Howdy folks, and for the last time in 2022, welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! It’s been a heck of a year, 144 blog posts, 6 new blog pages, and in my personal life, a Master’s Degree completed! That being said, before we review some of my favorite things from this past year, let me ask that if you feel like you got any value out of Houston Historic Retail, please consider making a donation. I do not use advertisements, or sponsorships, as I believe in controlling my website. I have received only a couple of donations in the past, and I appreciate anything you’re willing to give. Every little bit helps HHR continue to operate. Getting on from that PBS-style beg-a-thon, let’s move on to the best of the best from this year. Before we talk about my favorites, I wanted to give some credit to others who contributed to this blog. First Anonymous in Houston, who was the author of this year’s most viewed post, A Tour of Tomball Retail in 1998. I would also be amiss without mentioning BillyTheSkink, who kept us updated on Steak n Shake’s brief reentry into Houston. I’d also like to give a shoutout to Pseudo3d of carbon-izer.com, who has been helping out for years now! Moving onto my contributions, there’s a few blog posts I’d like to highlight,
My biggest post of the year the Auchan Trio,
A three part series looking into the history behind Auchan in America, from their days franchising a Cub Foods in Chicago, to opening their first American Hypermarket. Finishing out with their second and failed Houston store, and finally their exit from the market. As mentioned before, Auchan has a special place in my heart, it wasn’t just “a store”, it was “our store”. From explaining it to other kids my age as “that giant store, y’know the one with the Bird out front!, to watching customers cry during the going out of business sale, I was there for just about all of Auchan’s time in Houston.
The post I was most excited for, Houston’s oldest newest CVS in the Houston Post,
My next favorite blog post from this prior year was my exploration of the Houston Post’s new life as part of a CVS. The building at 2410 Polk dates all the way back to the 1940s, and was used by the Houston Post, and later the Chronicle. For years plans for redvelopment were thrown around, for many years focusing on tearing down a portion of the building to build a Sprout’s. The CVS development came as somewhat of a surprise, with a big shout out to hindesky whose constant updates were the first to confirm that this store was happening.
My most underloved addition, The Deauville Fashion Malls,
An airsoft arena has reused one of the mall corridors as storefronts. Count the movie references!
While not exactly a blog post but rather a permanent page, this was a big one to complete this earlier this year. These four malls are examples of one of Houston’s retail failures. The Fashion Malls were born out of the failure and subsequent legal consequences of attempting to build a competing mall to nearby Greenspoint. The Fashion Malls didn’t last long but had an interesting life afterward, hosting some of Houston’s first Garden Ridge and Sam’s Club locations. Along with a constructed but unoccupied mall that was nearly sold to the Atari Corp. for its likely use in a fraudulent chip manufacturing scheme. Despite their detailed history, my page was the mall’s first substantial online coverage. For those interested in a few more photos, check out my detailed look into the Spring Deauville Mall.
Friend of the blog, Anonymous in Houston, offers some thoughts on Houston retail in 2022:
Compared to recent years at least, 2022 seemed to offer more good news than bad news in terms of Houston retail news. Many new retailers entered Houston. While the majority of them, such as PopShelf, are not going to generate much interest, at least there is a generally positive sentiment. Perhaps the most interesting new store announcement was from Gordon Food Service Stores. We still await the opening of Houston’s GFS Stores, but that should happen very early in 2023. On the bad news front, we did lose a few stores that were known to be favorites of HHR’s frequent readers, the Vanderbilt Square Barnes & Noble, the North Oaks Mall Half Price Books, and the Sugar Land Randall’s. Perhaps the wildest retail story in Houston in 2022 was the rise and fall of Sears Hometown Stores. Although the Sears Hometown Stores only had a short stay in Houston, I’m sure the Sears Hometown story won’t be quickly forgotten!
There were several HHR posts that I especially enjoyed in 2022. These include the coverage of two Randall’s stores, Memorial & Dairy Ashford and Champions, that started out as Handy Andy stores on the 50th anniversary of Handy Andy’s entry into Houston, coverage of the Boris Yeltsin Randall’s Town in Clear Lake, the post about the North Beltway 8 Grocery Palace Albertsons Town, Mike’s detailed pages about the history of Randall’s before and after 1966, and the discovery of 40+ year old Grand Union Weingarten’s décor, not to mention the Marina-like exterior, still being used at the locally popular Texas City Food King supermarket.
Well, folks, that’s pretty much it! Thank you for a great year and all your support. Please continue to like, share, comment, and interact with my content. Not only does it keep me going, but it also keeps the social media algorithms happy! Have a safe and happy new year, and comment about what you’d like to see coming up this year.