Thinking back to Electronics Boutique

Tom Paine

All this craziness about GameStop (NYSE: GME) has bought back memories of Electronics Boutique (later EB Games), the West Chester-based retail chain that merged with Texas-based Gamestop in 2005. I’m sure gamers above a certain age remember it well. It was ubiquitous at malls.

James Kim, a Korean immigrant and Penn grad, founded Electronics Boutique as a single store at King of Prussia Mall in 1977. Originally selling calculators and early business productivity software, it evolved to focus on video games and eventually expanded to over 2000 outlets. GameStop acquired (technically merged with) EB for $1.44 billion in cash and stock. EB’s West Chester headquarters was shuttered and most of its senior management eliminated.

Back in the day West Chester was a hotspot for startups, with QVC and Commodore and Scala in addition to EB.

GameStop, which had been on bankruptcy watch for most of 2020, reached a peak market cap of $28 billion this morning before trading restrictions on RobinHood cooled it down.

Kim, now 85, still serves as Executive Chairman of Amkor Technology Inc., the Phoenix-based semiconductor packaging company he founded.

James Kim (LinkedIn)