Howdy folks, and welcome back to HHR! Today, we’re heading back to a familiar topic: drugstores in Houston. Recently we took a look at a couple of “Speckerd’s” locations, and a Walgreens now selling Skechers. However, today’s former pharmacy falls into a slightly different category. This is a Walgreens that didn’t just close without a replacement, but rather this store relocated nearby. While I don’t have anything to explicitly back this up, the proximity to White Oak Bayou is likely part of what inspired Walgreens to move further away from the waterway. Despite this obvious risk, another retailer has decided to call this building home a relatively unexpected new tenant, Dollar Tree. Located at 6926 Antoine Dr, Houston, TX 77091 this store first opened in 1994 as relocation of a long-existing Walgreens in the strip center behind its present location. Beyond the risk of flooding another major draw for Walgreens to leave this area was the lack of a companion store. Initially, Walgreens had been an early tenant of the White Oak Bayou Village, along with Bealls and Gerland’s, who would later be replaced by Palais Royal and Rice respectively. Eventually, the Rice location would be converted into a Price Buster store to better fit the needs of the community. However, along with all other non-Epicurean portions of the business, this location would find itself sold off by 1998. Palais Royal would make it a bit longer to 2001, but Walgreens was the largest store in the strip center for many years. Their new location is at the end of a strip center, anchored by a Food Town in a former Weingarten. Dollar Tree has done very little to modify this store, which while not out of the ordinary for them, has led to some issues. So let’s take a look!
As a Dollar Tree, this store is unappealing. I have no issues with Dollar Tree for the most part and consistently buy certain items from them. The store’s layout made sense as a Walgreens, but Dollar Tree’s additions don’t help the cause. Rather it creates a bit of a limiting effect, meaning that the aisles are 3/4 the length of a full-size Walgreens store. They’re long enough that they need a break in the middle, but putting the break in the aisle would lose so much shelf space, that it’s not done. This means you have aisles that are too long, poor positioning of the freezers, and a lack of utilization of a large amount of the store. You’re cramped in what seems like it would be a huge space. As far as I can tell it may be some requirement of tenants leasing former Walgreens to not modify their pharmacies and drive-thrus. While we don’t need an excess of Walgreens at the moment, in a few years the elderly population will start to rise again, and maybe there’s a company planning on short-term leasing these spaces in the meantime. Granted this is all just a guess, it does seem to be a pretty consistent theme, to not modify too much in these former Walgreens stores. This isn’t a place I’d recommend stopping by, unless you’re just driving by, then it provides a nice view.