Checking out costume conversions, is by in far the oldest “blog tradition” here on HHR. If you’re just joining us, I would highly recommend checking out my post from 2019 which explores Halloween pop-ups in a former Palais Royal, Walgreens, and Babies ‘R’ Us, along with last year’s limited investigation of the recently closed Willowbrook Spirit/Sears (Spears?). These posts are always fun, and one of the most popular of the entire year. So this year, with fewer COVID based restrictions, I wanted to feature a return to form. We’ll visit three different locations, and to make it a bit more interesting, I went for three non-traditional locations this year! Meaning, stores that aren’t going through, or haven’t recently been involved in, a bankruptcy. So get your favorite dead retailer apparel on (I’ll be wearing an old Kmart Hoodie!) and get ready for some fun!
Former Bed Bath & Beyond – Missouri City
Our first stop takes us down to Missouri City, is what probably would be considered an “expected closure” for most. While Bed Bath & Beyond is not in bankruptcy, they did liquidate a good number of locations during 2020, and this store at 5752 Highway 6 South was among the Houston locations to receive the axe during a second round of closures. While it doesn’t look like Bed Bath & Beyoncé (as my grandfather lovingly nicknamed it) is headed into dire straits anytime soon, thanks to some other stronger brands like Buy Buy Baby helping to keep cash flowing in. The former BB&B is one of two vacant anchor tenants, along with Palais Royal, who closed the store around the same time.
Former Goodwill – Westheimer & Dairy Ashford
The next “husk” we’re visiting originally started out as a Petsmart sandwiched between a Sears Hardware and a Randall’s. The shopping center was originally one of the nicest in the area, with Kroger opting to upgrade and expand their former Henke & Pillot across the street in response to the new Randall’s. With the steady building of apartments in the area and a younger less affluent demographic becoming more common, the shopping center began to flounder. The first tenant to close would be Sears Hardware, shutting down in 2003 after a 10-year run, it seemed premature for the store to close, but knowing what we know now about the overall condition of Sears it was incredible that what was likely an underperforming store lasted that long! Randall’s would follow shortly after, shutting their doors in 2005. This location was one of 15 that were closed, when Safeway began to get cold feet about their reentry into the Houston market. Interestingly a fuel station had just been added to the store a year prior, which was closed and promptly torn down. The final store to close would be Petsmart which shut down in 2009, while the Randall’s had been redeveloped into 24 Hour Fitness (who is still there), much of the rest of this center was failing by this point (with the Kroger across the street closing in 2007). Goodwill would open up around 2010 in a mostly unremodeled space. The major changes included the removal of the veterinary offices, and installation of a half height wall along the space.
Former Sam Moon – I-10 and Bunker Hill
Well if the Goodwill wasn’t unexpected, here should be something that is. A former Sam Moon! If you’re unfamiliar with the store, Sam Moon is (mainly) a ridiculously cheap fashion importer. They buy all sorts of fashion products in bulk from China, Korea, and other Asian counties and resell them in very plain stores. This includes clothing, jewelry, shoes, purses, hats, phone cases, pet accessories, all sorts of stuff! The product mix was constantly updated, and the stores are massive in size. Since about 2016 Sam Moon has quietly been getting out of the retail game. According to this article the family behind the store is instead investing in “signature properties” such as upscale Hotels and Golf Courses. At one point, the Moon family’s stores included outlets like Sam Moon Golf, Sam Moon Luggage, and Sam Moon Home Decor. While the Katy Freeway location never featured these add-ons, their Woodlands location (which is still open) did, although they have since downsized. According to the interview the business model was doing well but was not sustainable with online competition. This was evident in the stores as the quality of goods dropped to keep prices low. The Katy Freeway location closed earlier this year with no fan fare, selling cheap junk similar to Wish.com
Happy Halloween! Some neat stuff here. We don’t get very many Halloween stores, it would be fun to get to explore vacant retailers like this more often.
I wonder how it’s chosen which style of signage Spirit will use at a given location. Probably based on the shopping center management’s preference, if I had to guess. Both years Spirit has been in Southaven they’ve used the same style of signage seen on the former BB&B in this post.
It’s always a treat, and thankfully this year we had some new stores. As far as signage goes, I think that it’s what the city wants here. It can be notoriously hard to get a sign permit in Houston, and I think the vinyl signs are treated differently than the BB&B Spirit plastic kind.
Spears is a great name!
I actually had no idea that the Westheimer & Dairy Ashford Goodwill had closed. I had stopped buy there several times in the past so it is sad to see that it is closed now. Goodwill has slowly been thinning out their store count in Houston over the last few years. In some cases, they did have stores very close together about a decade ago so it was obvious that some would probably close at some point, but it’s sad to see some good locations go.
The best memory I have of this Goodwill was that one time around 2014 or so, they had a whole stack of Denon DVD players for sale. They couldn’t have been that old either by 2014 standards as they were HDMI DVD players. I figured a Denon DVD player would back for an excellent CD player, but when I inspected the units, I noticed they were rusty! How does a relatively new DVD player rust?! Beyond that, I couldn’t explain why they had so many of the same players. I assumed that some business or organization was using them in a moist area. I ended up passing on buying one just because if they were rusty, they might have had other internal issues as well.
Aside from that, while I had heard of Spirit Halloween and Halloween City, I can’t say I had heard of Spookers Halloween. As for that Bed, Bath, & Boo-yond, it’s weird seeing a Spirit with a sign that appears to be permanently attached like that even though I’m sure the sign isn’t permanent.