The Electric Palace is an electronics store run by Bart Rathbone. Though the items are generally overpriced and Bart is a scheming, conniving businessman, people keep coming.
The store has two stories, automatic doors, a basement, an office which apparently contains a pile of maps to the store, and a small back room where Bart keeps his private things (#243: “Family Values”).
The store address is 1313 Mockingbird Road (#312: “Rewards in Full”).
The property on which the Electric Palace sits was originally owned by local businessman and villain Regis Blackgaard and hosted the now-destroyed children's establishment Blackgaard's Castle (#160: “A Rathbone of Contention”). Regis remained the owner of both the land and the Electric Palace itself until his death, at which time Edwin Blackgaard inherited both (#342: “Welcome Home, Mr. Blackgaard”). Bart Rathbone remained the store manager through both periods — a business arrangement that largely contributed to Bart's participation in Regis's schemes over the years, with the stipulations of the lease agreement for the store apparently requiring Bart's cooperation (#319: “A Touch of Healing, Part 2”, #325: “Angels Unaware”, #334: “The Final Conflict”).
Bart's shady business practices started as soon as construction on the store began as he "hired" the unqualified Eugene to wire the store for a building inspection. The scheme naturally, and literally, blew up in Bart's face (#160: “A Rathbone of Contention”).
Bart was once able to generate extra business for the store by agreeing to host a food collection bin for a food drive organized by Jack Allen inside the store. Access to the bin was naturally located "through the bargain appliances aisle." Bart went so far as to take credit for the entire food drive on local television in an attempt to generate even more business for the store, though he was soon forced to give due credit to Jack after finding himself speechless when asked for details about the program (#312: “Rewards in Full”).
Late into the Darkness Before Dawn saga, Bart was forced to allow the Bones of Wrath to vandalize the store as part of Jellyfish's efforts to throw off public mistrust of the gang and cast suspicion on the Israelites instead — a lie which Bart himself propagated on television. Bart's son Rodney was so incensed by the act that he turned on Jellyfish and helped Richard Maxwell to expose Blackgaard's activities (#332: “Another Chance”).
After Bart's lawyer was able to successfully commute his community service sentence for crimes committed during the Darkness Before Dawn era, Bart tried to blackmail Edwin Blackgaard into selling him the Electric Palace. Edwin refused, not being able to sell the property due to the stipulations outlined in Regis's will. Edwin nearly lost both the store and his theater to Bart anyway after hastily signing a contract with Bart out of desperation to secure a much-needed loan for the theater, but scheme ultimately failed thanks to an appeal to Bart's conscience by Edwin and Jack Allen (#359: “The Merchant of Odyssey”).
The store was damaged by a tornado that swept through town in 1998 and had to be closed down for repairs. Bart and his family had been too busy earning a fast buck from the townspeople (by overcharging for emergency survival equipment) to properly prepare the store from the tornado's power (#397: “Tornado!”). Eventually the store was repaired and reopened for business.
The Electric Palace has not been seen or referenced since Bart's final episode in #632: “Suspicious Finds”. The death of original Bart actor Walker Edmiston and the dropping of the character of Bart after the 2008 Season likely indicate that the Palace will not appear again in future episodes.
The only two employees other than Bart to ever have appeared on the show have been:
- The clerk who rings Connie up for her blender in #323: “A Little Credit, Please”
- Nathaniel Graham, who worked an intern in #444a: “Career Moves”
- "If we don't have it, then we'll probably have to order it for you." (#220: “This is Chad Pearson?”)
- "If we don't have it, you don't need it." (#287: “Tom for Mayor, Part 2”)