it, blamed Amazon and didn’t give me any hope they were staying open much longer.

Zoren Manray said...

This is earrily similar to what's happening at one of the Fry's electronics locations here in Sacramento CA. Seems pretty clear they're silently downsizing then if that doesn't work out they'll just go out of business. It'll be a loss though as there are not really any other brick and mortar retailers selling electronic components in most metro areas.

Anonymous said...

I want to the Duluth store last spring and the place was empty and the shelves were almost empty. I found one of the 3 things I needed. Asked the cashier if they were going out of business. She asked why and I said the place is empty. She replied that it's empty because it's a weekday. I asked her if they put all the stock away on weekdays too. She threw the receipt at me and walked back to her desk in the center of the check out. Support your local Micro Center-they are the only ones in town now.

Antoine said...

Yeah. I was told the same thing on my last visit to the Duluth store. I noticed most of the shelves appeared empty and there were very few workers or customers. I asked what was up, and was given the story that they were changing their inventory model... Which I guess they did do... From an open store to a closed one.

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