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After 60 Years, Circuit City Closes

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Circuit City is out of business after 60 years. The chain once had more than 500 stores around the country and employed 34,000 people. Now, only a small staff remains at headquarters to finish the liquidation.

NPR's Allison Keyes reports.

ALLISON KEYES: Inside one northern Virginia store the scene was surreal. Some workers dismantled shelves and fixtures for sale, while others took screwdrivers to displays for satellite radios, pulling the tiny black receivers out to hand to shoppers with outstretched hands. Bargain hunters like Steven Tim Young(ph) flooded the parking lot.

Mr. STEVEN TIM YOUNG: I got (unintelligible).

KEYES: Even though the store was virtually picked clean, Tim Young said there were some good deals.

Mr. YOUNG: It is actually 50 percent of the regular price online.

KEYES: Other shoppers like Patty Johnson(ph) came out of the store bereft of all that their memories of better times for this once bustling store.

Ms. PATTY JOHNSON: I brought my refrigerator here and then I got it back in 1999, it still works.

KEYES: But on this trip she says there were no bargains to be had.

Ms. JOHNSON: Everything was sold - cable wires and that's it.

KEYES: Like many here, Johnson says she feels bad for the 34,000 people who are loosing their jobs.

Ms. JOHNSON: It's very sad to see them close down.

KEYES: On Wednesday, a house subcommittee is holding a hearing on why bankruptcy failed to save the company.

Allison Keyes, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Allison Keyes is an award-winning journalist with almost 20 years of experience in print, radio, and television. She has been reporting for NPR's national desk since October 2005. Her reports can be heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition Sunday.