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.