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.”