Liquidations: Say Goodbye To Tweeter

Bankrupt high-end electronics retailer Tweeter is going away for good says the Boston Globe.

Hudson Capital Partners and Tiger Capital Group are planning to liquidate the merchandise at the company’s 94 stores. Already, Tweeter’s distribution centers and headquarters in Canton are shutting down. Tweeter, which opened its first shop next to Boston University in 1972, will stop its high-end installation services on Nov. 14, said employees at six Massachusetts shops who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on behalf of the company.

The Globe says that stores are currently marking down merchandise by about 10%, and as usual, you can’t count on excellent deals at a liquidation sale.

Tweeter to shutter remaining stores [Boston Globe]
(Photo: Ben Popken )

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  1. Snarkysnake says:

    What took so long ?

    They haven’t been relevant (or viable) for a long time…

  2. tande04 says:

    I read that as “Twitter”, which confused the hell out of me ’cause I didn’t see how they could be going under and I sure as hell didn’t see what they could be liquidating.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I just ran into this personally, I purchased a TV 3 weeks ago to be picked up in the store this week. I called today, the person I talked with said they could not give me the TV, as they were not cash and carry only. Yes they had one in back, no they could not give it to me, I would have to dispute the charge with my credit card company if I wanted my money back. Wonderful.

    Isn’t that considered illegal / retail theft or something?

  4. Preyfar says:

    I once went into the Wyomissing, PA Tweeter to get a 1/4″ to 3.5mm converter for my Sennheiser headset. It’s a fairly standard cable, and I was looking for a good quality build for my new Sennheiser HD 550s. The Tweeter rep assured me that no such cable or adapter existed, and if one did, he’d know about it. Instead, he tried to sell me another pair of headphones that would “suit my needs”.

    I could understand if they didn’t have it in stock or even sell it, but to tell me it didn’t exist? And to try to upsell me?

    That was my first and last time ever stepping into a Tweeter.

    • albear says:

      A 1/4 to 3.5 mm adapter doesn’t exist? WTH? and this at a “high end” electronics store?

      *Let’s all rag on Circuit City*

      Send that Sales rep to work there! ;)

      Kidding about CC, I never really had bad experiences there.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        @albear: It doesn’t exist because Monster Cable doesn’t make it. :)

    • TVarmy says:

      @Preyfar: Welcome to the world of system administration. I get the same response when I ask for common adapters for computers at Best Buy/Radio Shack when I worked as a de facto sys-admin (I believe the payroll said “computer person”) for a financial planning firm.

  5. nightsweat says:

    Good riddance. Overpriced and they wouldn’t sell me a $15 cable without taking my name, address, and phone number. Needless to say, I opted out of buying it there.

    This is why recessions can be good – they get rid of the craptastic merchants who never focused on customer service.

    • falc says:

      @nightsweat:i read the headline and then i logged in to leave a comment about how its good these f’ers are going down. they were so overpriced and unpractical. basically what you said ;)

    • Miss Anita Manbadly says:

      @nightsweat: Strange that I had the same experience at CompUSA and Tweeter. I was a cash customer and they each wanted to photocopy my driver’s license, and wanted an email address and phone number. I walked out of each store and never went back, and now they’re both gone.

    • Tonguetied says:

      @nightsweat: I hate it when these companies want to get my name and phone number, blood type etc. when I’m making a purchase. To this day I resist going into Radio Shack unless I absolutely have to. And I think they have actually discontinued the practice but I still have such a bad taste in my mouth over it.

    • RhodyDave says:

      @nightsweat:

      I agree with you to a point – Tweeter has been around for over 35 years. They must’ve done something right to get to the size they were. Nonetheless, it’s good to cleanse the system from time to time.

  6. thrlsekr says:

    Don’t forget that Tweeter was the parent company to some high end electronic regional stores – Sound Advice in Florida and HiFi Buys in Georgia to name a couple are going away as well!

    Having worked for HiFi Buys back when it was privately owned and thriving it sure is disheartening to see all of these chains to be gone by the end of ’08!

    The consoladation of the electronics industry is just seeing the tip of the iceberg with Tweeter closing less then 150 stores nationwide the demise of Circuit City will be big as well!

    • FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

      @thrlsekr: Hifi Buys has been closing stores since ’05. Heck, maybe longer. I never really paid much attention to them after noting they had nothing of note to sell me and I could get better prices (and warranty for that matter) from an online store.

      The only buried treasure in that chain was the car audio installation division. The stores near me had a reputation of being top-notch and fixing any bugs for free. Can’t say if the same is true for any of the stores outside the the metro ATL area.

  7. akacrash says:

    Went into one for the first time a few months ago. I was shocked at how expensive the basic merchandise was. I was also wondering how they were still in business. Guess that question is answered.

  8. Teknojunkie says:

    I owe them money (Tweeter Card). What happens if they liquidate? Do I still owe them? Plus, what about my warranty?

    • zarex42 says:

      @Teknojunkie:

      You still owe them, and expect the bill collectors to find you – someone will own your debt. The warranty with Tweeter may be void, but the manufacturer’s warranty should be fine.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Teknojunkie:

      Your card is most likely through an issuing bank that simply has a branded Tweeter card. ie. the Best Buy credit card is actually HSC Bank (or at least mine is).

      You still owe the money since you never actually owed it to Tweeter.

      The warranty thing – external provider or in store? Check your paperwork.

    • DePaulBlueDemon says:

      @Teknojunkie:

      LOL, I hope you’re joking. Of course you still owe them money.

  9. jp7570 says:

    Guess its not a surprise. Tweeter was never interested in competing on price. They closed their stores here a couple of years ago and there were no deals to be had during that liquidation either.

    Part of this may be due to consumer fatigue – with the economy being crappy, most of use are not particularly interested in upgrading or replacing components that perform quite well. This explains the poor sales of Blu-Ray discs and players in most markets. Upconverted standard DVDs or downloaded HD DVR content makes some of the new technology redundant.

  10. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    I haven’t been in a Tweeter in a long time, but it used to be their sales staff was fairly knowledgeable but their stuff was way over priced. I went there to research my big screen TV, then I went down the street to Sears and bought it for about $500 less.

    It’s a shame they didn’t have better prices because their employees were considerably more helpful than the people find in the Best Buy/CC TV departments.

  11. Deezul_AwT says:

    Every time I went into a Tweeter store, I always felt like the employees thought they were better than me. They were never cheaper than BB or CC, and salesmen would either hound you to death, or never bother to ask if you needed help. Conversely, I had nothing but good experiences when I was at HiFi Buys in Atlanta.

    The only good thing I ever got was a TV stand for a 42″ Mitsubishi for 1 cent. I bought the TV itself at BB, but Tweeter had it open box, and since no one usually bought just the stand, it was free there when you bought the TV. But since you can’t give merchandise away, it had to have a price.

  12. Canino says:

    The one near me closed down a while back. I went in once when they first opened. I couldn’t afford anything in there. I went back for the closing sale. I still couldn’t afford anything.

  13. Underpants Gnome says:

    Tweeter was the one place that could make Best Buy’s cables look like a bargain. They had a $600 “HDTV connection kit” that contained about $8 worth of cables.

  14. weakdome says:

    Actually, I’ve only bought one thing at Tweeter; my stereo tuner. Since nobody wants stereo tuners anymore (woo, surround) it was comparably priced to what I was seeing on-line, and the bonus was that the salesman was knowledgable and didn’t try to upsell me on a surround unit. I was very impressed, and I might be the only one, but I will be a *little* sad to see a name that’s been around for so long go away.
    … Just a little.

    • LastVigilante says:

      @weakdome: Me too, with the only purchasing one thing from Tweeter ever. Back in high school I bought my first 3-disc CD changer shelf system from Tweeter. All I remember is the guy ringing me up charged me $100 less than what it should have been, so I was happy. I still have it and it works great even over 15 years later, but I’ve never bought anything else from a Tweeter.

  15. mike says:

    I’ve never actually been to twitter. What market did they appeal to?

    • Corporate-Shill says:

      @mike:

      Mostly it was mainstream (BB/CC)to entry level highend (Martin Logan and Focal speakers for example). Of course there was a bit of mass consumer (ie highend WallyWorld, Sears, Target), but those products tended to be overpriced relative to the purchasing volume of other mass market stores.

      Bottom line, pretty much what the Magnolia Home Theater stores operating within BB are trying to be…. something better than a mass market without sucking down $150K for a home theater.

  16. Craig says:

    Tweeter closed here years ago. They were worse than Best Buy in terms of customer service, shopping experience, AND price. I’m surprised they’re still around.

  17. Dawnrazor says:

    The problem with all of these stores is not primarily their inability to compete in terms of pricing with the online retailers. The issue is that these stores add nothing beneficial to the transaction compared with the online stores. Buying online completely avoids all the high-pressure sales-pitches, ignorance or outright lies in response to questions, and the dire warnings of certain calamity should a customer decline the extended warranty.

    These stores cannot seem to understand that in 2008, they are dealing with a much more technologically-savvy demographic than they did 20, even 10, years ago. Most of us are sophisticated enough that we know when a salesperson/”manager”/customer service rep is bulls******g us (either to upsell or to avoid saying “I don’t know” or “We don’t carry that”) and generally leave these stores feeling our intellegence has been insulted, never to return. It’s much easier to order from Crutchfield, BH Photo, Audio Advisor, Music Direct, Acoustic Sounds, or J&R (good experiences with all these companies).

    Another big problem is a lack of high-end products at any of these stores (Bose and Monster are NOT “high-end”, just “high-end” marketing budget and highly inflated pricing for the level of parts quality, build quality, and performance you get). There is no big difference between the merchandise at any of these stores: cheap ‘n cheerful, plasticky and flimsy quality, and built by low-paid labor in questionable conditions (labor which can probably never dream of buying anything rolling off their assembly lines for their own families-it’s all destined for “rich” Westerners looking for a good deal).

    This is why CompUSA and Tweeter are extinct, and Circuit City soon will be. (I’m not sure how Best Buy continues to dodge the bullet, but they will probably also face their day of reckoning in the near-future.)

    • mac-phisto says:

      @Dawnrazor: you may be technology-savvy (& probably most consumers that visit this site are), but the vast majority of people aren’t. if they were, i can’t think of a single b&m electronic store that would still be in existence (& that includes crutchfield’s b&m ops).

      the thing about tweeter (& what makes me a little sad about this news) is that they did carry high-end merchandise, as opposed to the typical electronics store. unfortunately, people simply don’t understand the $1500 difference between a v-series & an xbr-series sony bravia television. & so, they take their business to best buy & pay a 40% markup on a tv that’s only marginally better than it’s korean counterpart just b/c it says sony on it.

      yes, tweeter also sold junk alongside actual high-quality merchandise, but that’s the business model for a successful electronics store – sell the high-end merch at a low margin & sell “comparable” low-end merch at a lower price point (but a much higher mark-up). it’s how stores con us into buying vizios instead of hitachis, even though hitachis are well worth the price difference.

      oh well. as sad as i am to see them go, i can’t ever recall dropping a dime at one. i’ll miss watching a (free) full-feature in one of their state-of-the-art home theatres though. =(

  18. jpdanzig says:

    I’m glad to hear someone else call out Monster. Consumer Reports has long said that sturdy 16-gauge lamp cord works just fine for speaker cable — and costs a fraction of Monster Cable.

    Then there was the Monster FM transmitter I bought for my car. Terrible! I emailed their support people for guidance on improving the unit’s reception and never received a reply.

    Incidentally, anyone in need of a good car mp3 FM transmitter should check out the iriver unit; the sound and reception are both excellent…

  19. DarkKnightShyamalan says:

    Sad. This was one of the few electronics stores left that had knowledgeable employees who actually understood what they were selling you and could advise you on suitable merchandise.

    Now we come closer and closer to putting all the eggs in Best Buy’s basket, along with their army of illiterate dunderheads who don’t know a thing about TVs but do know that they will NOT WORK RIGHT unless you get the expensive cable and the extended warranty.

    • Corporate-Shill says:

      @DarkKnightShyamalan:

      Tweeter is just one more link in the chain. BB will eventually go as well. And then we will have the overpriced Interweb from which to purchase our goodies.

      Yes, the Interweb will be expensive. Already is in many cases and will only get worse because the lack of competition tends to do that. Beyond high prices there will be no place for people to visit to select or compare the goodies that they buy elsewhere.

  20. linkura says:

    They’ve had a Tweeter right next to the Borders in town for years, ever since the shopping center opened. And while I’ve been in Borders dozens upon dozens of times since, I never once stepped inside Tweeter.

    • jonworld says:

      @linkura: I passed by the Burlington, MA Tweeter a few times every week (when I lived in Massachusetts). I never went inside, either though. It seemed like when all the stores in the building went out of business or moved, Tweeter was the only thing that always stayed, adorned in its red and turquoise decor.

  21. jwissick says:

    Never heard of them….

  22. Blaaaah says:

    I guess I’m the only one who is going to miss them. I never had anything but a positive experience with Tweeter and Tweeter reps. I had the same car audio guy for 2 years or so, and then he left to pursue another career. Brad was awesome. Another guy who had been there picked me up. He was great too, very knowledgeable. He’s still with Tweeter- they shut his store down, so he transferred to another one in a different part of town- and I just talked to him about a week ago or so- this is kind of old hat for me that Tweeter is going under. Still kind of sad though.

  23. farcast says:

    Music Direct. That is all.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I bought a 60 inch plasma from tweeter last week. It’s paid for and posted on my credit card statement. Now they won’t deliver the goods and won’t refund my money.

    PLEASE help and ideas? Can I dispute the charge on my card??

  25. mbz32190 says:

    The ones I know here, have never appeared crowded. I forgot they will still around actually.

  26. JayDeEm says:

    I remember driving by one of their stores many many times, but never felt the urge to go inside to check it out.

    On another note, I did go by a local Circuit City today to checkout the ‘deals’ and found all kinds of worthlessness. 10% off of accessories (media, wires, video cards, etc) and no deals whatsoever on any actual electronics. At least I went in with no real expectations… I was not disappointed.

  27. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    I always wondered why an ampitheater in Chicago was called the Tweeter Center, despite the company largely being an east-coast company. (Sure, it hasn’t been named Tweeter Center Chicago for a few years now, but as far as I remember, Tweeter in the midwest was RARE.) Maybe the answer was WASTING money on naming rights.

  28. em2thrasher says:

    @nightsweat Whenever I am a cash customer and any clerk request a name etc.. I simply say…. my name is Cash Customer 123 Main St Beverly Hills, CA 90210 213-555-1212.

  29. Meathamper says:

    I thought ou say Twitter, and I was like, “Noooooo!”

  30. LBI.beachbum says:

    We have had a Tweeter nearby for a few years. The nice part about Tweeter and some of the other high end stores is that you can actually listen to decent speakers. CC and BB selection is pretty mediocre and you obviously cant listen to speakers from an online store.

  31. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    The one in my county went away a long time ago. I don’t really know anyone who ever shopped there anyways. Who the hell could afford to shop there. Anyways I could care less that they are gone. I only went into one in Seekonk, Mass. like 14 years ago and I wasn’t impressed by them at all.

  32. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Looks like that “Boatload of Knowhow” is sinking faster than the Titanic.

    Tweeter used to be the place for wealthy Bostonites to get their overpriced Proton TV’s and Denon stereos. Last time I went into a Tweeter store to look around it was deserted, and the salesmen were all standing around undressing my wallet and trying to guess the limit on my credit card.

    I always found the place to be Snobtacular and if you didn’t have at least $1000 to spend, they didn’t want to talk to you. Not a great loss.

  33. octajohnny says:

    I didn’t mind Tweeter and think it’s a shame they’re gone… and I’m a super cheap shopper, but I’ll pony up when it’s something outside of my realm of technical expertise. I always knew I could get things for less by fishing around and DIYing installation, but their prices were no worse than Best Buy or CC, except that you actually had knowledgeable employees who didn’t try to upsell you on crap you didn’t need or tack on “extras” when you weren’t looking. When you got stuff installed, you knew it was installed well.

    I bought an $600 Alpine receiver for my car a few years ago, and when the Infinity amp (not bought from them nor installed by them) went on me a few months down the line, they still took my car in, took everything apart, and checked everything out for free to make sure it wasn’t because of anything they did nor the receiver itself.

    To those of you outside of their area, think of a little more corporate Crutchfield, but just brick and mortar, which was probably ultimately their demise.

    Overpriced, maybe… but a hell of a lot better than frickin’ Best Buy or Circuit City.

  34. battra92 says:

    I thought they were already gone. All the ones around here closed.

    Mom & Pop high end places are the places to go. I used to deal with a guy who sold Panasonic stuff. He’d give me as good a price as online since all he had to do was order it and take my money. He was mostly a repair shop but the level of service he gave you was great. Shame he retired and closed up, though.

  35. buckfutt says:

    I was a big fan of HiFi Buys up until they joined on with Tweeter (and then promptly went in the tank). That was a good store/chain with great sales and generally, smart employees. Their annual Atlanta-area clearance sale was legendary, there would be lines around the block at one point (pre-eBay, of course).

  36. ELC says:

    I remember when the came into the DC area. Went into one when it opened in Fredericksburg and thought that they’d never make it. HUGE store, very little merchandise. All expensive! This is a country of choice – especially in consumer electronics.

  37. Dansc29625 says:

    I was in the on in Greenville SC today, 10% off everything in the store. (that’s not a store closing discount.) If your going to drop 2 grand on a TV, you want to get it from a store that is going to be open tomorrow.

  38. MatthewT says:

    Huh. From the photo it looks like just another generic suburban big box store. How high end could it be?

  39. rtmccormick says:

    Good riddance to Tweeter. The only halfway decent electronics retailer out there now is Crutchfield. They actually care about customer service. Buy a head unit for your car and you’ll get all the necessary install supplies for free that you’d paid another $40 for at BB or CC.

  40. friendslikeJimRome says:

    I’m going to miss them, my whole home theater is from Tweeter. They filled the gap between Radio Shack and the nutty high end. The gear I bought there wasn’t sold in many places and wasn’t marked down anywhere else either. Stuff like Pioneer Elite TVs, B&K receivers and Boston Acoustics speakers.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Overpriced? Only uneducated consumers can say Tweeter was overpriced. They were actually cheaper on price than BB, CC and HHG on exact model items and if not, they would pricematch. Ex. All Sonys are NOT created equal. There is a L, M, N, S, V, W, XBR6, XBR7, XBR8 and Z series tvs in a wide range of sizes for 2008-2009. Same with Samsung… 400, 450, 550, 630, 650, 750, 860, 950 just to name a few and so on. BB, CC and HHG carry the cheaper (features/specs.) to mid level tvs while Tweeter carried the mid to high end tv series. The more superior the tv the higher the price, but never more than other stores. I guess the salesmen at BB and CC are not the best at distinguishing the differences.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone help. I had dropped off an old plasma to have it looked at at the Harrisburg Tweeter and I received a call on November 29 telling me that I had 11 days to pick it up or they would throw it away because the stores would be closed. I was planning on picking up the TV today, so I was a bit surprised to drive by the store and see it dark and empty. HOW DO I GET MY TV? I am thinking of calling the asset management company in NY, but I’m guessing that won’t get me anywhere. They can’t just close up shop early and take my property!

  43. Anonymous says:

    I worked at the Harrisburg Tweeter for 4 years. It was a great place to work. The problem with Tweeter is when the Gateway lady(Judy Quye) came in to help solve Tweeter’s Problems!! Huh??? Where are all of the gateway stores now? She thought if Tweeter would focus on the IPod, things would all be fine. All that did was bring in people, who had no reason to be in a Tweeter store otherwise. The Ipod sale brought in all of this junk that you would find at a wal-mart. This stuff never sold at all. The main problem is when Tweeter tried to compete with price with BB & CC, that did them in very quickly. Tweeter is service, Tweeter is people who care about the people they sell. It’s just sad to see great people in this company get this treatment!!! Thats why I left after the first chaper 11 filing. I knew this was the Tweetanic going down!! Good luck Tweeter Employees the grass is greener here!!!

  44. Karl Morkunas says:

    Sound Advice was owned by Tweeter and now that they are both close my parents are totally screwed on their warranty. Atleast Circuit City customers have back-up on their warranties with 3rd party companies after their stores are gone. Customers that bought warranties with these closing stores should have been refunded or given a 3rd party to back their warranty. It’s sucks when you blow thousands on a warranty for a new home theater set-up so that the company can just go out of business. If any one knows anything about Sound Advice still honoring their warranties please let me know!