Howdy folks, and welcome to Houston Historic Retail. Today we’re taking a look at a Best Buy with an out-of-this-world past. No, it’s not in a former Incredible Universe, but rather a Golf Galaxy. Although it’s worth noting that this store is a subdivided chunk of a former Venture turned Kmart. There’s something else unusual about this store though. As it’s no normal Best Buy. Rather, it’s Houston’s only Best Buy Outlet store, a concept that has been bouncing around the area since at least 2016. One of the first locations was leased space in Gulfgate. The Outlet location would finally find a permanent home in 2019 opening across from Willowbrook Mall in this building. These Outlet stores feature overstocked, returned, and damaged items at a discount from regular locations. While the stores can feature lots of different items, the scope is relatively limited to appliances, TVs, and “HiFi equipment”. The product selection and recent expansion somewhat indicate that these stores were Best Buy’s attempt to fill the void left by Sears with the sell-off of their Outlet stores. With the complete demise of Sears and their Outlet division, Best Buy Outlet had gone from a pop-up concept to something a bit more permanent. While the store would get a permanent sign, and a small bit of interior decor, most everything else was left in place from Golf Galaxy. The Outlet concept has so far proved to be a success for Best Buy, which has been closing mainline locations in Houston. However, rumors are that an Outlet Expansion in on the horizon.
When visiting this Best Buy Outlet what struck the most is the purpose that this store serves. With the long and painful death of Sears, finally coming to a close you’re quite limited on where you can purchase appliances these days. Home Improvement Chains and Appliance Retailers tend to be some of the only options. Best Buy and other electronics retailers, did fill in a nice gap. However, with Best Buy still being the only chain still around, selections are drying up. The Best Buy Outlet sort of serves the purpose that Sears Outlet did, it’s not just scratch and dent returns (like at the end of Sears Outlet). It’s folks who ordered an 8-foot-tall Fridge because it sounded fine online (or in the Catalog for Sears), but when it arrived, they realized they can’t reach the top shelf, so they returned it. I ended up looking around for a few appliances myself and while I didn’t end up buying anything, there are deals to be had at the Best Buy Outlet store. However, don’t come in looking for any one specific item because chances are you will not find it. My major complaint would be that the store is cramped. They could very much do with more space, hmm I wonder if that has anything to do with the last picture in the gallery?
Although I shopped at this Venture and Kmart a number of times, and managed to shop at both the grand opening and grand re-opening of the Venture, and although I am a fairly regular shopper at the Office Depot next door, I have never shopped at the Best Buy Outlet store. I did not go to the Golf Galaxy either, but I had no reason to shop there. Thus, it’s interesting to see this outlet store. There are certainly some oddities here like there was at that Dick’s Warehouse Sale store in the old Baybrook area Babies R Us (soon to be Ollie’s). Of course, with Golf Galaxy being owned by Dick’s Sporting Goods, I suppose this is a little bit of the opposite.
I’m not in the market for a fridge, but if I was, I’d be disappointed to see so many stainless colored fridges at this outlet store. I certainly have a preference for white or black colored fridges! Maybe Best Buy Outlet has some, but I’m sure they aren’t numerous.