Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. Today we’re completing a trilogy by checking out the third and currently final Ollie’s location to open in the Houston area. All this “Ollie’s Fever” started nearly two years ago, when HHR broke the news that Ollie’s was coming to the former Steeplechase Target on Jones Road. When that Ollie’s finally opened in September of the same year, I visited and was quite underwhelmed. Having visited Ollie’s first in the Midwest and then a couple of locations in Texas, I felt the Jones Road Ollie’s was lacking in size and scope. The product selection was weak, and the store was undoubtedly cramped, lacking room for any really bulky items, even forgoing most displays of small appliances. When the second Ollie’s, in a former Babies R’ Us in Friendswood, opened, I held out a little bit before going. I had revisited the Jones Road location a few times and unfortunately found that stock was not moving, which created grim prospects for the new store. However, when I finally ventured out to the Baybrook area, I was surprised to find a store that matched my expectations for an Ollie’s. With about 1ok extra square feet, and high ceilings, the Baybrook Ollie’s not only met but exceeded expectations. Earning a return visit to actually buy some things from there. Finally, we have the Katy store.
The Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in Katy takes the vacant space at 1747 N Fry Rd, Katy, TX 77449, left by the original tenant, Stein Mart. Even though this location is 5k Sqft larger than the Jones Road Ollie’s, I was still worried about how it would turn out. A subsequent visit to the Jones Road store has confirmed that merchandise has started to move, and new items have come in. However, the location is still as cramped as always. Finally, visiting the Katy store helped me quash my final fears that Ollie’s may not work out here. Despite the odd cornered layout with entrance at a 45-degree angle Stein Mart used, Ollie’s has made it work. Ideas like reusing the display cases, and ripping out some of the stock room to expand floor space, have helped tremendously. The store is dense but not cramped. While I enjoy the benefits of the massive Baybrook location, I think Ollie’s in Katy is perfect for its location. Overall, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet seems to be doing well in Houston.