1997: Circuit City plugs into Indianapolis

Posted at 5:30 AM, Nov 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-10 05:30:09-05

INDIANAPOLIS — For years, electronics and appliance retailer H.H. Gregg was the place to shop in central Indiana.

While competitors like Fretter, Highland Superstores and Incredible Universe tried to make inroads, each ultimately failed to outcompete Indiana’s beloved box store.

But those failures didn’t deter the nation’s largest electronics chain from giving Indiana a go 25 years ago this month.

In 1997, Circuit City planned to open three stores in the Hoosier state and hire 325 employees.

Circuit City’s business model focused heavily on customer service.

“The key is that the customer doesn’t have to pay more for it,” Brian Greene, a Circuit City employee, told WRTV’s Gerry Dick. “We’ll give them the same price they can get anywhere else, but we’ll just give them a higher level of service.”

And customers searching for portable CD players, clock radios, and even the coveted Compaq Presario personal computer seemed to agree.

“I’m looking at comparable things that I bought up the road and the pricing seems to be just a little bit better, Terry Long said. “I don’t know if that’s because it’s just opening or whether it’s something that’s consistent.”

Another shopper approached Circuit City’s entry into the market with a little more skepticism.

“A lot of stores have come and gone, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see,” Bill Reeser said.

Reeser’s assessment would eventually prove true. Circuit City closed all of its stores and went out of business in March 2009.