Hello everyone, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today we begin by adding another definition to the HHR Dictionary, with the new term Randallsarama.
Randallsarama- (Noun) A Foodarama location occupying a former Randalls Supermarket. “Great news, the Randallsarama had discounted chocolate cake!”
Now that we’ve got the taxonomy out of the way, let’s get into the history of this store. We’re talking about Foodarama at 1603 Cartwright Rd, Missouri City, TX 77489. Originally opening October 2, 1983, as Randall’s #24. By the 1980s Randall’s was already associated with being on the somewhat “higher edge” of grocery stores, both in terms of selection/services, but prices were competitive with similar out-of-state operations such as Safeway, who did not rank as high with prestige. It should be noted however that the store was far from hoity toity, as a friend of mine put it you wouldn’t see Joe Six Pack stopping by Rice Epicurean, but he would be at Randall’s. Oddly on that note, when Boris Yeltsin visited Houston, his famous unscheduled trip to a Randall’s store was at a store of the same era, albeit 6 years later. A grocery store like this fit perfectly into the recently developed Quail Valley community, which at the time was quite the desirable place to be. Situated at the corner of two major thoroughfares, Cartwright Rd. and FM 2234 Randall’s had its fair share of competitors, within a relatively short distance. Down Cartwright, one would find what was originally a store that started out as Gerland’s was later a Minimax, and eventually the first location of this Foodarama at 2601 Cartwright. Just across the road was a similarly flaky Eagle Discount Supermarket, which would bounce around as a Kingsaver Warehouse Foods, and even Fort Bend County’s first HEB Pantry Foods, for a bit at 2400 Cartwright. However, on FM 2234, we find more stability with a Safeway #988 (which would close in 1987) at 2191 FM 2234 along with a Food Lion at 1530 Independence Boulevard, that is still open as a Fiesta. Despite all this competition, by 2000 the final stores in the area were this Randall’s and the aforementioned Foodarama. The store would close around mid 2000, less than a year after Randall’s sale to Safeway, and appears to be its first casualty.
With prime realty like this open, Foodarama promptly jumped on the opportunity to move in about a year after Randall’s shutdown. Since 2001 Foodarama has kept this prime example of 1980s Randall’s very much alive. This store still has most of the Randall’s structural elements in place and even some decor elements! The store was very well stocked, and decently priced. While I didn’t do a full shop here, I did pick up some groceries, which is not something I normally do while shooting photos. So let’s go ahead and get to it, and figure out what a Randallsarama looks like!
This location used to be a Randall’s back in the days. I used to shop here back in the eighties when it was Randall’s. Foodarama took over I believe in 2001. I used to work here when it was a Foodarama.
Definitely a sharp looking store for its age and use as a Foodarama. Certainly pretty spartan in places, but I imagine it is a very comfortable place to wield a shopping cart.
Randalls’ old “dairy corner” area is a fun element you don’t see in modern grocery floorplans.
Randall’s stores of this design were very comfortable places to shop! I very much enjoyed them and still enjoy shopping at the small number of Randall’s which are still open that were built with this type of design. Speaking of carts, one thing that these Randall’s stores had, which this Randallsarama still has, which was perhaps less than comfortable were those wood-like tiles up front and around the back as well. When the carts would go over the grout lines, the carts would shake, rattle, and roll over them causing a minor racket. All in all, it wasn’t too big of a deal, but I do remember that part of the vintage Randall’s experience!