A Foodarama Going out of Business Sale: Part 1

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today, we’re starting Part 1 of a Two-Part goodbye for the Wilcrest and W Bellfort, Foodarama. In this series, we’re looking at two sets of photos a week apart. In this post, the photos were taken by me one week before this location’s closing (August 11th). The second post will include photos taken the day the store closed. Before we talk about the going out of business sale, let’s talk about the history of this store. This entire shopping center was built initially for Safeway. The land the store sits on was purchased in 1972, right around the time a Randall’s and a Weingarten’s opened just down Wilcrest, right across from each other (Randalls was in the spot Office Depot is in, and Weingarten’s where Marshalls is). Both of these existing grocery stores were quite ornate. Meant to draw in shoppers from the suburbs by the recently extended Highway 59, the stores accomplished their goal, and quite successfully. Safeway, on the other hand, opted to build further off the freeway, a more subdued local store. During the development of this store, Houston had an aversion to “neighborhood grocers”; chains and independents alike all seem to prefer locating on freeway feeders. This causes one to wonder why Safeway broke the mold here. Well, whatever their cause, it turned out a success as Safeway/Foodarama outlived its competing stores down the street, but a good 40 years, with both stores closing in 1983, long before Safeway exited Houston. One unusual feature of this property is Safeway’s election to build a full-size shopping center in their motif. While Safeway wasn’t a stranger to doing this in more rural areas, this store is likely an example of the largest Safeway shopping center in Houston.

We’ll cover part two of the history in part two of the post. For now, let’s switch gears to the sale. Honestly, there wasn’t much of one. Some items were discounted, but for the most part, the stock was just being allowed to run out. During my visit, one week before the announced closure, there was still far enough food left for a reasonable weekly shop. It really does speak to the stocking capabilities of Foodarama, that a going-out-of-business sale isn’t needed. That being said, it did seem to leave a bad taste in some customers’ mouths. However, the reality is that a company the size of Foodarama would likely lose more from a going-out-of-business sale than it’s worth. Repricing, retagging, and updating merchandise would be much more expensive than alternatives like shipping the merchandise to another branch or possibly being able to return some of it to suppliers. The lack of this sale is not a reason to raise alarm bells for the future of Foodarama. However, it does show that the company is a bit stressed. However, similar issues are being described by those connected to Fiesta Mart and Food Town. We will have to see exactly what the future holds for Foodarama and other Houston independents, but hopefully, everything will turn up bright.


  1. It is sad to see another Foodarama, especially another Safearama, go especially since this one looked to be in very good condition on the inside. Foodarama did a good job maintaining this location. It’ll be a pretty big loss for the community I’m sure.

  2. It’s always interesting to see what product is left when a store is closing. Similar to looking at what’s left after a hurricane. I remember walking a store after Ike and there were still cans of a new line of “gourmet” Campbell’s soup unsold. Sure enough, the whole line was dc’ed during the next update!

  3. Good Stuff Mike! Cannot wait for part 2. Also I emailed you another picture of a sign that was just put out front. Confirmed new location for a Star Stop