The Texas City Kroger’s Golden Anniversary

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest submission from HHR’s good friend Anonymous in Houston with the photos taken by Mike

This month’s installment of The Year of Kroger will be an anniversary celebration. 2023 is the 140th anniversary of the formation of Kroger, but that isn’t the Kroger anniversary we will be celebrating in this post. Instead, we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Texas City Kroger located at 3541 Palmer Hwy, Texas City, TX 77590.

Those who have been following HHR recently will know that Texas City retail, and Galveston County retail as a whole, has been no stranger to the blog in recent months. For those unfamiliar with Texas City, it is an industrial suburb in Galveston County in southeastern part of the Houston metropolitan area. Mike has recently chronicled the history of the Food King, now Foodarama as of December 2022, supermarket in Texas City which started life as a Marina-like Weingarten’s here, here, and here. The Texas City Foodarama is one of the most stunning supermarkets in all of the Houston area, at least from a historic perspective, and Mike’s posts are certainly worth a look. We’ve recently taken a look at modern developments at the Mall of the Mainland, the current state of Ziegler’s Foods in Dickinson, recent renovations at the South Shore Harbour Randall’s, and Santa Fe’s surviving HEB Pantry Foods.

As was mentioned in the first installment of The Year of Kroger posts here at HHR, the Veterans Memorial Kroger in Houston, most of the current Krogers in Houston are replacement stores for older Kroger locations given Kroger’s long history in Houston under their name and also via Henke & Pillot. The subject of today’s post is another example of a replacement store. The current Texas City Kroger replaced a Kroger and Kroger-owned SupeRx drug store located at the now-demolished Harbor Village Shopping Center at 915 10th St. N. (the SupeRx was at 1009 10th St. N.) which dates back to the days when the Henke & Pillot name was still in use. This location would have competed with the nearby Weingarten’s, now Foodarama, and the SupeRx at the original location is just barely visible in this early 1970s photo available at the City of Texas City website.

Kroger and SupeRx made the move to Kroger’s current location on Palmer Highway, Kroger HP-108, in 1973 when Woolco also opened a new location at the same shopping center. While the Kroger has been a constant, the Woolco anchor has changed hands many times over the years. In fact, that Woolco building has one of the most colorful histories in US discount store history. After closing when the Woolco chain folded in 1983, the location became a Wal-Mart until Wal-Mart moved to a new location next to the Mall of the Mainland. Wal-Mart turned the old Woolco location into a Bud’s Discount City. That didn’t last long as the store moved to Dickinson’s ex-Wal-Mart, later Sussan Fine Furniture, after Dickinson’s mayor pleaded for Wal-Mart to fill that space. The Woolco was then turned into a Venture discount store until Kmart took over that spot when Kmart took over several Houston Venture locations in 1997. Kmart had an older location right across Palmer Highway where HEB is now. Kmart lasted at the Woolco building until 2003 when Kmart left the Houston area.

After the infamous explosion in 2005 of the Amoco-BP Texas City refinery, recommendations were made that BP move their non-essential office workers away from the refinery and so they turned the old Woolco building into a BP office complex. When BP sold their Texas City refinery to Marathon, Marathon took over the Woolco office complex until Marathon closed it in the mid-2010s. Due in part to a retail revitalization in that part of Texas City after HEB built their new store on the original Kmart property, which led to an Aldi being built next to the HEB, retail developers subdivided the old Woolco/Wal-Mart/Bud’s/Venture/Kmart building into several large and small retail spaces where Conn’s HomePlus, Harbor Freight Tools, and Planet Fitness now operate as anchors.

One neighbor Kroger no longer has is SupeRx. Kroger discontinued SupeRx stores in the Houston area in 1981 when the majority of Houston’s SupeRx stores were sold to Walgreens. Eventually, like with the Veterans Memorial Kroger, Kroger expanded into the SupeRx space to create a large 48,000 sq. ft. store. Unlike at Veterans Memorial, the Texas City SupeRx did not spend a period of time as a Walgreens. The renovations and expansions didn’t stop there though.  In 1994, when Kroger was just starting to roll out the Kroger Signature format by opening newly built 60,000 sq. ft. stores such as the Cypress Station and Jones & West Kroger Signature stores mentioned in previous The Year of Kroger posts, Kroger decided to make the Texas City Kroger one of the first Kroger stores converted into the Signature format.  In fact, it is quite well possible that this was the first conversion store.

Kroger did not cheapen out on the conversion either like they did with later Signature store conversions, such as the Copperfield Kroger at Highway 6 & West Rd., where Kroger slapped the Signature name on an existing older, smaller Greenhouse store without expanding it.  In order to expand the store to 67,000 sq. ft., Kroger extended the back of the SupeRx space back to where the back wall is for the original Kroger space.  Kroger also took over some space from the shopping center on the other side of the store and expanded the store into that space.  This gave the Texas City Kroger all the features of the newly built Kroger Signature stores, as discussed in the earlier Kroger Signature The Year of Kroger entries mentioned earlier, such as a department store-like cosmetics counter, in-store banking, an expanded floral department, and a food court with a salad bar.  Like with other Kroger Signature stores, some of these features, such as the food court, were short-lived and removed.

Nearly a decade later in 2003, Kroger gave the Texas City store another major renovation. This coincided with the nearby Dickinson Kroger also getting a major renovation into a Signature store when Kroger joined their smaller space there with a neighboring Walgreens store that had moved. As far as the integration of the SupeRx and shopping center spaces at the Texas City store goes, it is a cleaner integration than what is seen at the Veterans Memorial Kroger HHR profiled in January. The Texas City location does not have a significant dividing wall running through the center part of the store.

The current Texas City Kroger has seen many exterior and interior designs over the years. The store started out as a Superstore when it opened.  I would guess the store was remodeled to have the Greenhouse exterior design and Bauhaus interior décor package around the 1980s. The Texas City Kroger then would have received Kroger’s Neon décor package, as described by Retail Retell of the Mid-South Retail Blog, in 1994 when the store was upgraded to be a Signature store.  The store the was remodeled again to get Kroger’s Millennium décor package with the renovation of 2003. As far as the exterior goes, the various expansions over the years naturally led to various remodels.  The current fake wood exterior touches are relatively new as this is how the store looked on the outside until just recently.

Although the store is still carrying Kroger’s common Bountiful décor package (sometimes referred to as the 2012 décor package) these days, the store recently received flooring updates. Unlike what happens with most Kroger flooring updates, this one is, in my opinion at least, actually an improvement! Instead of pulling up floor cover and leaving exposed concrete behind, often with ugly tile scar, blotches, and cracks, Kroger decided to install a fake wood vinyl flooring throughout the whole store. This is a major improvement over what Kroger usually does. The only other Houston area Kroger I’ve seen which has received a new fake wood floor is the somewhat similar looking Kroger at Telephone Road. I can only assume that the age of these two locations led Kroger to believe that the concrete foundation at these locations would not be visibly appealing at all and, thus, should not be exposed to public view. We can only hope that other Kroger locations make the same decision.

While this Kroger fought off short-lived competition from the likes of Randall’s and Albertsons, both of whom had locations directly across Palmer Highway in the 1990s located where Aldi is now, the HEB and Aldi across Palmer Highway give this Kroger a strong fight in modern times. Kroger no longer uses the Signature designation at any of their stores, but this store is very much still a Signature-type store and that does give it an advantage against more dowdy, discount-type operations from HEB and Aldi. Although the Texas City Kroger is fifty years old now, it has all the benefits and the same general look of a 1990s-early 2000s built Kroger Signature store. Longevity certainly benefits the Kroger as well as generations of Texas City shoppers have made this Kroger location their supermarket. In fact, to the best of HHR’s knowledge, this Kroger is the second oldest active Kroger location operating out of the same building in the Houston area. The oldest location will be the subject of a future The Year of Kroger post. Anyway, with some of the recent refreshes, it looks like this Kroger is ready to serve Texas City shoppers for at least another few decades.

Have you gone Krogering at the Texas City Kroger and have thoughts to share with us? Do you have any other thoughts about Kroger or Texas City retail? If so, share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. We love to hear from our readers!


  1. Late to the party yet again, but another great Year of Kroger post! Thanks for the shout-out and links. Turning the old cafe seating area into a corridor to the restrooms lined with single serve drinks and chips is actually a very smart reuse of the space. The oodles of toilet paper make a little less sense over there, but maybe that is just overflow stock for the restrooms, lol!

    It’s also interesting and a little bit strange to see the thank you sign on the front wall of produce like that. Then again, there’s not very much space along the front end in this store design.

    At the same time this store is celebrating 50 years in the same building, the Kroger Delta Division is celebrating 50 years of existence! That’s not to say Kroger hasn’t been around in our region before then, of course, and in fact the store in Jackson is celebrating 50 years this year as well (I believe). But the way the Delta Division is celebrating is a little less than forthcoming, as they are making it seem like it’s Kroger as a whole that’s turning 50! For instance, signs around the store as well as the weekly circulars are simply showing the Kroger logo and a 50 years message. Nowhere is the Delta Division mentioned. Only on in-store PA announcements is it explained that Kroger is celebrating X number of years in business, and the Delta Division has been around for 50 of those.

    1. No problem, and thanks again for the handy Kroger decor guides! I know the Bountiful decor guide is getting a lot of use here in the first half of The Year of Kroger, but some of the other decor guides will be getting more use as we get into the summer months.

      I find it quite strange that the Kroger Delta Division is celebrating their anniversary at all! It is a bit of a strange thing to celebrate. I’m not even sure if most Houstonians even know there is a Houston Kroger division. The Houston division has changed names and areas of focus over the years so I’m not even entirely sure what they consider to be their birth date. I would date it going back to the start of Henke & Pillot, but that was before Kroger was even in Houston! So, yeah, that wouldn’t make much sense to publicly celebrate that!

      Given that Kroger has been around for 140 years, making it seem that Kroger is only 50 years old is really understating their long history! The Delta Division should be more clear about what is being celebrated with the 50 year claim. That is neat that there is a Kroger in Jackson that is the same age as the Texas City Kroger. I wonder how similar they are, but given some of the rather odd aspects of the Texas City Kroger, I would be surprised if they had a lot of in common!

  2. Wow, I’m surprised at how well Kroger seems to have cared for this store as I certainly wouldn’t have guessed it was 50-years old! Like you mentioned, it looks like something from the 1990’s based on the wall shapes and ceiling tiles used. I’d also imagine that the floors in this store look pretty bad after all of the expansions it has undergone, but that hasn’t ever stopped the Atlanta Division! That particular store also seems to have a severe staffing problem, as shown by this Google Maps photo, because the time or two I’ve stopped in there, the line for the self-checkout registers was about as long. That seems to be a common issue with Atlanta area Krogers which is one of several reasons I prefer to shop at Publix if I’m in the area.

    I’m pretty sure the top part of that large Sprite display is just several empty cardboard boxes intended to stack like that . . .

    I can’t recall seeing a split aisle H&BA section in any other Kroger — that is interesting. The 2D aisle signs and “trail and travel” were also fun Easter eggs.

    1. Oh, I assure you there are some Krogers in Houston with floors that look as bad as that Kroger Citi Center location in Atlanta! In fact, we’ll be looking at one in next month’s The Year of Kroger post! I feel like I should probably apologize in advance for presenting such an ugly looking floor that we’ll see next month, but it is an interesting store with an even more interesting history so it is worth documenting here at HHR.

      Those are some crazy long lines at that Atlanta Kroger! Is that normal or is that some kind of emergency weather event? Here in Houston, it’s not uncommon for there to be long lines at all supermarkets when there is a hurricane, winter storm, or something of that sort coming or if it has just passed. Under normal circumstances, that line is very long even with Kroger’s usual under-staffing around here!

      The shame about that Atlanta Kroger is that it actually looks like aside from the long lines and the terrible floors. It’s a shame how Kroger can ruin an otherwise fine looking store. Fortunately, with the Texas City Kroger at least, Kroger didn’t make that mistake and put in a nice looking floor.

      Bummer about that Sprite display. I thought they might have been real cases of Sprite! I know that at least in the past, they would use real cases for some displays, but maybe not ones that big.

      1. No, those long lines for Kroger self-checkout are a routine thing I’ve seen at multiple Atlanta-division stores. However, the times I’ve been I typically only see people to roughly the “breakfast bars” or “energy bars” signs. It seems like a store will only be staffed with one or two regular checkouts and 4-6 self-checkouts during rush hour; meanwhile, a nearby Publix may have 5-8 manned checkout lanes with lines of only 3 or so people at a time, in addition to 4-6 self-checkouts.

        1. Interesting. The staffing situation at Atlanta Krogers sounds very similar to the staffing situation at Houston Krogers. Outside of Marketplace stores, the best you can hope for is that two manned register lanes will be open at a Kroger store here. Often it is just one. In the evenings, they probably won’t have any manned registers open. Even with that, the lines aren’t remotely as long as what you’re describing in Atlanta. At least in my area, Krogers are as common as Publixes in Florida and so maybe the shopping crowd is spread across many different stores.

          Even then, I think Kroger’s lines have become unacceptably long. Also, Kroger does not impose a limit on the items people can pay for at a self-register like HEB does and so I know the self-checkouts can become an unmanageable mess at Kroger stores. Then again, HEB’s limit at the self-checkouts has caused problems. About a month ago here in the Houston area, a clerk kicking a customer off an HEB self-checkout for having too many items was assaulted by the customer!

  3. That was never a greenhouse Kroger. The shopping center originally had a maroon aluminum facade with Kroger spelled out in big block letters across the front. It had the cube Kroger sign on a pole out front as well. I remember when that SupeRx was gutted to make room for the new deli, bakery, and cosmetic counters. That was also where the pharmacy was moved to. The store had a vestibule that you had to walk through to get in and out of the store.
    When Cloth World was acquired by Joann, the store moved to Mall of the Mainland. In 1993, Kroger knocked down that wall and expanded the store. That vestibule became part of the new lobby and the new Blockbuster counter when Kroger got out of the movie rental business. That facade and courtesy desk were built in 1994.
    When Blockbuster went out of business, that was the cigarette counter and later the Galveston County Federal Credit Union. It’s now a walk-up pharmacy. During the 1994 remodel, the bakery counter, bread section, produce, and floral shop were moved into Cloth World.
    That center portion of the store was part of the original footprint before the SupeRx expansion. It’s height may have to do with when that was all refrigeration units. My memory is fuzzy on how the store was originally laid out.

    1. I’m confused, was this particular Cloth World store ever actually converted to the Joann name, or did it close without making the name change?

      1. Joann opened at Mall of the Mainland. I never made the connection between them and Cloth World until later. This Cloth World was too small to fit Joann’s footprint.

    2. Thanks for the information, Jose. I knew that this store started out with a Superstore design (the type you mention with the cube sign up front), but I wasn’t sure if this store was converted to the Greenhouse format later on the way some other Superstores were. I was hoping that someone reading this post would know for sure. I guess we know the answer now, thanks for that. I also wasn’t sure which retailer exactly Kroger moved into on that side of the shopping center, but now we know it was Cloth World. I do remember the Cloth World chain, but I never shopped at the Texas City locations.

        1. I don’t know if I shopped in any of them, but I do remember a location at Easton Commons over by the Highway 6 & West Rd. Kroger that was mentioned in the post. There was also one in Champions on FM 1960 W by the Randall’s Flagship.

  4. “this Kroger is the second oldest active Kroger location operating out of the same building in the Houston area. The oldest location will be the subject of a future The Year of Kroger post. ”

    Is 1700 N. Alexander in Baytown the oldest Kroger in the same building?
    It opened October 19, 1971.

    1. Interesting, that appears to be an old Kroger FAMILY CENTER store… almost identical to the one that was in Lake Charles (Louisiana) until it closed about three years ago, and almost identical to the old Kroger Family Center in Conroe (now a Hobby Lobby store, but still has its original Kroger exterior!)

    2. Gnu & Trent, yes, 1700 N. Alexander in Baytown is the oldest Houston-area Kroger in the same building and it will be the subject of an upcoming The Year of Kroger post later this spring/summer. I’m excited to bring that post to the blog as, yes, it is a former Kroger Family Center store. I’ll have quite a bit about Kroger Family Centers in that post so stay tuned for that.

  5. Pretty new to the blog so perhaps you’ve covered it already but a Kroger thing I’ve always wondered about is the “twin Krogers” that were in Clear Lake City when I moved here in the mid 80s. There was one (poorly frequented one) at Space Center and Bay Area boulevards, and a more popular one less than a mile away at Space Center and El Dorado boulevards. The Bay Area one eventually closed and part of the space is now a Goodwill.

    It was a mystery to me how two Krogers ended up so close together.

    1. Good question! The El Dorado Kroger was the original location opening in the early 80s. The Bay Area location was originally a Weingarten’s and probably a Safeway by the time you got here. Safeway became AppleTree in 1988, and this location did well. AppleTree finally went under in 1994, and Kroger picked up 11 of their best locations. While the twin locations have now all closed, I believe Bay Area was the longest-lasting. It’s possible that Weingarten’s original contract stipulated Kroger could not close for a certain number of years. Or it could just speak to how well Weingarten’s did when picking out their original locations.

      This topic was briefly addressed on the AppleTree Page, but this location was not directly addressed.

      1. Mike’s reply has a pretty good history of that Bay Area Blvd. & Space Center ‘Weinwayger’. I suppose that at one time, there were three Krogers very close together as the El Camino Real Kroger near Bay Area Blvd. from the early 2000s is not far from the other two Krogers either. I suppose Kroger probably saw some value in preventing another grocer from getting into that old Weingarten’s/Safeway spot so that Kroger could consolidate their efforts on competing with the Randall’s stores in the area including the Boris Yeltsin Randall’s on Highway 3 and El Dorado. Also, there was/is probably a lot of traffic that only went on El Dorado and a lot of traffic which only went on Bay Area Blvd. so I suppose the dual store setup might have been viable for at least a while. It should be noted that the El Dorado & Space Center Kroger is another SupeRx conversion store like the Texas City Kroger.

        1. When I moved here in the mid 80s there was a Safeway (I think) in the El Camino Real location. That strip-mall declined and eventually was demolished. The existing Kroger there is a new build that is at 90 degrees to where the Safeway was. My son had had his first after-school job there.

          Thanks to both for the detailed answers.

          1. Are you referring to the Kroger in the Clear Lake area, near the Bay Area Boulevard-El Camino Real intersection?