Electric Odyssey shuts off its power for good

Electrical gadgets cataloger/retailer Electric Odyssey, a division of Duluth, MN-based electricity utility Allete, shut down last week. Electric Odyssey had consisted of three stores and catalog/Internet operations. This was a “strategic decision by our parent company,” says Electric Odyssey president Lori Collard. “Retail was not fitting Allete’s focus.” Nor did Electric Odyssey’s 2001 sales meet projections, she adds. Allete will now “refocus and deploy resources into its automotive and energy services for a better return.”

Originally named Electric Outlet, Electric Odyssey opened its first store in 1983, selling electric appliances. In 1996, the company changed its focus to smaller electrical items; in 1999 it changed its name. In terms of sales, “some years we made our target and some years we didn’t,” says Collard. Although sales were down for 2001, Electric Odyssey made up only 2% of Allete’s 2001 revenue, and should not be considered the only reason for the company’s closing, she says.

Electric Odyssey’s closing affects 35 employees. Some have been laid off, while others have been moved to different positions within Allete, Collard says.