While some businesses have shifted to survive and in some cases thrive during the novel coronavirus pandemic, others have folded and will be missed.
From yarn to toy and massive super stores, a number of retail shops have closed during the last year.
Here are five.
Spanning 185,000 square feet, Fry’s Electronics in Fishers has been called heaven for consumer electronics by customers who remember the store in its heyday. The west coast superstore with its long aisles, frequent sales and large circulars was a favorite go-to store for tech junkies to find popular items and obscure parts. Fry’s burst into the local scene in 2005, opening on Kincaid Drive near I-69 and 96th Street, becoming a favorite for techies.
More: Fry’s Electronics goes out of business, closes Fishers location amid coronavirus pandemic
The Fishers location had once been a car dealership and an Incredible Universe electronics store. But in late February, the California-based company closed the Fishers store and roughly 30 other locations after 36 years in business.
Fry’s attributed the decision to changes in the retail industry and the novel coronavirus pandemic. Some customers said on social media that the closure was not unexpected. They described visiting Fry’s in recent months and finding empty shelves and fewer items for sale.
Fry’s carried computer equipment, movies, compact discs, DVDs, sound systems, audiovisual equipment, cell phones and appliances.
At the end of February, dozens of Family Video stores in Indiana closed their doors for good, bringing to end the company’s run as the last surviving video rental chain. The Chicago-based Family Video had outlasted rivals Blockbuster, Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video. Throughout its run, Family Video offerings included Beta, VHS, Blue Ray and DVD rentals.
As the retail environment became more challenging and video streaming services grew in popularity, the chain expanded its offerings to include CBD products in addition to candy, novelty toys and ice cream.
More: Family Video survived longer than most of its peers. Here’s what’s next.
At its peak, Family Video operated 800 stores across Indiana. At the end of its run, the chain has eight stores in Indianapolis, five more in surrounding communities and 81 total across the state.
The closure impacted more than 250 stores. The company’s CEO blamed the decision on the novel coronavirus pandemic, saying “the impact of COVID-19, not only in foot traffic but also in the lack of movie releases, pushed us to the end of an era.”
Mass Ave Toys
In June 2020, Natalie Canull announced that she and her husband, Doug, were retiring from the toy businesses and closing their beloved store Mass Ave Toys at 1057 E. 54th St in Broad Ripple. “We’re retiring with 40 years (and some change) in the toy industry under our belts … ,” wrote Canull, who previously owned the toy shop Kits and Kaboodles, in a Facebook.com post.”It was time to sit on the floor and play with her grandkids.”
She didn’t say what spurred the retirement announcement.
Mass Ave Toys — named after its original location at 409 Massachusetts Ave — had opened in 2006 and remained in business for 14 years. It specialized in upscale toys to compete against big-box chains. On social media, loyal customers describe the shop as magical and a go-to shop for toys and gifts as they posted photos of babies hugging stuffed animals, birthday parties and their favorite toy purchases from the shop.
Costumes by Margie
If you were ever in need of a costume for Halloween, a high school musical, a Christmas pageant or a bunny suit for Easter, you’ve likely visited Costumes by Margie on North Illinois Street. The full-fledged, year-round costume shop opened in 1970 and found a niche in the community that would last about 50 years, selling theatrical makeup and wigs, quality rentals and some packaged costumes of superheroes.
“Anything somebody was coming for,” owner Cheryl Harmon said in a telephone interview, “it was a happy occasion or to celebrate something or a party or a fundraiser.”
Last June, Harmon, the shop’s fourth owner, announced on Facebook, that Costumes by Margie was permanently closing.
In the interview, Harmon said the costume shop had been struggling for at least six years, mostly due to increased competition from the internet and wholesalers directly selling to the customers.
Halloween, once a strong sales season that netted nearly $60,000, brought in about $20,000 in the shop’s latter years. The novel coronavirus pandemic accelerated the costume shop’s demise. Harmon explained that she had intended to sell the shop, had lined up a buyer and finalized the deal. Uncertainty from the pandemic, however, caused that buyer to back out, leading Harmon to close the shop instead.
Costumes by Margie was the last of its kind in Indianapolis. Harmon purchased the shop in 2000.
Broad Ripple Knits
If knitters, crocheters and weavers were ever in need of yarn, new needles or patterns, one of the places they could turn to was Broad Ripples Knits. Located at Cornell Avenue, the textile shop offered supplies and classes for every skill level. The shop opened in 2010 and remained in business for roughly 11 years before it closed last year
Social media posts announcing the closure of Broad Ripple Knits did not say why the store went out of business. Owner Karin Schmitt could not be reached for comment.
The shop was one of the several textile stores in Indianapolis that catered to knitters, crocheters and weavers in Central Indiana and beyond. Customers on social media, in eulogy messages, remembered Broad Ripple Knits as a store that inspired enthusiasm in hobbyists.
Contact IndyStar reporter Alexandria Burris at [email protected] or call 317-617-2690. Follow her on Twitter: @allyburris.