Here Everything Was Remarkable: Remembering The Jones & West Randall’s

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

I must say that it has been a while since I’ve had a guest post here at Houston Historic Retail which has not been about a Kroger store! That said, today’s post is related to March’s The Year of Kroger post about the Kroger Signature store at the corner Jones Rd. and West Rd. in the northwest Houston suburbs. As I mentioned in that post, Kroger built that Signature store to compete against the established Randall’s store, Randall’s Food & Drug #35, located at the same intersection at 9503 Jones Road, Houston, TX 77065. This Randall’s opened in 1985 and closed in 2010.

Recently, Houston Historic Retail superfan Patrick Murphy posted a comment linking to some photos online of the Jones & West Randall’s during the closing sale the store had in 2010. These photos were taken by Mike Richardson. HHR editor Mike reached out to Mike Richardson and asked if we could use his photos in a blog post. Mike Richardson, who is an HHR reader, agreed to allow us to use these photos. A big thanks goes to Mike Richardson for allowing us to use these great photos and we also want to thank Patrick Murphy for bringing these photos to our attention.

The Jones & West Randall’s was one of my local Randall’s stores back when it was open. In fact, it might be hard to believe now, but Randall’s once had heavy coverage along the Jones Road corridor as they also had a location, Randall’s #25, located around four miles north on Jones Road at 13350 Jones Rd, Houston, TX 77070. Randall’s #25 operated between 1983 to 2005 and was quite similar to the Jones & West Randall’s on the inside. In fact, some interior elements of Randall’s #25 remain publicly visible today as the building is now home to a Habitat of Humanity ReStore thrift store. These two Randall’s were about equidistant from me and both were frequent stops over the years. While I had a slight preference for the Jones & West Randall’s over Randall’s #25, I did like that Randall’s #25 had an Eckerd in the parking lot which made for convenient shopping at two of Houston’s most-loved retailers in the 1980s and 1990s.

As I frequently say in The Year of Kroger posts where today’s Kroger stores are often replacement stores for older Kroger stores, the same is true with the Jones & West Randall’s. The Jones & West Randall’s is a replacement store for the Jersey Village Randall’s, Randall’s #10 located at 17410 Northwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77041, which only briefly was a Randall’s between 1979 and 1986. Today, that location operates as a Spec’s liquor store. While Specall’s are not unheard of, it is still strange to think of a Spec’s in an old Randall’s given Bob Onstead’s policy for many years of not selling beer & wine! The Jones & West location gave Randall’s a larger store for one-stop shopping as compared to the old Jersey Village store, which was a big push Randall’s was moving towards in the 1980s, and it also put Randall’s closer to the successful Steeplechase neighborhood while still keeping the store close to Jersey Village.

The Jones & West Randall’s used a common design Randall’s used for their non-Flagship stores in the 1980s. Longtime HHR readers have seen elements of these stores in previous posts about the Missouri City and Inwood Forest Foodaramas that were formerly Randall’s stores, or Randallsaramas as we call them at HHR, and in the post about the Food Town which used to be the Boris Yeltsin Randall’s in Clear Lake.  The stores had a large, grand entryway with earthtone tiles, a power alley with elaborate floral, bakery, and deli departments, an enclosed produce department, a dairy department niche along the back corner, a large pharmacy and health & beauty area in the front corner, and finally a large and elaborate photo and video rental department in the front corner. These Randall’s stores also featured an in-store bank (Commonwealth Savings in the early days, then First Interstate Bank, and then Wells Fargo Bank). The quality and variety of these stores, along with meticulous maintenance and customer service, made Randall’s Houston’s ‘remarkable store’ in the 1980s and 1990s and helped Randall’s match Kroger’s market share in Houston by the late 1980s as we mentioned in February’s The Year of Kroger post.

Although the Jones & West Randall’s was very well-received in this area, the store did have some serious challenges in 1992 through 1995. One of these challenges was the opening of the aforementioned Kroger Signature store which brought Randall’s their most serious competitor. Also, Food Lion opened a store, now Food Town, across the street during this period on land once intended to be used by Safeway and Albertsons located one of their first Houston stores down Jones Road in between Randall’s #25 and Randall’s #35, but closer to the Jones & West Randall’s. In addition to the new competition, a tornado hit the Jones & West Randall’s on November 22, 1992 which caused significant roof damage to the store.

In order to keep up with the new Kroger Signature stores and to maintain Randall’s image as a leading supermarket, Randall’s updated the Jones & West store in the 1990s and that is the décor we see this store carrying in the photos. While some other Randall’s stores, including all the ones which are in business today, got Safeway Lifestyle updates in the 2000s after Safeway bought Randall’s in 1999, this store, like the Copperfield Randall’s, did not receive significant updates from Safeway before closing in the early 2010s. That said, perhaps aside from some of the very 1980s looking earthtone tiles at the front of the store, the store still had an upscale, classy look in 2010 when the store closed even if it probably needed a Lifestyle update to keep pace with the competition of the time.

Like with almost all of the neighboring Randall’s stores in Northwest Houston, however, Safeway decided not to keep these stores alive. The Champions Randall’s Flagship store is now the remaining Randall’s in this area, but that store is quite far off for many shoppers in this area. For most people in this area, Randall’s fell off the supermarket radar when the Jones & West Randall’s closed in 2010.

The Jones & West Randall’s building did not sit empty for long after Randall’s left. Even with the immense grocery competition at the Jones & West intersection, H-E-B decided to open a store in the old Randall’s in 2012. It was initially believed that H-E-B intended to put a Joe V’s Smart Shop discount format store at the Jones & West location, but when rumors of this swirled in the community, there were many complaints. Ultimately, H-E-B opened what is essentially a standard format store at Jones & West. H-E-B put a lot of effort into opening this new location. The left side of the shopping center, which once housed a Little Caesar’s (relocated to the other side of the shopping center) and an independent Firestone dealer, was demolished so that the supermarket building could be expanded to 60,000 sq. feet for H-E-B. The old Randall’s gas station, which was a 1990s addition to the store and one of the first modern supermarket gas stations in this area, was demolished immediately after Randall’s left and now serves as a parking lot for the H-E-B, but the old Ninfa’s Mexican Restaurant building was demolished in 2016 to make room for a new H-E-B gas station.

Even with all this additional space, the H-E-B does not have all the departments or variety that Randall’s once had. That speaks to the space inefficiency of H-E-B stores and the space efficiency of 1980s Randall’s stores. Furthermore, while the Randall’s was widely considered to be a beautiful store, the Jones & West H-E-B is, in my opinion at least, a rather ugly warehouse-style store. The concrete floors used by H-E-B are extremely patchy and cracked given the age of the building and the fact that the space was expanded into the shopping center. H-E-B really should have put floor covering in this location, but they didn’t. That, along with the austere department offerings and product selection, which heavily favors H-E-B’s store brands, means that the Jones & West H-E-B is something of a cross between an old H-E-B Pantry Foods store, or a Joe V’s store, and a larger H-E-B. On the plus side, given H-E-B’s use of price discrimination and the heavy competition at the Jones & West intersection which also features Kroger, Food Town, and Aldi, the Jones & West H-E-B does have better sale prices than the larger H-E-B stores in the area. While the H-E-B does get quite busy, in my experience, the store is not quite as busy and chaotic as the larger H-E-Bs in the area. The overall shopping experience is still quite poor, in my opinion, as compared to the ‘Remarkable’ shopping experience that Randall’s once offered in this spot.

There are not many photos or videos of Randall’s stores from the 1980s-1990s which really gives close details of how these stores looked back in Randall’s dominant days aside from this famous video from 1992 showing Randall’s New Generation stores. With that, we’re very thankful to have come across these photos! Furthermore, I know that many Houston retail enthusiasts live in, or once lived in, the FM 1960 W and Jones Road corridors. I am certainly part of that group and so it is simply remarkable to see photos of one of our former local supermarkets before it was turned into an austere discount supermarket. With that, if you have any memories of the Jones & West Randall’s, or any other similar Randall’s, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. We love to hear from our readers!


  1. Long time reader, first time commenter. Thanks for the posts (and all the others). This is of particular interest as I grew up in Harvest Bend (down Fallbrook) and then Winchester Trails (down West Rd) and frequented this Randall’s from 1985-1995, probably 2x /wk!. Remember hearing about the tornado – it also took off the roof of a house near us.

    Of course one of my favorite places inside was the video rental area. Inside the door and to the left IIRC. Amazing how one can picture walking into and around the store, and the photos help with that.

    Another main thing I remember, which I’m not sure I’ve seen in these posts before, were the shopping carts. Of course the more normal style: elongated, boxy basket that folded up when lined with other carts. Also had funny, offset legs which lent itself to maneuvering past the cashier desk, where the cashiers would unload and scan themselves! But not just this style of cart, but the, what I call, “2-story paper bag carts” used for transporting paper-bagged groceries to the car . Like a big dolly, you could load 4-5 sacks on each deck. Then, the nice old man (same one for most of that period, it seemed) would walk with you to car and load. I always loved being the one to give him the $ tip.

    Sigh… the simple days.

    1. Hi Eric, I’m certainly familiar with the Harvest Bend area. You’re right about the shopping carts. They had the offset leg, tilt-up baskets so the carts could connect with other carts to reduce storage space (stores back then didn’t have nearly the same amount of space dedicated for cart storage as they do now), and they also had the front gate so a shopper could park their cart at the register and have the clerk take the items right off the cart which saves the customer from having to unload the cart. There are a few Kroger stores which still have checkstands where the clerk has to pull the items off the cart (albeit with regular, modern carts). The Longwood subdivision Kroger on Louetta & Grant is one that comes to mind.

      You’re also right about the carts used by the bagging clerks. Randall’s used to default to those unless a customer requested that they would take out their own groceries.

      I’m not sure if you saw the new HHR post about the Galveston Randall’s, but that is another post celebrating all things 1980s Randall’s. I posted a link there to a Houston Chronicle photo slideshow with some old 1980s Randall’s photos including this one showing both of the types of carts you mentioned:

      Here is another photo, this one of the Saums Rd. Randall’s which was fairly similar to the Jones & West Randall’s:

  2. I’m sure you were very happy to come across these pictures! It’s interesting that the first thing I picked up on was the similarity of the flooring design to Albertsons’ Blue and Gray tetris look. I also see some similarities to older Ingles stores, and the font used for the secondary department signage reminds me of the Gill Sans Ultracondensed used with Publix’s Wavy Pastels interior.

    Probably the thing I’m most surprised about is how monochrome the décor in this store is. This makes the green band in Evergreen look like a bold pop of color! Despite this, I’m sure it looked much more vibrant when the shelves weren’t void of all products.

    1. Oh, yes, I was thrilled to see these photos of a store I used to shop at…especially since it was a store I liked! This particular decor package used by Randall’s is kind of a stripped down version of the decor Randall’s used at their Flagship stores in the late 1980s/early 1990s. I know that Mike, or someone else at HHR including possibly myself, will have something significant to post about this subject and it’ll be an extra special kind of remarkable! Although it is a bit stripped down, such as only having neon underlining instead of full neon bordering, it is a pretty classy design, but it does look a bit boring. The store did look nicer when it was in full action though, as you say, and the fanciness of the service departments and the enclosed produce department with the spotlights gave it is a unique, classy look.

      In the 1990s, the video department would have looked very nice for a supermarket video rental department and the HBA area would have been quite fancy as well. The center area of the store would have been a bit boring given the mostly white decor, but everything would have been well-sorted at least.

      As you can see from the photos of the Copperfield Randall’s that I linked to, Randall’s did have some more colorful decor packages, but that one in particular wouldn’t have aged as well as this decor package since it used colors like pink. It’s not quite Golden Girls Winn-Dixie Marketplace dated looking, but those stores would have needed Safeway Lifestyle updates to keep them looking fresh. Fortunately, the remaining Randall’s with a similar design to these stores, like the Kosher Randall’s on W. Bellfort and the Galveston Randall’s, do have updated Colorful Lifestyle v2 and Lifestyle v3 decor and they look pretty nice.

  3. I was at the Jones and west road for almost 8 years and 529 /6 for 3 years
    Between 1983-1996.ish or so..
    I was in bakery and a manager for awhile..
    I was there when the Tornado took the roof off #35 the Saturday before Thankgiving!! Crazy ..we were open to the public Monday am!!

    1. I remember hearing about the tornado the day it happened and then seeing the damage at the Randall’s in the newspaper the day after. It was certainly a close call, but as you say, I remember that the store re-opened quite quickly after that Saturday. The Food Lion across the street might have been open at the time, but otherwise there weren’t a lot of other supermarkets directly in that area at the time like there is now so it was important for that store to re-open as quickly as possible.

      The Jones & West and Jones & Grant Randall’s added a lot of class to the Jones Rd. area and it is unfortunate that neither are around anymore.

      1. Yes, it was a really nice store.with a French or bay window..At the time , I thought so spacious.That same Tornado hit, and returned but didn’t hit our store.It went to Webster and hit a Krogers.
        I was in the produce coolers with customers. At first, I heard the train sound, then Hit the ground Ron Hartman , our grocery mgr yelled.Myself , Olga Trevino, Marianne, all got under the production table..then moved to coolers.I had lemon meringue pies in a deck oven that got ruined and the sprinkler system went off..So crazy!!