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Circuit City, 10136 Two Notch Road & 238 Harbison Boulevard: 8 March 2009   31 comments

Posted at 12:00 am in stores

I have written about Circuit City before. In particular, I considered the first and second locations of the Two Notch store here, and the second location of the Harbison store here.

I think the upshot of my thoughts on the chain was that I did not like their first incarnation, which had predatory salesmen (on commission, I assume) and a nosy checkout process (almost as bad as Radio Shack's old checkout process). I liked the business model they adopted with the moves to Harbison and the final Two Notch location a lot better. It was now a "regular" store, and you could get help, but the sales staff would mostly leave you alone until you asked for it.

For some reason, it wasn't enough. I don't understand why the consumer electronics market doesn't have room for a #2 store as well as #1 Best Buy (or number whatever Tweeter) but apparently it doesn't. On the other hand, I don't feel a real loss with Circuit City's demise the way I did with CompUSA's. When Best Buy drove CompUSA under, it was not an adequate replacement. Best Buy simply did not stock the depth of computer parts that CompUSA did. I recall several times needing a part in Columbia, and having either to drive to CompUSA in Augusta or mail order it because no store in Columbia had one. I don't see that as the case with Circuit City as Best Buy pretty well covers their entire stock.

Still it's sad to see anything go under. I'm going to put a break before the bulk of the pictures so the page won't take forever to load if you're not interested, but there are, I think, five different sets there. First is the Harbison store at night just after the closing was announced. (The discounts weren't particularly good that night, though the store was very busy. I heard one employee say to another: We had lots better discounts during the holidays -- where were all these people when it could have helped us?). The second set is daytime shots of the Harbison store on Saturday 7 March 2009 -- the penultimate day of operation. (I went inside and found most items gone, except for racks and racks of USB cables for some reason..). The third set is night shots of the Two Notch store just after bankruptcy was announced. The fourth set is night shots of Two Notch taken, I believe, on 1 March, a week before closing, and the fifth set is exterior and interior shots of the Two Notch store taken today, 8 March 2009 -- the final day of operation.

Actually "operation" is stretching it -- all merchandise was gone, and they were selling off the store fixtures only by that point. I wouldn't have minded having a "media cabinet", but I have no place for it, and it was till a bit pricey for my liking.

Oh well, hopefully H. H. Gregg and Wal Mart will continue to keep Best Buy on its toes because as of today, Circuit City is unplugged.

UPDATE 21 May 2010 -- The Harbison location is going to be a baby gear store called buybuy Baby. From the web site, it appears to be related to Bed Bath & Beyond somehow:

UPDATE 23 Dec 2010 -- Well, this is old news by now, but the Two Notch location is going to become another Best Buy:

UPDATE 23 May 2011 -- The Best Buy in the Two Notch Road Circuit City building is now open:

Written by ted on March 9th, 2009

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31 Responses to 'Circuit City, 10136 Two Notch Road & 238 Harbison Boulevard: 8 March 2009'

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  1. I think the biggest problem with the consumer electronics market is that consumer electronics are now sold at every single big box store these days, and they've pretty much become disposable items. Wal-Mart, Target, and K-Mart sell music and movies, TVs, computers, appliances, etc. So the reason there isn't room for two exclusive consumer electronics stores is because there are already about 5 or 6 other stores that incorporate those products in their stock. Add to that the fact Best Buy acts more like a big box store with "lower prices" and wage slave employees, and Circuit City liked to imagine themselves as higher end, with higher prices and snobby employees. Information is too easily accessible these days for people to need boutique shopping for electronics. Circuit City should've reinvented themselves about 10 years ago, not 3 or 4 years ago.

    Matthew

    9 Mar 09 at 8:46 am

  2. All true -- but there are still enough old-fashioned audiophles to keep Upstairs Audio and Frawley's in business after all these years.

    Dennis

    9 Mar 09 at 11:05 am

  3. I know its bad but I am glad CC is gone. Anytime I went I always had to find someone to help me, I never had anyone come up to me and ask if I needed any help like they do at BestBuy.
    I just wonder do people actually think they got a good deal during their closing? Do they realize that for example and $800 tv got its list price changed to $1100 and then they sold it at a percentage of the higher price. And there is even a chance that they sold refurbished items also. Screw CC.

    Michael

    9 Mar 09 at 11:29 pm

  4. Anytime I went I always had to find someone to help me, I never had anyone come up to me and ask if I needed any help like they do at BestBuy.

    Well, as we say in the software biz, you're describing a feature, not a bug!

    ted

    10 Mar 09 at 12:44 pm

  5. I liked not being bothered by employees the way best buy does. Sad to see them go. I've gotten too many crappy products at best buy. It was nice to have an alternative.

    Mr. Bill

    10 Mar 09 at 2:49 pm

  6. My main reason to NOT go to CC was always the fact that they had commissioned salespeople who would jump all over you as soon as you walked in the door. When Best Buy first opened that was something they bragged about (i.e. you'll not get pestered by the employees).

    It seems like Best Buy has tempered that "don't bother people if they're just looking" policy since the employees do seem much more aggressive than the early days. I guess that's what we get from less competition. :(

    E.J.

    10 Mar 09 at 5:47 pm

  7. Circuit City closed for a number of reasons. The main one was that they could not get additional loans to keep the operation afloat. It was a highly leveraged company and needed other people's cash to keep going. The other reasons included letting the commissioned staff go and then letting their higher paid sales staff go after that. That set a bad example and soured the company's relationship with its customer base. Then they stopped selling appliances, a boneheaded decision that cut deeply into their bottom line.

    I've spent a shocking amount of money at CC over the years. For some reason, I liked the store's layout better than the chaotic layout of Best Buy. I won't browse at Gregg since the sales staff is commissioned and will not leave me alone.

    joec

    9 Apr 09 at 6:01 pm

  8. I have heard the staff @ Gregg would bother you, but I had the opposite experience. I was actually standing in front of the TVs looking for some information for about 10 minutes (twice) and nobody even approached me and I left. I doubt I'll go back, unless it's the last resort. I like for someone to ask if I need assistance and then leave me alone.

    Jonathan

    10 Apr 09 at 8:10 am

  9. Perhaps I exaggerated a bit about Greggs, but I don't feel comfortable shopping there. I can go into BB once a week and not be noticed or remembered by the staff. I'd be considered a demon customer at Greggs.

    joec

    10 Apr 09 at 11:46 am

  10. Circuit City was already doomed before they laid off the higher paid staff. As an associate working in the stores during that time, I can say that the store I was in wasn't much affected by the layoffs. Circuit City's main problem was unqualified careless corporate Upper Management that trickled all the way down to careless store management. Two of the main things that killed CC in the end was excessively high shrink at every store (from internal and external causes) and the fact that they were opening new stores at an alarming rate that just couldn't compete.

    Elad

    7 Oct 09 at 8:54 pm

  11. I began boycotting CC about 10 years ago due to a lack of customer service. I was looking at a couple of monitors and would have purchased one if only a sales rep had answered a couple of questions. 3 floor guys were standing at the end of the aisle talking about their evening plans and never glanced my way. As I was leaving the store I stopped by the customer service counter and asked the girl if those 3 guys I pointed to worked here? She nodded yes and I suggested someone should go and remind them of that.
    I never went back and haven't missed them to this day.

    Terry

    8 Oct 09 at 6:02 am

  12. Terry that just made me think of something. I've worked at Lowe's and Circuit City and even though alot of the times the associates in Lowe's never do it, the management always preaches Customer Service. At Circuit City customer service was never stressed. It was always about selling what you could when you could to keep the managers off your back so they could make their bonus. If you were a customer looking to buy and it was a product that the associate couldn't make big sales numbers for bragging rights off of you were pretty much ignored. I guess that could be another huge factor that made Circuit City's demise inevitable.

    Elad

    13 Oct 09 at 8:16 am

  13. Looks like the vacant Haribson Store is finally getting a new tenant. There is a sign on the building about a new baby store opening soon.

    Thomas

    6 May 10 at 7:35 pm

  14. Yup...it's called buy buy Baby (don't know anything else about it though)

    Andrew

    6 May 10 at 10:38 pm

  15. there was a car lube place across the street from the 238 Harbison Blvd. location that I noticed this afternoon had closed

    Andrew

    25 May 10 at 3:39 pm

  16. buy buy Baby is under the same corporate umbrella as Bed, Bath & Beyond (not 100% sure of the way it's arranged) but somehow they're under the same corporate umbrella...the Circuit City Brand remains alive under the corporate umbrella of a company called the Systemax group at CircuitCity.com

    Andrew

    1 Jul 10 at 10:32 pm

  17. ok the Buy Buy Baby at the former Circuit City Columbiana Station location should be online soon if not already the case...

    It has just come to my attention that the former Circuit City at Sparkelberry Square (10136 Two Notch Road) is going to be a Best Buy (according to Equity One's <a href="http://www.equityone.net/site_map.aspx?T=9%2f7%2f2010+9%3a01%3a11+PM&ID=8614&quot; Sparkelberry Square lease page)

    Andrew

    7 Sep 10 at 8:15 pm

  18. This is a fixed link

    Andrew

    7 Sep 10 at 8:15 pm

  19. Interesting! I hope that doesn't mean the end of the one across from Columbia Mall.

    ted

    7 Sep 10 at 9:50 pm

  20. I got in touch with Best Buy Corporate and asked what the plan is and it turns out that this new Best Buy will take a while to get built but the current Columbia Mall location won't be going anywhere....

    Andrew

    10 Sep 10 at 3:40 pm

  21. they had low sales

    Javier

    13 Sep 10 at 8:29 pm

  22. yes a new electronic store we really need one in sanhills area

    Javier

    17 Oct 10 at 12:53 pm

  23. some people r working inside the new best buy on 2 notch rd so i guess the store will open in early march but maybe.

    Javier

    26 Jan 11 at 10:18 pm

  24. nope i was wrong best buy will open march 26, 2011 heres a link: http://stores.bestbuy.com/1515/

    Javier

    5 Feb 11 at 9:54 pm

  25. @Javier: thanks for the heads up!!

    Andrew

    6 Feb 11 at 12:01 am

  26. your welcome andrew

    Javier

    6 Feb 11 at 8:39 am

  27. the best buy logo is up now

    Javier

    14 Feb 11 at 9:41 pm

  28. NICE!!! I look forward to seeing it with my own eyes next time I'm out that way...

    Andrew

    14 Feb 11 at 11:48 pm

  29. Just a bit of trivia, back in the 1970's, before we knew it as CC, they were called "Dixie Hi-Fi". One of their stores was located in a strip mall here in Columbia near the corner of Bush and Broad River Roads. I know someone who had worked at DHF, and he left just before the name change. I remember buying a cassette player from DHF. The name change took place somewhere around 1980 if I remember correctly.

    Rick

    18 Jul 11 at 9:12 pm

  30. My guess is that would be this store

    ted

    18 Jul 11 at 9:37 pm

  31. Actually it was at what Google maps identifies as 1303 Broad River Road currently "Treasures at Broad River". The Dixie Hi-Fi was in the storefront on the right.

    Mike

    19 Jul 11 at 6:28 am

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