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What happened to America's electronics stores?


Justin
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SO sad.  I remember when Radio Shack had a large catalog that was the electronic version of the Sears' Wish Book.  Every component you could think of and never knew existed was in that catalog.  I used it often when I lived with/took care of my grandmother.  I had a small workshop I fixed electronics in and that book was my go-to book to find parts I would not have found otherwise.  I wish they were still around.  

It is also sad how times have changed.  Tinkering with electronics was once a hobby and some great inventions came from those hobbies.  Now if someone does that it's hard not to worry if they are planning an attack somewhere.

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I've been seeing more and more about this recently, but it's been going on for a while.  I remember getting just about everything for my first home built computer there around the year 2000.  But I also remember seeing a video where a guy was going to see if he could buy everything he needed to build a computer there recently and he couldn't.  It's like he had a choice of cases, but none of the motherboards they had in stock would fit or he could find a few pieces that would go together, but then couldn't find the right power supply.  Pretty sad.  There's one not too far from me, but I haven't been in over a decade probably.

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I do find this really sad. I have relatives in Houston and so Fry's was always a required day trip for us when we visited. Now with them gone, that means I only have MicroCenter left and the nearest one of those is just over 4 hours away! So I'm forced to continue to use my local electronics hobby store (Though they are a bit high priced on their stuff), or order online as needed from Digi, Mouser, Allied etc.

 

See what I'm up to over at the Ivory Tower Collections: http://www.youtube.com/ivorytowercollections

 

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I was pretty sad when Fry's shuttered up. We didn't have Fry's or even MicroCenters here in my state. We only had the Radio Shacks and maybe a few EBs. There was a Babbage's at the local mall when I was kid, but it was replaced with a chain known as Software Etc. in the early 90s which eventually closed that mall space and reopened it a few spaces down in the mall. They are now a Gamestop.

We did have Circuit City and I actually was pretty fond of them at the time. Most of my Dreamcast collection and earlier DVD releases came from their stores. My first large flat panel TV I purchased from Circuit City so yeah...that was another one that was sad to see gone.

Having said that, I'm still luck in that I do still have a local hobby radio/electronics mom and pop store that is decently sized here in my hometown. They also have an Ebay store they sell stuff through but I do wonder how much longer they will be around as they seem to replace less and less of their stock each time I go in to get stuff.

 

See what I'm up to over at the Ivory Tower Collections: http://www.youtube.com/ivorytowercollections

 

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The video is well done (as usual by The Eight Bit Guy).  He points out those days are likely gone forever.  It's sad, but true. 

Here in Portland, the Fry's was way far away.  A good hour down the freeway from most places in the city.  Frankly, I'm surprised they lasted as long as they did.  In visiting some of the themed stores in California, it always felt like our Oregon store was kind of lame.  Still, I did shop there for parts many times back in the early 2000's. 

 

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Here in my state was lucky to have many Fry's Electronics,  couple of Microcenters, Circuit City, and many Radio Shacks.   

Frys was my favorite to just go and browse around, try out many of there demo areas, and loved the themes even as corny as they were. Lots of cables for every connector that you can need.

Microcenters were great as I felt the employees were quite knowledgeable. Stores were smaller than Frys but quite fond of them. 

I only experienced Circuit City towards there end.  Found it funny when I bought a $50 portable Sony CD Walkman and they were pushing a $75 2 year warranty.   No thanks.   Will buy another if it breaks.

Radio shack had some nice educational items for kids back in the day.  My favorite were there electronic kits to build circuits. 

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