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What happened to Fry’s Electronics

For about three decades, Fry’s Electronics was the go to computer store for enthusiasts, almost an Ikea of computer stores. It was a big box store, larger than Comp USA, selling not just software and pre-built computers and peripherals, but also parts, and even discrete components. So what happened to Fry’s Electronics?

The chain peaked at 34 stores in nine states. So that means a significant part of the population never got to set foot in one. But it took on mythic status thanks to computer magazines and the internet. Byte columnist Jerry Pournelle would write about computers he built cheaply from parts he bought at Fry’s at “prices so low, they might as well have been giving it to me.”

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What do Home Depot prices mean? How to decode them

Retailers can and do use prices to manipulate you. But rumors of hidden codes in prices also abound. Home Depot is no exception to that. So what do Home Depot prices mean? Here’s how to find the hidden meaning in prices so you know when you might have found a bargain, and how long that bargain might last.

There are rumors that you can tell how long an item will be on sale from the numbers in the price, but those numbers don’t match what I found at my local store. Still, there are tricks for finding closeouts and other sale items.

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Payless Cashways remembered

Payless Cashways was a regional hardware store, based out of Kansas City. Much like its cross-state neighbor, Central Hardware, it pioneered the big box home improvement store format, featuring a real lumberyard. It, too, was in a poor position to capitalize on the booming home improvement market. It went out of business September 10, 2001, after 71 years of existence.

Payless Cashways was born out of the Great Depression and grew as a result of the post-World War II boom in DIY home improvement. But the threat of takeover by a corporate raider in the 1980s ultimately proved its undoing.

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Can Gamestop survive?

Gamestop, the venerable video game retailer, announced in April 2020 it’s closing 300 stores. Rumors of Gamestop’s demise are rampant, and have been for a long time. Can Gamestop survive?

Changes in the way people buy video games has made life more challenging for Gamestop. I believe the company could survive, but it will have to change its business model and improve its customer service a lot in order to do it.

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Which post office is open on Sunday?

If you ask the US Postal Service, the post office is closed on Sundays. But that doesn’t mean you can’t mail a package on Sunday. There’s a loophole, and I’ve used it myself. A lot. This can be a useful life hack.

While the traditional post offices are not open on Sunday, many USPS retail stores are open for limited hours on Sundays. You can mail a package from one of those stores if it’s open, and it will get a Sunday postmark.

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The decline of toy stores

The retail market is certainly changing and there’s a lot of consolidation in the market. But some retail categories have pretty much dried up on a national level, like toy stores. It ought to be a safe market, because new kids are born every year to replace kids who become adults. What’s behind the decline of toy stores?

While there’s been a degree of mismanagement involved in the decline of the two most recent toy store chains to go belly-up, both Toys R Us and Kay-Bee Toys had something else in common, and it wasn’t Amazon. They didn’t need to survive for their owners to make money, and that’s why they ultimately didn’t.

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Can Best Buy survive?

Retail is taking a beating right now, thanks to online sales and an overall economy that’s just acting a bit weird. Best Buy had its struggles in the past, so that leads to a fair question. Can Best Buy survive?

I can see both sides of the argument.

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Velvet Freeze history

Old timers in St. Louis and Kansas City talk sometimes about Velvet Freeze, a St. Louis-based chain of ice cream stores. One Velvet Freeze ice cream store remains in the north St. Louis suburb of Jennings, and a few other reminders of the chain remain around St. Louis and Kansas City, but it’s mostly a memory now. Here’s a look back at Velvet Freeze history.

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