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