What going on at West Oaks Mall in 2022? A slow death examined

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today we’re returning to West Oaks Mall, a location that holds a space near and dear in my heart as “my mall” during my teenage years. Anyone living in Houston for more than a bit knows that West Oaks is a riches to rags story. Starting off as an ambitious high-end shopping mall, serving a predicted luxury clientele that never really developed in this part of Houston. The mall was able to reinvent itself multiple times, adjusting to fit the changes this side of Houston felt. West Oaks has seemingly hit …

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Dick’s Warehouse Sale, Grand Opening, Now Closing! With special appearance by Babies ‘R Us!

The Babies 'R Us cart corals were left behind at most stores

Howdy folks, welcome back! A few months ago in February, Dick’s Sporting Good’s announced they were planning on expanding a new concept to Houston with Dick’s Warehouse Sale. The location opened in Friendswood on February 17, 2021. According to the original press release, which has since been deleted by Dick’s, the stores were intended to be “temporary pop-up shop” experiences, with discounts up to 70%. I had known about the new store for quite some time, but hadn’t made the time to visit. I happened to be in the area taking other photos, not planning on covering this store but …

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Love thy HEB Neighborhood Market

Someone dumped a decent amount of into getting that sign made and installed

These days in Houston a vacant grocery store doesn’t tend to sit for too long. While we don’t have a huge number of chains running around town these days to pickup the empty stores, we do have some independents. Even locations that have hit the end of their useful life as grocery stores, are often converted into other types of stores. We’re a town of opportunity, and lax (not non-existent) zoning laws help allow for easy transitions. However, that’s not to say you can’t find any unoccupied supermarket buildings in Houston. If a building is not being reused there are …

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Vintage Texas Retail Videos in 1080p from the Jones Film Collection

Kroger Superstore Produce Department, 1977 (Image sourced from WFAA-TV/SMU Jones Film Collection, April 7, 1977)

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest submission from HHR’s good friend Anonymous in Houston Those who have been reading Houston Historic Retail for some period of time know that I did a two-part series (Part I and II) in early 2021 about the excellent retail videos available at The Portal of Texas History website operated by the University of North Texas Library. Most of the videos at The Portal were supplied by Dallas-Fort Worth TV station KXAS-TV. Well, another Dallas Metroplex university library, the Southern Methodist University Library, also has a collection of videos in their G. William Jones …

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It’s your town Boris! A visit to and the history behind the former Iron Curtain Smashing Randall’s

Howdy folks, today we’re taking a look at what is arguably the most significant grocery store in all of Houston. A humble Lewis Food Town located at 570 El Dorado Blvd, Webster, TX 77598. Starting out as a Randall’s in 1984, this grocery store served an important role only a few years later as an impromptu stop by Soviet politician Boris Yeltsin. Aiming to see how “average Americans” lived, many have drawn a direct line between Yeltsin’s experience and his later role in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. We’ll get into the history of it a bit more, but …

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Macy’s San Jacinto Mall location prepares to close by March for demolition of closed mall

Howdy readers, I have some sad, but not unexpected news today. The end is finally in sight for San Jacinto Mall. While this is a sad day for mall lovers everywhere, this has also been a long time coming, and almost everyone would agree that the property should be redeveloped rather than left to sit in the state it currently does. Originally envisioned back in 1978 by Paul Broadhead & Associates, a mall development company based out of Meridian, Mississippi. Broadhead had already made his mark on malls in Texas during the last decade. Originally getting his start in 1966, …

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This former TJ Maxx was once Jumbo!

However, on the inside it's straight TJ Maxx.

Howdy Folks, and welcome back! This time we’re talking about a store I don’t know that well. Jumbo Markets is a grocery store that only comes up on occasion in Houston retail history. They were a very small chain, so most people who remember them, either lived or spent time around one of their stores. Only making it to six stores over a time period of about 13 years, Jumbo had lots of missteps in Houston. The average “store life” for the chain was only about 5 years, except for their “Flagship” 10250 Westheimer location that stayed open continuously, as …

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Demolition Update: Party Boy’s over for 1515 Studemont as 10 and Heights takes over

Preparations are being made to demolish the former Party Boy, party supply store located a 1515 Studemont, on the banks of White Oak Bayou and where it meets I-10. For the better part of the last three decades, Party Boy has been one of Houston’s most prominent party supply warehouse destinations. Those in search of copious amounts of cheap decor, will now have no choice but to turn to Arne’s. Rumors of the property’s redevelopment have swirled since 2017 when the attached haunted house, Nightmare on the Bayou, unexpectedly announced they would not reopen the following season. Party Boy would …

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Speckerd’s Part Two, Fun Size Bottles

The design of this Eckerd looks a little off putting in this photo, but in real life it's very well done.

Howdy folks, and Happy New Year’s Eve! In celebration of what you’ll likely be doing tonight, let’s take a look at a place where you can pop-corks. Houston’s, most prominent liquor store chain, Spec’s. We will again be taking a look at a Spec’s that is housed in a former Eckerd, making this part two of Speckerd’s! In our last episode, we discussed how overbuilding in Houston hurt area drug stores, leading to some stores that sit vacant for years if they’re ever reused. While the overbuilding wasn’t as bad for Eckerd who was the redheaded stepchild of JCPenney at …

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HEBway a Rare Example in 2021

Howdy folks, welcome back to another edition of Houston Historic Retail. Today we’re taking a look at an HEB at 200 W Hopkins St, San Marcos, TX 78666 that, while not in Houston, was once part of the Houston division of Safeway and AppleTree stores. Located in San Marcos, it lost its Houston affiliation with the 1994 purchase by H-E-B. The store was built in 1984, to replace an older location on the same property. The first Safeway in San Marcos originally opened in 1972, built on most of a city block that was purchased from various homeowners and other …

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