Ultimate Electronics: Maple Grove, MN

August 3, 2012

You don’t need to be an economist to know that Ultimate Electronics wasn’t going to make it through the recession.

Did you know that Ultimate Electronics went out of business? Probably not. And if you did, you probably didn’t care.

I only cared (and I’m using that term loosely here) because A.) I run a blog about about dead retail stores and B.) I live in the area. It’s kind of hard to ignore the giant, empty big box shell staring at you from the busy intersection of Hemlock Lane and Elm Creek Boulevard.

Ultimate Electronics was a chain of electronics store (they sold electronics? You don’t say!) in select states. Minnesota was graced with six locations: Woodbury, Roseville, Burnsville, Edina and of course, Maple Grove.

The entire chain closed up shop in 2011 because when they filed bankruptcy, they couldn’t afford to keep buying new inventory. They had planned to keep some stores open after filing, but instead, shut down the entire operation. In its wake, it left The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes (the “e” makes it klassy, you see) with yet another abandoned storefront.

Hold up.

ANOTHER abandoned storefront in Arbor Lakes? As in, more-than-one? Yep. In case you haven’t been paying attention (or don’t live in the area), The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes have quite a nice assortment of empty stores, including three huge “anchor” spots. As of now, these spots are empty: Ultimate Electronics, Borders, Cost Plus World Market, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor and Aldo (There might be more though).

Oh, and across the street, that Boston restaurant closed too, but it won’t be empty for long. Maple Grove is getting a Redstone. Cougars, come out out to prowl!

As for Ultimate Electronics, well, if you read this blog regularly, you’ll know I’m not a fan of electronics stores! And Ultimate Electronics is no different.

The staff here worked on commission. They’d try to hard sell you a 20oz bottle of Sprite, if given the chance.

I think I went here once? It was back in 2007 and we were in the market for a new TV. I went in there by myself to do some price comparing, even though we pretty much already made up our minds that we would buy it from Costco.

So I walked in there and I swear, it was like throwing myself to a pack of circling vultures. See, their salesguys (and yes, GUYS because I did not see one female salesperson) work on commission and if they want a paycheck, they need to move those TVs.

The store maybe had 5 other customers in there? It was really slow, so as I wandered around the TVs, I had a half dozen salesguys tailing me. One asked me if I needed help, so I obliged and told him what we were looking for and what price range we were looking to spend.

Because he’s hell-bent on getting a good commission, he whisks me over to the most expensive TV they had, which was clearly more than what I was willing to spend. He shot down all the makes/models I was interested in “Those are crap!!” And before I even try to interject, he’s telling me about the warranty plan and all the goddamn accessories I need. Wall mount! HDMI cables! Power strips! Receiver! Speakers!

I don’t even want the damn TV!

When I had the chance to get a word in, I told him I wasn’t interested in spending that much and could he show me ones in my price range. But he couldn’t let this go. Oh no! Again, he told me how all the TVs on my list were “a piece of crap” and “won’t last you 6 months” and that I should go with this particular one — I’d be a fool not to. Because of COURSE he was thinking, “Dumb girl don’t know jack about TVs.” Push, push push!

My 2009 picture of Ultimate Electronics, when it was in business. (Hey Cost Plus World Market is still there too). Arbor Lakes was probably 100% leased (or close to it). Now these two buildings are empty shells.

Dude, I don’t care if you roll on the floor, scream, cry and wet yourself, I’m not buying this goddamn TV!

“Nobody beats our prices!” …yeah, good luck getting them to make good on THAT claim…

I wanted to tell him something like that but I didn’t. I told him that I just wanted to look and wasn’t planning on buying anything today. Once I made that clear, he didn’t want anything to do with me. He must’ve told his colleagues too because I had the entire TV area all to myself. Which was great, but I did end up having a few questions. No worries though. In today’s world, I would’ve been looking up information right in the store on my smartphone. But it was 2007 and I had a cheap Sprint flip phone. It was pink.

We ended up buying the TV from Costco. Great decision! Haggle-free, great price and yes, the TV still works great today.

So, as you can tell, I’m not mourning the loss of Ultimate Electronics. My memories associated with that store involve sleazy salesmen. I doubt you’re going to suffer a mental breakdown at any given time when thinking about this store, and then end up crying at work, sitting on the toilet. Not going to happen with this place.

Costco? Yeah, I’ll chain myself to a parking lot lightpost for that chain.
Ultimate Electronics? Die in a fire. …A fire fueled with flat screen TVs and goddamn HDMI cables, of course ;)

Memories of Ultimate Electronics? Post in the comments!

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6 Responses to Ultimate Electronics: Maple Grove, MN

  1. TheOldScowl on August 3, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    There was the Ultimate Electronics store in Brooklyn Center as well on John Martin Drive and right by the closed Brooklyn Center Best Buy. Please don’t forget your old stomping grounds Dumpy, even if it was likely the smallest store and could be overlooked. They are rich in dumpiness and economic hopelessness.
    A friend of mine worked at that site. He has a few amusing stories of his job as a salesman there. I hope that he didn’t push the HDMI cables too hard on customers.

    • Ralph on August 4, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      Yup. The Ultimate Electronics in Brooklyn Center was in the old ShowBiz Pizza/Ethan Allen/Audio King building. Now if you want to buy HDMI cables from that building, you’ll have to brush up on your Asian dialects because it’s become an Asian market. Even if you ask for HDMI cables in their native tongue, they’ll probably still be pretty confused.

      • TheOldScowl on August 6, 2012 at 8:27 PM

        I think that the market has been closed for some time. If you do try to go looking there for the fabled HDMI cables, BC’s finest might tell you to move along or be charged for trespassing. Might have some luck at the Big Lots or Target (I hope the they last after Walley World opens).

  2. Jake on August 3, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    U.E. was lead by Mark Wattles, who also had a hand in Hollywood Video and was major shareholder in Circuit City.

  3. Jill on August 12, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    I loved Ultimate Electronics. We had a guy that we bought a lot of stuff from, so he always gave us deals. Those guys worked on commission, but what people didn’t always know what that the sales guys could set their own prices. We never paid the posted price for anything there. This loss is still being mourned.

    Le sigh.

    Anyway, Redstone? Yum! Time to get some new eats up in this place.

    I remember the first time I went to Boston’s. There was a 7.5 hour wait at GC, or something ridiculous like that. Since we ended up getting a prime parking spot (at Boston’s) we walked in there and asked how long the wait was. The hostess smile and said, “We have immediate seating.” Yeah, there was a reason Boston’s never had a wait. They didn’t even have French fries. WTF??!? What restaurant with burgers and flat screen TVs doesn’t serve fries? I recall their chocolate cake was hittin’ though.

    I refuse to believe Abercrombie is closed, partially because I swear I can still smell it.

    Also, I’m still mourning the loss of Borders. Their free shipping for members couldn’t be beat. Then again, by going out of business I’ve purchased less paper books and more ebooks, thus simplifying my life. *shrugs*

  4. Josh on March 28, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    PLEASE post more. I miss reading your informative and entertaining articles. :)

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