Update 7/17/22: Over 2 weeks later, I realized that a draft version of this was published, well the full thing is here now!
Anyone whose driven near West Oaks Mall recently has probably seen the work being done to a former Walgreens building at the corner of Westheimer and Highway 6. If you’ve been following this blog for a while you may have seen the building before. We checked it out in 2019 as a Spirit Halloween, and more recently when the pumps were installed last year. If you don’t know Now & Forever they about 10 stores throughout the Houston area, most with little signage. One prominent location includes their flagship on Highway 6 and Briar Forest. The Now & Forever saga has something I’ve been slowly watching unfold over the past couple of years. My first experience with the company dates back to 2018 when they rebranded an Alief area gas station as “Fresh Hut“. Working in the area at the time, I was happy to see what had been a very dumpy Gulf and Mobil station over the years, turned around and updated. Not only was the store cleaned up inside and out, but it was also given a Krispy Krunchy Chicken, which I would occasionally stop at for dinner. Sometime in 2020 after I was no longer regularly going through the area the store was rebranded into the first iteration of Now & Forever dropping the old raccoon mascot for a Roadrunner they wouldn’t end up keeping. At the time, at least one other Fresh Hut gas station underwent the same transition. In the meantime, Now & Forever has also continued to expand by acquiring new stations. I stopped into the new Now & Forever expecting to see at least some semblance of Fresh Hut, but found a completely different store. The Krispy Krunchy Chicken counter sat closed without explanation, and rare items like Oklahoma Ozarka (you CAN buy Ozarka without buying from Nestle!), Rap Snacks, and other oddities included at the Fresh Hut had all been discontinued. I gave Now & Forever one final try after this only to find that the Chicken outlet had been closed for good.
So you might be wondering who exactly is behind this Now & Forever stuff anyway? Well, the brand is owned by a company called Khawar & Sons. The majority of the Now & Forever locations are company-owned, however, it seems that a handful are currently franchised, with that number possibly growing in the future. However, the company doesn’t just own this chain. They also own the similarly named Texas Forever, which has a prominent Truck Stop on the East Freeway, along with a few unbranded truck stops in the same area. The company and its owners, which mainly seems to be one family, are also invested in a few other industries. It however seems that Now & Forever is their most prominent, with their Social Media becoming noticeably clear and coherent more recently. The company is undertaking many projects at this point, which they proudly list on their own website. Interestingly it seems that they’re now taking on the Southwest Freeway corridor, and possibly the former Long John Silvers. Hopefully Now & Forever works out. However, watching how long this Walgreens location has taken to get up off the ground, it does make one wonder how stable the footing of this company is.