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Burbank's Electronic City Closing After 5 Decades

Electronic City in Burbank is closing on Dec. 30. (Photo Credit: Arin Mikailian).
Electronic City in Burbank is closing on Dec. 30. (Photo Credit: Arin Mikailian).

When Electronic City in Burbank first opened in 1957, hi-fi stereo didn’t exist yet and EICO do-it-yourself kits were all the rage.

There have been countless technological advances since then to be stocked on the store's shelves, but one constant at the business all this time was Howard Pollyea.

“I was 21 years old when I built this building with my dad, we were partners,” he said.

Now in his mid-70s, Pollyea decided it’s time to close up shop and move on. Electronic City, located at 4001 W. Burbank Blvd. Just outside of North Hollywood, is having its last day in business on Dec. 30.

Over the years the store evolved to meet various needs, including electronic parts, especially those for the movie industry, and surveillance equipment.

And one of the best parts of his job has always been showing patrons how to use those devices.

“The people in Burbank are just wonderful,” he said. “They come in daily in shock saying, ‘you can’t leave us, you can’t go, where are we going to go to for parts? We don’t want to go to the Internet, we don’t want to wait for days and find out what we ordered is not what we wanted.’”

Pollyea said his favorite device he ever came across was the first integrated circuit, one of the earliest computer parts, and that one of his fondest memories was right after the Northridge Earthquake in 1994.

He had just pulled up to Electronic City with his family in the car and saw that several people had broken the store’s windows and were stealing parts.

Pollyea parked his car behind the thieves’ vehicles in an attempt to block them. That’s when they approached him.

“They said to me, ‘hey, don’t be such a pig, we’ll let you take some, too,’” he said.

Maybe the memory wouldn’t be as fond if Pollyea wasn’t able to get his merchandise back.

As for life post-Electronic City, retirement is not in the cards. Instead, he plans on opening a much smaller store in Burbank devoted solely to video surveillance equipment.

His old business is going to be repurposed as an office complex. Until then, everything at the store is 40-70 percent off.

Pollyea said his new effort could be up and running in six months.

“I love people too much…I don’t have a plan to retire,” he said. “As long as you have your health, there really is no reason to retire.”

Lightnapper December 13, 2013 at 02:03 PM
Headline's off-- It's Electronic City. They have been in decline for well over a decade, closer to two. Used to be the place to go-- in the 70's and 80's. Parking lot was always full. Now it's a desert. Other places offered better customer service, lower prices, and less attitude. The mantra became-- "Only go there if you know exactly what you need!" Perhaps with a better attitude toward customers and much, much lower prices, they might have weathered Ross's departure. He was about the only "regular" guy in the joint without a Burbank "Tude." As for surveillance equipment, competitive pricing is everything with respect to sales. Otherwise, good luck on all that!
Arin Mikailian (Editor) December 13, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Thanks for pointing that out! Fixed.
Michael Goetz January 07, 2014 at 03:13 PM
Yes, the comments up above from Lightnapper were right about Electronic City! The staff should have had proper training in sales and interpersonal human interaction from professional training sessions.
Joe Detracktor January 31, 2014 at 12:50 AM
Where do we go now? Marvac closed both location., Fry's does not have a good selection of ICs. Are there any local places or is it Digikey and Mouser?

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