Month: September 2022

Rice looks good in Red, how Spec’s is coming along

Howdy, everyone, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today we have our second installment of Rice Epicurean’s Post Mortum inSpec’stion. After Rice Epicurean closed in July (you don’t think I’d have to mention that again, but the number of confused Rice Customers that stopped in the minutes it took to capture these photos speaks otherwise), the building and pretty much everything remaining inside. In our first check-in about two weeks ago, the building still mostly resembled Rice inside and out. However, as of this week, the interior is beginning to look pretty “Specsy”! As HHR contributor Anonymous in Houston …

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CVS to close this former Westheimer Eckerd, tomorrow

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today we’re taking a look at a closing CVS that started out as one of the final Houston Eckerd locations. Located at 9292 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77063, the current location dates all the way back to about 1975. The original Eckerd was co-located with a Safeway at 9523 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77063. Safeway’s first batches of stores included agreements to build locations with Eckerd locations next door. Most of these locations would be expanded at some point, usually taking over the Eckerd. However, in an unusual case, Safeway would …

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Retail News: Krispy Kreme Closes two Houston locations

This past week, Krispy Kreme suddenly and unexpectedly closed its two Houston-based locations, 5603 Hwy 6 N, Houston, TX 77084 & 8611 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77063. These closures come after years of spotty operation, with multiple changes between franchisees. Long-time Houstonians may remember that Krispy Kreme’s first go in the Houston market ended in 2006 after litigation with their franchisee. Krispy Kreme vowed to come back, and by 2013 were shooting for 10 Houston stores over the next 5 years. The first two stores would not end up opening until late 2015 and would end up being the only …

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Randall’s continues to thrive in this former Austin Safeway

The Randall's updated exterior is circa 2007

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. This week, we’re digging back into some unposted photos from summer vacation. Today we’re in Austin, checking out a former Safeway that ended up part of the reacquisition cycle via Safeway and is still going strong even under Albertson’s ownership. This store at 2025 W Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 78704, originally started out in the parking lot of today’s location as a simple Marina-style Safeway, opening in 1966. The store was updated similarly to the San Marcos Safeway, where the new store was constructed on an adjacent plot of land while the old …

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Random Retail: 9 Years Ago, Downtown Foley’s was demolished & Inside Battelstein’s!

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. We’ve got a light post today, as I’m working on a much bigger upcoming project that I hope you’ll all enjoy! As part of this post, I’ve had to do some research into downtown department stores. Let’s start off with Battelstein’s, if you’re like me, this is a store you’ve heard about but not one you ever visited. Battelstein’s started off, like most other department stores in Houston, as a dry goods concern sometime around the 1920s or 30s. Just like Foley’s, and Sakowitz’s, Battelstein’s too would make eventually morph into a modern …

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Retail News: GFS makes progress on former Belden’s

Gordon Food Supply continues to make inroads on its stores in the Houston area. While an expected grand opening date has not yet been set, it seems likely that these stores will open either before the end of the year or slightly after. Most locations are at the same level of progress, with new foundation level power and drainage lines being installed, prior to interior work. It seems, however, that this former Belden’s in Braeswood Square is lagging a bit behind the other stores in the Houston area, with the permits for this location being filed a few months after …

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A postmortem in-Spec’s-tion of Rice Epicurean

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR! Today we’re checking in on the former final Rice Epicurean. After closing late last July, Rice left nearly everything in the store without their name on it, for new tenant Spec’s. While I attempted to reach out to Spec’s about plans for their future store, I did not hear back. At the moment, nothing has been changed structure-wise, and as of this article, I couldn’t find any permits to suggest that any construction will occur. The biggest modifications so far seem to be the movement of fixtures and updating of shelving. The shelves …

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Retail News: Sears at Willowbrook Mall’s last gasp!

Sears Hometown Store at Willowbrook Mall is having its last gasp this upcoming week. While store employees could not provide a final date, they said this week would likely be it for them, as the store slowly runs out of stock. What little remained in the store largely consisted of fixtures and merchandise that had been purchased but yet to be picked up. Many of the items in the store had been shipped in from other locations, including stock labeled for Kmart. The gate to the mall sits shut now, no longer providing the best parking spot to entrance ratio. …

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The History of Twistee Treat’s Freeze and Thaw Cycle in Houston

The W. Tidwell location took over a former Sonic, I used to visit when I worked in the area

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Ice cream is an essential summer treat, and for such a warm state, we lack a major presence from most frozen dessert chains other than a few ice cream parlors. We do have Dairy Queen, but unlike many other states, which feature mostly ice cream, and little food, our model is flipped. Utilizing an expanded Brazier menu, which became so common, the Brazier moniker was dropped in Texas around the 80s. For years, Texas has been the “wild west” for anyone looking to expand the concept. For those not in the …

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