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!