Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today we’re at 12403 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77077 taking a look at a doughnut shop that has been host to quite a few tenants in its time. Even now, as a Shipley Do-Nuts location, this store still stands out from others in the chain. This building was originally built by Krispy Kreme Doughnuts as their first Houston location. Work started in 1998 on this combo store/commissary, which would ship doughnuts and other goodies to grocery stores, and gas stations across Houston. This first Krispy Kreme location would also be able to operate 24/7 thanks to a drive-thru window, which was itself a decent novelty for most doughnut chains at the time. Times were good for Krispy Kreme at this location, however, after a lawsuit with their franchisee, the local chain would end its license with the national chain in 2006. They would attempt and fail to rebrand as Jumble’s Dough Factory, which could be considered the second tenant for this building. While Jumble’s was not hugely different from Krispy Kreme, the trademarked building elements would have to be swapped for new signage and awnings. Jubmle’s would only last about two months before closing up shop for good. The building would sit vacant for about a year, being remodeled in 2007 to become a Washington Mutual Branch! During the renovation, the interior was stripped and rebuilt, and a few changes were made to the outside. The awnings above the windows were removed, and the drive-thru was replaced with a matching window. Although the most dramatic change was the addition of a teller window, canopy, and pneumatic tube system at the rear of the building. The rear teller window was installed approximately where the delivery door sat, with the canopy being built off of the rear of the building. However, Washington Mutual would shutter operations in September 2008, as the company collapsed. I’m not positive, but it seems that this location was intended to replace a branch of the bank that had previously been located in the recently (at the time) closed Kroger at 12584 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77077. The empty doughnut shop would again sit vacant, this time until early 2010, when a local Arby’s franchisee would remodel the building, opening later that year.
The Arby’s remodel was by far the most dramatic. While the Wamu conversion, and later closure, had left the building with some obstacles for redevelopment. The interior had to again be reworked, this time returning the kitchen elements and building out a larger dining room than Krispy Kreme had. Another issue was the teller’s window and drive-thru canopy. While the canopy could be demolished, as it was not structurally connected to the building, the teller’s window was a different story. It would end up being left in place, with decals applied to help hide the window. A drive-thru would also be added back into the mix, with Arby’s opting for a new space, as the old window was quite far into the dining room. Other updates included the addition of the ‘pointed tower’ design feature along with new windows to compliment it. The Arby’s would last longer than Wamu, but not by much, closing in early 2015. The building would again sit vacant for over a year. However, in early 2017 work once again started, with the interior being updated, the pointed tower covered, and new signage going up. It was Shipley’s, and not just any Shipley’s, this was a “MyShipleyDonut” location. The company was founded around 2010 by descendants of the Shipley Family, with the establishment of a prominent location just a bit further up on Westheimer. This store, opening just a few years after Krispy Kreme/Jumbles closed, helped fill the doughnut hole in the area and quickly became known for its 24 Hour Drive-Thru. The company also added new items to their menu, like Bengiets and specialty coffee drinks. MyShipleyDonuts also added multiple features like online ordering and an active social media presence prior to the 2021 buyout of the Shipley Company from the family. In the face of change, the store, and its sister location in the Downtown Tunnels, continue to stand out. The goal of the stores seems to be to help restore the somewhat shaky image that some Shipley’s locations had taken on. I would not be surprised to find that when the first store was being developed in 2009-2010, they may have been eyeing the former Krispy Kreme. If you get a late-night doughnut craving, be sure to check out this Shipley’s. Try one of their specialty donuts, they’re really good!