Circuit City plans to put down Firedog
Circuit City’s tough times are an opportunity for tech-support firms in the Tri-Counties.
The computer and consumer electronics retailer on Nov. 3 said it will close three stores in the Tri-Counties as part of a shuttering of 155 locations, or about 20 percent of its U.S. stores. Locations in Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria are slated to be closed and liquidated by the end of the year, the company said. The company also is suspending new store openings.
Although Circuit City has yet to confirm it, anonymous employees are telling news organizations that Firedog, the customer service arm of Circuit City, will cease to do business along with the stores.
That leaves an opening for residential and small-business tech support firms in the region.
Make It Work, which makes tech-support house calls across Southern California in a fleet of red Mini Coopers, maintains its headquarters next the Circuit City store in Santa Barbara. Eric David Greenspan, Make It Work’s chief executive, already has put out an offer to provide a discount to former Firedog customers.
“Firedog didn’t get very busy, it didn’t seem,” Greenspan said. “It didn’t really hurt us. It did give us some walk-in business.”
Greenspan is used to butting heads with Firedog and Geek Squad, the service arm of retailer Best Buy, which recently announced it will open a Goleta store. Greenspan thrives on rivalry and, strange though it may seem, sounds almost sad to see one competitor leave and happy to see another arrive.
“If I were Nordstrom, I’d be happy that Macy’s is across the mall,” Greenspan said. “Or if I’m a McDonald’s, I’m happy there’s an In-N-Out Burger across the street, because this is now the hamburger corner. I’d rather Geek Squad be right next to us.”