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December 30, 2006


I was driving through Atlanta when the Garmin GPS suction-cupped to the windshield of the rented Chevy began to glow.  My stomach was doing flip flops as I realized that I was closing in on a Frys.  Many years ago I discovered by accident the wild west of the Palo Alto Frys and since then I've been drawn to Frys like I'm drawn to, well, fries.


The Atlanta Frys seems to be bigger than most Wal-Marts.  I knew I was home when a guy walked up to his car, hit the remote and a second after hearing the beep of his car alarm, the engine started.  The guy just grinned.  You need remote starting in Atlanta to warm it up on those cool winter nights.


I was tempted to stop at the cafeteria, for a Jolt and a Moon Pie, but I had promised I wouldn't be gone long. I decided to walk every isle to see what was new.

Motherboards Frys has something for every geek.  Building a computer?  Check out the Wall of Motherboards. Network

Building a network?  That's 64 feet of gear stacked five shelves high.


Need an Oscilloscope?  There must be $100,000 of inventory in this store alone. 

Resistors How about an isle of nothing but resistors and capacitors? Probably more parts than all the Radio Shacks in Georgia carry. Refrigerators

Frys isn't just about electronics though. The have more refrigerators than the average Best Buy.

They have 24 feet of shelves full of TV wall mounts.  Not TVs, just wall mounts.  Who knows how many actual TVs they have in stock.

They have 88 feet of phones, but that isn't counting cell phones or the 14 feet of VoIP, video and conference phones. I particularly liked the looks of the Ojo Phone by Motorola.


Speaking of appliances, they of course had a vacuum cleaner section and a large display of Rumba robotic vacuum cleaners.  But who else stocks the TracVac, a robotic, remote controlled NASCAR vac that is ". . .so fun. you'll find yourself throwing stuff on the floor to use it!"  You can get the Lowes number 48 vac, or Jeff Gordon's number 24.


Throughout the store there were special displays of random things.  Like the display of 10 outlet power strips.  Each display (there were at least two) were 4 feet by 4 feet by 5 feet high.  I wonder if the TSA would have let me carry one on the plane?


The best part of Frys is the checkout lanes.  In my picture you can see 34 cashier stations.  To get to one of the stations you walk through a maze of junk food, gadgets, batteries and gag gifts.  What you can't see in the photo are the 36 cashier stations on the other side.  That's right - at full capacity they can check out 70 people at one time.

The most amazing thing?  I didn't buy anything!

December 30, 2006 in Web/Tech | Permalink


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Aaaah, I wax nostalgic. There is nothing like the Fry's experience. I was a veteran of the original Fry's in Sunnyvale, CA in the early 80's which was literally a supermarket. Then they built the Egyptian Tomb Fry's in Campbell, CA. The Wild West theme in Palo Alto, etc etc.

When I moved to Dallas in the 90's, eventually they showed up in the mid-cities then one near me in Garland which was themed as... cows I guess. And steers. A lot of bull (but the good kind.)

No question, the lack of Fry's is one of the great barriers between Denver/Boulder becoming the Silicon Valley.


Posted by: Jim Pollock | Dec 30, 2006 7:01:26 AM

I would not have moved from Silicon Valley to Seattle if there had not been a Fry's here. My wife makes fun of me because I usually read the Fry's ad in the newspaper each morning before I read anything else.

Posted by: Richard Sprague | Jan 1, 2007 8:36:03 PM

Wow, Terry! I'm impressed. You didn't buy anything?! That's hard to do when visiting a Fry's, even for me. If I manage to get through the store without picking anything up, they always get me as I'm walking up the aisles (with a friend who has a cartfull of stuff) to the register.

Posted by: Lisa Wilder | Jan 7, 2007 10:18:10 AM

Here in Atlanta there are now two locations, Duluth and Alpharetta.

These shores resemble Wal-Mart in more ways than just square footage. Their mistrust of shoppers, shown by hand inspecting all purchases as you exit the store and showing ID at checkout, puts me off. Their staff is "Wal-Mart" grade ... and they don't take American Express.

Their website and store prices don't match which I found out once the hard way.

It's a fun place to browse, but save yourself a pile of cash, and aggravation, and order what you need online from places like NewEgg.

Posted by: Bill Franks | Apr 2, 2008 6:14:59 PM