14 retro electronics stores that no longer exist

New York Daily News Archive / Contributor / Getty ImagesThese businesses all short-circuited.
  • It’s tricky to run a chain of electronics stores.
  • The number of defunct electronics retailers is a testament to that.
  • From wild, rambling Crazy Eddie to the farm-themed Gateway Country, here are a few electronics stores that went out of business.

Selling electronics is a tough business.

Not only do you have to face the challenges that come with running any kind of retail operation, but you also must contend with the rapid development of technology and ever-changing consumer preferences when it comes to using said technology.

Read more: Inside the luxurious department store founded by one of the most important figures in Mormon history

So it’s no surprise that plenty of once-prominent electronics retailers have gone on the fritz and disappeared altogether.

Here’s a look at a few electronics stores that aren’t around anymore:

Incredible Universe was an electronics big-box chain founded by the Tandy Corporation, a leather goods company. It was founded in 1992 and went bankrupt in just five years.

ArtistCornerLive/YoutubeA still from a TV spot for Incredible Universe.

Source: Deseret News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal

Launched in 1973 in San Francisco, Good Guys opened up stores across the West Coast and in Nevada. CompUSA acquired the company in 2003. All remaining Good Guys stores closed in 2006. Good Guys is perhaps best known today for being the site of a 1991 hostage situation in Sacramento.

JPMcFly1985_#Bernie2020/YoutubeA still from a Good Guys commercial.

Source: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times

The defunct electronics retailer Fretter has roots going back to the 1950s, but it collapsed in the face of heated competition and went out of business in 1996.

robatsea2009/YoutubeA still from a 1979 Fretter commercial.

Source: Crain’s

At its peak, Highland Superstores operated electronics stores in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. The chain operated for exactly 60 years before closing in 1993.

RetroWinnipeg/YoutubeA still from a TV spot for Highland.

Source: UPI

Founded in 1972 in Boston, Tweeter became a major force of the world of electronics retailers. After spreading across the country, the retailer went out of business in 2008.

Source: PCWorld

Crazy Eddie took the tri-state area around New York City by storm in the 1970s, largely thanks to the electronic chain’s memorable commercials. These TV spots starred DJ Jerry Carroll, who enticed customers by pretending to be “crazy.” Crazy Eddie collapsed in 1989 thanks to accusations of fraudulent behaviour on the part of its founders.

New York Daily News Archive / Contributor / Getty ImagesA Crazy Eddie commercial.

Source: Crain’s, Mental Floss, CNN

The electronics chain Soft Warehouse opened in Addison, Texas, in 1984. In 1991, the company changed its named to CompUSA. CompUSA opted to liquidate in 2007, and Systemax Inc. purchased its brand. Systemax ended the brand name in 2012.

FIshstick/Wikimedia CommonsInside an old CompUSA store.

Source: The Street, CBS

Gateway Country was a computer store chain with a pastoral aesthetic inspired by its roots in Iowa. The Taiwanese corporation Acer bought up Gateway in 2007.

PastMeetsPresent/YoutubeA still from a Gateway Country commercial.

Source: CBS

The Wiz, known for its popular slogan “Nobody beats the Wiz,” was founded by the four Jemal brothers in 1977. P. C. Richard & Son bought the Wiz brand in 2003.

Underground Raw/YoutubeA commercial for the Wiz.

Source: The New York Times

Founded in 1968, Ultimate Electronics operated in 20 states at the height of its powers. The chain filed for bankruptcy in 2006 and later liquidated in 2011.

Brad Pearse/YoutubeA still from an Ultimate Electronics commercial.

Source: Phoenix Business Journal

Based out of Syosset, New York, Lafayette Radio Electronics dates back to the 1920s. The business started out as a mail-order delivery operation and later began opening brick-and-mortar stores across the US. Lafayette shuttered in 1981.

Joe Haupt/Wikimedia CommonsA product from Lafayette.

Source: The New York Times, Radio Museum

Sun Television and Appliances imploded after competitor H.H. Gregg Appliances and Electronics backed out of a deal to buy the electronics chain in 1996. The stores lasted two more years before the company filed for bankruptcy.

Old Skool Television/YoutubeA still from a 1994 Sun Television And Appliances commercial.

Source: The Lancaster Eagle Gazette

Steinberg’s was a family business that sold appliances and electronics starting in 1921. After decades in business, Steinberg’s shut down and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1997.

louie bababooey/YoutubeA still from an old Steinberg’s commercial.

Source: Bankrupt.com, Cincinnati Business Journal

Silo was launched in 1946 and began expanding considerably in the 1970s. Fretter bought up Silo in 1993, and the company’s remaining stores were gone by May 1996.

Betamax King/YoutubeA still from a 1987 Silo TV spot.

Source: The Chicago Tribune, Technologizer

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