Laredo Taco Company Greensburg, PA

Laredo Taco Company, is a fast food concept owned by Stripes Convenience Stores. In 2015, Stripes was acquired by Sunoco. Some experimentation was undertaken by Sunoco to help improve their convenience store operations. Outside of Stripes switching to Sunoco brand gasoline there was little change for the Stripes customer to notice. However, outside of Texas Sunoco chose to build new concept stores with in-built Laredo Taco Company locations. One location was built in Greensburg, PA which is outside of Pittsburgh. Three more were built throughout the Nashville, TN area.

This location operates under the A-Plus banner of stores. It is owned by Sunoco, and was completely torn down and rebuilt when the Laredo Taco Company was added. There is exterior signage both permanent featured here, and temporary glass cling advertisements for LTC. There’s also outdoor seating.

The menu has some differences from the Texas version, such as the addition of both bowls, salad bowls…

… including would you believe it nachos!

Taking a look around the inside, the store does not resemble a conventional Stripes location. It borrows more from A-Plus. However overall I think it looks nice. They use a very basic interpretation of the LTC branding and styling.

The order kiosk system, while not new to the chain is still in a slow roll out mode, with most stores built before the last 6 years or so don’t have them.

 

Now, you may be wondering why is this oh so important? Well during the end of 2017 Sunoco sold all their convenience store businesses to 7-Eleven who will eventually convert all stores to their own brand. This likely means either a stoppage of opening new LTC locations or the overall removal of the brand. That’s unfortunate for the brand because it’s solid, and it has something that most other Taquerias lack which is consistency between locations. Everything is the same, and the quality is consistent. However, it’s not necessarily the final sign of death for the stores. As some Stripes locations approximately 200 were sold to a third party who has not indicated any plans to change to 7-Eleven as of yet.

 

So for outside of the Southwest Laredo Taco Company locations, this is probably it for now.

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A Collection of Unusual Eckerd Deisgns

While researching the history of a never opened Eckerd’s Location I stumbled upon a few unsusal Eckerd’s buildings these images were mostly hosted on architectural design webbsites and risk eventually removal. They have been reposted here to help preserve unique examples of a completely extinct chain. For the most part these locations all share a very general “Southwest” motif, while retaining as much of classic Eckerd’s design as possible.

This location; Broomfield, CO seems to have never opened as an Eckerd. Town planning documents mention that it was built by Eckerd, but the building has been significantly altered. Google Streetview

This render may have been purely speculative, but it sure looks nice! If this ever was built I’m not sure where it was.

 

While obviously a real photo, I don’t have a location on this. Hines stated that this was part of a project designing locations in Arizona, Colorado, and Florida. Based on the foliage and lack of ground cover it makes a strong case for Arizona, however it could also be Colorado.

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The last of Houston’s Toys ‘R Us

Prior to Toys ‘R Us closing I took a day to drive to the locations closest to me and grab a few pictures.

Katy Mills Renovation

Katy Mills which has been previously covered in this blog, is undergoing a renovation. Simon who purchased the malls original developer (The Mills Corporation) had not invested much in Katy Mills in terms of upgrades. Individual stores had updated their store fronts, but nothing in common areas.

One of the first things to go was the “Star Family” a common mascot among the Mills malls. My understanding is that the idea was that you and your family were members of the star family, because at Katy Mills you’re the star? Regardless the star family slowly disappeared. They sank into obscurity around the same time Katy Mills removes the Neighborhood sponsors.

The mall is in need of an update. As is evident by the state of maintenance in the mall. This is not the first time I have seen a former Mills mall receiving a refresh that goes to Grapevine Mills which went through this process a few years ago.

It’s likely that many of the unique design features in this mall will be lost. The Katy Field Day theme is being removed from the food court. Which includes restaurants themed to look like lunch kits and a dining area not only the size of a football field but a fully marked one as well.

Business at the mall seems good, especially for the middle of a Monday. Hopefully this renovation helps ensure Katy Mills continued success.

Check out the rest of the photos on my Flickr

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The Pig Stand

The Pig Stand was supposedly the first chain to ever offer, drive-in service. Fort Worth was home to the original location, eventually expanding to Houston by location number 7.

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Kmart Pointe West

I found this image while researching other properties. I figured it would be worth identifying for the sake of prosperity.

This photo is of The Big Kmart at 333 S Mason Rd Katy, TX 77450. It was located where Mason meets I-10. This location is now a Fiesta. The entire building is dedicated to Fiesta, with the exception of the Garden Center which is now a gym. The Fiesta opened in April of 2008.

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Phillip’s 66 Cornerstore

Cornerstore was originally founded as a Subsidiary of Valero Corporately owned gas stations, as a brand to operate their C-Stores under. Eventually Cornerstore would be spun out on their own, and later purchased by Circle-K. Due to the long history CST had with Valero, most stations sold Valero fuel. However, a select few did not.

This was one such example, a Phillip’s 66 Corner Store. Which is located and still operating as of 2018 in Tomball, TX

Read more ›

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Exploring the Abandoned KFC in River Oaks

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The Closing of Luby’s

So Luby’s, like many other Cafeteria chains hailing from the 1950s has experienced many woes over the years. The largest was the bankruptcy that nearly killed the company. I came across a list of locations which closed during the 2003 bankruptcy proceedings. The close date for all Texas locations was March 31, 2003 all locations outside of Texas closed April 3, 2003. The list illustrates the breadth the chain once had reaching from Tennessee to Arizona.

City and State Address
Dallas, TX 2377 Stemmons Trail
Dallas, TX 12230 Forestgate Drive
Greenville, TX 7600 Wesley Street
Sherman, TX 3113 Highway 75 North
San Antonio, TX 4300 Thousand Oaks Drive
Grand Prairie, TX 980 West Pioneer Parkway
McKinney, TX 920 North Central Expressway
Irving, TX 2250 Walnut Hill Lane
Tyler, TX 2829 West Northwest Loop 323
Mesquite, TX 24315 L.B.J. Freeway
Garland, TX 3255 Broadway Boulevard
Arlington, TX 701 North Watson Street
Orange, TX 4040 IH-10 West
Houston, TX 6704 Highway 6 South
Lewisville, TX 2401 South Stemmons Freeway
Fort Smith, AR 6201-A Rogers Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 601 West Bell Road
Tucson, AZ 7140 East Rosewood Street
Mesa, AZ 1404 South Longmore Street
Glendale, AZ 5285 West Bell Road
Oklahoma City, OK 3800 North MacArthur Boulevard
Tulsa, OK 115 East 15th Street South
Tulsa, OK 3140 South Garnett Road
Memphis, TN 5240 Summer Avenue
Memphis, TN 6705 Winchester Road

 

In addition I also found a shorter list of locations that had closed prior to the March 31, 2003 date.

 

Amarillo, TX (closed first week of March) 2101 South Coulter Drive
El Paso, TX (closed first week of March) 7825 North Mesa Street
Fort Worth, TX (closed March 24) 7624 Grapevine Trail
Albuquerque, NM (closed first week of March) 4710 Montgomery Boulevard
Nashville, TN (closed first week of March) 1501 Gallatin Pike North
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Exploring an Abandoned Dairy Queen

I recently had the chance to take some video of an abandoned Dairy Queen in Nacogdoches. I uploaded the results to YouTube!

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