The ability to check inventory at other stores in a chain is great.
I once needed to get some labels in a particular color from one of those paper stores. Non of the six stores in my area had them but one did across the country (Beverly Hills). I happened to be flying to LA a few days later and brought labels back with me.
By the way the GREAT thing about Fry's is they have 34 stores, at last count exactly half of them in California, and centralized inventory mangement, you can have a clerk enter any part # from a cash register and find if some other store has the part you're looking for (I've even located replacement tips for discontinued temperature-controlled soldering stations that they didn't even sell me in the first place from them, kind of impressive if you think about it). Did you ever hear the story about them getting started in Silicon Valley? They were a parts store that decided to carry food items too so the harried "geek" didn't have to make an extra stop on the way home (and it probably didn't hurt that "Fry's" in Arizona is a supermarket chain, with some family connections I'm told). Nowadays there's certainly more of a "focus" on the big-ticket stuff but it's nice to see they're not an outfit that totally "forgot where they came from".
Also, there's Weird Stuff, but as others have noted, it's primarily Computer surplus.
Jameco is primarily new, although they do have some surplus (IIRC, they often have surplus power supplies, motors, and such); I'd say they're more of a distributor with will call.
BTW, another possible distributor with Will Call is Compenets Center, with locations in Santa Clara, Fountain Valley, and Phoenix. (I say "possible" because I've never used them -- and I don't think they're geared towards individual sales or browsing).
There's also Jameco Electronics in Belmont, just south of San Mateo, CA. They're primarily Internet mail-order, but they have "will call" on weekdays. Not far from a decent bike route, but be careful crossing the Bayshore :-)
To be fair I forgot to mention LC Electronics in Van Nuys, pretty much an "old school" commercial surplus and hobbyist outfit. Then again I haven't been there in maybe 4 years, as I recall though it's a pretty good place for many things especially if you're trying to find discontinued ICs and such.
Oh sure, here on the west coast I can point to stores where I can still find "hobbyist-type" components for sale, for example we still have All Electronics and Fry's (the latter certainly more oriented towards "appliance buyers" with NO commercial surplus whatever, and for semis you may have to settle for stock pegboard offerings mostly from NTE, but I have to say they HAVE held up reasonably well in terms of prototyping, assembly, soldering and some test equipment). Having said that I almost don't even want to review all the great stores we've lost: Marvac Dow (actually a modest chain of GREAT stores), Priority One Electronics, ITC Electronics, Sandy's Electronics, Orvac, C & H Surplus (didn't close completely but after it moved out of Pasadena it's a shadow of its former self). There's even an outfit called ELO that's now strictly mailorder but they used to operate a HUGE warehouse down in Gardena. In fact there's hardly any surplus test equipment left anywhere, if it weren't for Apex in Sun Valley and Murphy's in El Cajon it would be hard nowadays to even get a look at the old HP, General Radio, Biomation, Tektronix and other assorted "boat anchors" we used to all drool over back in the day! Of course so far I'm talking southern California, up north you've got places like Weird Stuff but that's a totally different "vibe", that whole area has been far less influenced by the need to perform service in response to government military contracts so the surplus tends to "skew" much more towards strictly commercial items.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.