My heart always drops a little bit when I hear about a former Safeway shutting down for good. It’s amazing that stores built in the 1970s are still operating as grocery stores, that’s the equivalence of someone in the 2000s shopping at a store that opened in 1950, not impossible but largely unheard as by that point the supermarkets that had been built would be outsized in only a few years. The Lake Jackson Safeway has a somewhat complicated history, or multiple operators having either short bursts of success or measurable failures. Some of this may have to do with how Lake Jackson was originally designed versus how the community actually grew out. However, in this situation, I just can’t my finger on why exactly stores keep failing in this spot. So let’s start with some history. Safeway opened this location in 1976 and held onto it until the AppleTree buyout occurred. The store did well under both companies, serving somewhat of a more upscale shopping center in Lake Jackson, and dealing with very little competition. However, in 1994 when the remainder of AppleTree was dissolved the store was first sold so Stanley Supermarkets. Stanley already had a store close by and simply relocated and expanded here. While I don’t have much information on Stanley Stores, I do know this wasn’t the only Safeway they bought, but it was the only AppleTree. They seem to have kept it in good running shape, even operating a 3rd party pharmacy in space left by AppleTree/Safeway. Unfortunately, Stanley Stores would hit an abrupt end in 1997 after declaring bankruptcy. The store would then be purchased by Baywood Foods a small chain that would only operate the location for 2 years before selling it to Jerry Dorman, who operated the store as Jerry’s Food King from 1999-20016, after deciding to retire in 2016 Dorman sold his store to Arlan’s who would operate out of this location from 2016-2019.
While Arlan’s didn’t give a reason behind closing this store, the decision was made prior to the pandemic, so it’s a safe guess to say sales were likely lagging at this location. If you check out the Google Reviews for this store, in addition to a treasure trove of photos, you’ll find some really great reviews. It seems that the people of Lake Jackson were happy with Arlan’s so what could have caused it to close? Well, my guess would be it was the same thing that probably got Jerry Dorman to retire, the new H-E-B opening up a block down the street. While this probably wasn’t the only nail in the coffin with a new Aldi opening up, and Kroger moving to a Marketplace store, Lake Jackson’s grocery scene has changed dramatically in the past 5 years, looking much more like Houston’s than the separate entity it was for so long.