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 end up closing in 1982, likely due to increased competition from nearby Randall’s nee Handy Andy. This would leave Eckerd alone in their space, taking over as the dominant tenant in the shopping center, In 2001, the store would be rebuilt as a freestanding location with all new features, like a drive-thru pharmacy. The grand reopening occurred in January 2002, about a block up Westheimer, and on the opposite side of the street, but still bearing that familiar blue logo. The new store was built in Eckerd’s most up-to-date configuration, a relatively big store with wide selections. In 2004 JC Penney, owners of Eckerd agreed to sell over 1200 locations to CVS, including all stores in Texas.  While CVS had already built stores in Houston by this point, this prominent Westheimer frontage was an easy decision to keep. It was converted into a 24-Hour operation in 2004 by CVS.

Interestingly this is not the property’s first healthcare outpost. The land was originally home to Rosewood General Hospital, which opened in 1963. For many years the Hospital was the only option that far West, but in 2000 after years of declining income, HCA chose to close the hospital, selling the property for redevelopment. When Eckerd bought into the property, the redevelopment plans weren’t completely clear. The large site led to speculation that it could potentially end up as a large commercial plaza. It seems likely that when Eckerd purchased the property, they were sold on that concept. However, it never developed, and as such, this location has always been quite slow. While it still looks nice, the store’s poor reviews are likely what has caused this store to go under. If it had done better, chances are it would have received some sort of Health Hub or other leased space, which would have given it a higher chance of survival. About a year ago, CVS announced their plans to close 900 locations, it’s no surprise this store ended up on the list, but it is under sad circumstances. With the only real competition in the area coming from a Walgreens in a vintage 70s Sav-On. It seems like CVS could have turned this store around with some work but is choosing to cut their losses instead. Know of any other closing CVS locations? Leave a comment below!


  1. I’ve always liked that style of Eckerd store, and I never realized CVS installed their own neon sign in front of the entrance where Eckerd would have placed theirs. It also looks like the road sign has seen its better days with all of that damage and peeling paint.

    Back East, CVS still operates out of a number of former Eckerd stores in Florida but many in Georgia and the rest of the Southeast lost their final drug store tenant when Rite Aid sold all of those stores to Walgreens a few years ago. Many locations were within a mile of an existing Walgreens and were resultantly closed.

    1. For whatever reason, there are many CVS locations around here, both ones they built themselves and old Eckerd locations, which have some pretty sad looking exterior elements such as faded signs and torn elements as well. At this point in time, the CVS red paint is cracking at many of the former Eckerd locations and is left revealing Eckerd blue. At least from what I’ve seen, the interiors of these stores are in much better shape though so it’s not a case of complete neglect.

      To say that CVS does not have the reputation in Houston that Eckerd once had is an understatement. I think most Houstonians who remember Eckerd would gladly prefer them over CVS, but CVS and Walgreens is what we have here and many of our Walgreens locations are becoming downsized locations such as one near me that takes up 1/3rd of an old Eckerd/CVS! Link:

      Well, that was supposed to be an Eckerd, but it was being built around the time CVS bought Eckerd so the building was completed and then hardly used by either Eckerd or CVS as CVS had a couple of nearby locations they built themselves including this one with faded signs. The store looks closed, but it isn’t!:

      1. Wow, I’ve never seen such a small Walgreens! I wonder why they would settle for such a small place, and ironically move into a former Eckerd after it had been a fitness gym for a number of years.

        1. Small pharmacy-only Walgreens are starting to become the norm around here. Many regular Walgreens locations are being downsized with a large part of the stores being turned into Village Medical clinics. Village Medical is a chain of doctors offices co-owned by Walgreens themselves. The Village Medical clinics are completely separate from the Walgreens stores even if they are in the same building.

          On top of that, we have these downsized locations where there is no Village Medical. I reckon Walgreens found the old Eckerd/CVS building to be attractive because it had a drive-thru already built. In fact, in other parts of Texas, Walgreens has opened new pharmacy-only locations in old fast food restaurants. Jack in the Box and KFC come to mind. I can’t remember exactly where these are, but maybe Mike remembers.

            1. I don’t know what to think of those fast food pharmacies! I’ve certainly never seen anything like those before and they are a bizarre sight to see.

              1. It seems to be the future of Walgreens, as Anonymous in Houston mentioned, they elected to take over only a sliver of a former Eckerd here for a similar small format store. Anything with an existing drive-thru would make an easy conversion. Although in the case of the KFC, it seems the window had been removed by the previous owners, so they had to install a new one, maybe the lane was still wired up? I’m not sure.

              2. American store brands were all locally made. Although most brand names were localized, Auchan had an extensive selection of its own. Reminiscing they had a private label for electronics, but unfortunatley I can’t recall its name. They were very cheap quality products though. As for Rik and Rok they’re two Auchan created characters, which were featured on the packaging. I think in France they’re much bigger, and have comics or something along those lines. One of their American store brands did so well, that the manufacturer behind it survived, and opened stores of their own, school uniforms. They still sell the uniforms under the French Toast brand they used when working with Auchan. Oddly Auchan gained a reputation for being a major back to school stop but I’ll expand on that in the next post!

                Interestingly enough that finally prompted me to type Bernardo Trujillo’s name in Youtube, and recordings of at least a couple of talks exist!

    2. A “grand Eckerd” is what this would have been to me. The free-standing stores were huge compared to the in-line shopping center locations. Also yeah, when CVS took over those Eckerd stores they were trying to build goodwill here. Eckerd made their way into town by purchasing a local pharmacy around the 60s, and many Houstonians felt the chain had changed little under Eckerd. However CVS received a great deal of backlash, largely from shifting pharmacists around, so they really needed an in. It seems that the plan was to make these prominent stores as swanky as possible. Unfortunately though, not every location received this treatment, and CVS has had sort of second tier quality reputation here ever since.

      I am somewhat familiar with the Rite-Aid Walgreens sell out, which did produce a few Walgreens locations in former Eckerd stores. It also seems to have caused mass confusion for some in the retail community as folks born around this time, seem to believe the former Eckerds had always been Rite Aids, leading to some claiming that Rite Aid built Eckerd style locations, which as far as I can tell, isn’t true.

      1. I have also come across the people who thought a former Eckerd was built as a Rite Aid, but I also have yet to come across a store where that actually was the case. I suppose there could be a few locations which were already under construction and could have been completed by Rite Aid, but I certainly wouldn’t blame them for using the existing plans.

        1. I’m not sure in the case of Rite Aid, but there were certainly a few Eckerd locations in Houston that were under construction during the buyout and opened as CVS. One I recall visiting had already been painted and outfitted, with pretty much everything from counters to tiles. For the few months, it took CVS to remodel the store it sat as an unsigned Eckerd, with an undersized vinyl CVS banner where the Eckerd logo would have gone.

  2. The clientele of this location (present company excluded) made shopping there quite the endeavor. The closest former CVS location in that area is now a sneaker store. Another former Walgreens has been shuttered for several years. Thus, no real expectations for this soon-to-be-former location.