Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Hisotirc Retail. Today we’re looking at an independent conversion of a former major-owned grocery store. A concept that is not unfamiliar to any longtime HHR reader. Houston still has a decent number of independents in operation. Mostly split up between Food Town, Foodarama, and El Ahorro/La Michoacana/Sellers Bros, each chain taking a unique approach to decor. Foodarama has mastered a very standardized look of replacing department signage with custom-made pieces, the store will be painted, and new graphics applied to the walls. El Ahorro, La Michoacana, Sellers Bros (and a few other brands) all tend to rehab the interior of their stores completely. Installing new flooring, signage, etc., however, it’s largely more generic, with little difference between locations or chains beyond the logos. Food Town on the other hand, has become a master of adapting other’s decor. In stores like today’s former Albertsons, when the decor is left behind, as much as possible is reused, with pieces updated to reflect the new ownership. A custom chain-wide decor is utilized in locations where the decor is unsalvagable. The styling is nearly identical to Food Lion’s decor during their Texas tenure, except executed in Food Towns’ signature Maroon, Gray, and White. With over 30 locations and plans to continue growing, Food Town is closer in some measures to a major chain than some “major chains” still operating in Houston. Commentary on the store will follow the photos, keep your eyes peeled for some “Kroger Influence.”
This location at 7121 Broadway St, Pearland, TX 77581, originally opened as an Albertsons in 2000. When this store opened, the suburbs of Pearland were still developing, and Albertsons somewhat took a gamble on this area. While development was occurring, it was further away where a Kroger set up camp to the West and a Randalls to the East. It’s very likely that this store was never a winner for Albertsons. While it was nicely appointed and probably a good addition to the community, Albertsons wanted volume at this point in their Houston life. As with all other locations, Albertsons held onto this location until the bitter end, finally announcing in early 2002 their plans to close the stores with or without a buyer. Kroger would step up for many of the locations, giving us some wonderful Krogerstons conversions. However, they would only be focused on replacing older locations with proven high-volume stores. It seemed that newer locations, like Pearland, may be left out to dry until Food Town stepped up and purchased four Albertsons locations in a deal also involving Gerland’s. When Food Town took over in 2002, some changes included covering up service departments and converting things like the video counter to leaseable space. They also removed the Albertsons logo and added maroon accents where possible. Overall this grocery store seems to be a point of pride for the local community. I took two trips to get these photos, and both times the store was quite busy. If you’re an Albertsons fan, it’s far worth a look!