The history of Kroger in Rosenberg

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today, we’re reviewing the history of the Kroger Co’s stores in Rosenberg. These stores have a special place in my heart. I grew up in Fort Bend County, and Kroger was the dominant grocer in Richmond-Rosenberg for a long time. For years, their only real competition came from independents, Weingarten’s, Fiesta, and a few Lucky 7/Minimax locations, even managing to kick Randalls out of the area in less than 10 years. Many people I went to high school with had their first jobs at Kroger, and some are still there years later. Just for a little background, the towns of Richmond and Rosenberg are two separate cities. Richmond was founded in the early 1800s by members of the Old 300 initially as Fort Bend (an actual fort at the bend of the Brazos River). Rosenberg was founded nearly 80 years later as a staging point for railroad construction. Rosenberg was bound on the west by the railroads and Richmond to the East by the river, forcing the two towns to grow towards each other. By the 1940s, the two towns had become so intertwined that they decided to ‘Consolidate’ Richmond and Rosenberg Schools into Lamar Consolidated ISD; Mirabeau Lamar was the second president of Texas, had established public education during his tenure, and retired to Richmond where he is buried. With the commercial draw of the railroads, Rosenberg quickly began to outgrow Richmond, and as such, when bigger chains came to town, they would default to Rosenberg, where new neighborhoods were being built.

Photos via: The Herald Coaster

The first Kroger in the area opened in 1958 during the Henke & Pillot era. After Kroger purchased the local chain in 1955, their first order was to build new stores in smaller towns around Houston to expand their base of operations. H&P already had locations throughout the Golden Triangle thanks to their purchase of ABC stores, so this new push needed to find a promising market in what was a make-or-break moment for Kroger’s new division (look up “Krambo Foods” to figure out what would have happened if we failed to expand). The new store would be located in the Rose-Rich Shopping Center, a plaza built nearly adjacent to the city limit line. At the time of opening, the Henke & Pillot was the largest supermarket in all of Fort Bend County and would attract customers from out of town. With their success, Henke & Pillot (Kroger) also brought competition who wanted a piece of the action; Weingarten’s would become the biggest threat early on, building a significantly larger store near downtown Rosenberg in 1968. The same year, Kroger would sign a lease for a new store in a planned shopping center named Lamar Plaza. In addition to their store, they would also operate an adjacent SuperRx, massively outpacing the nearby Weingarten’s.

This Lamar Plaza store would take nearly five years to build, and while work proceeded on the supermarket, a movie theater, Dairy Queen, and Pizza Hut had all been signed on to the project, which was located in an area of new development for Rosenberg. Prior to the relocation of the nearby Fairgrounds, this area was still mostly rural, with the shopping center replacing cotton fields, which are the source of the many canals that dart through the area. With a blank slate and the desire to outdo Weingarten’s, Rosenberg would receive one of the first Kroger Super Store locations, featuring many international options and an overall expanded grocery selection. Combined with the SupeRx, the store clocked in over 45k Sqft, massive for its 1973 opening date. The store would once again become a dominant force in Fort Bend County grocery, and by 1980, the Kroger side would expand into SupeRx, keeping Kroger on the bleeding edge of grocery shopping, that is, until Randalls came to town. The company built a massive new store across from Kroger’s original space in the Rose-Rich Shopping Center, which, after Kroger left, had been a Gerlands, then Moore’s, then Price-Lo, leaving a few shorter stints out. For ten years, Randalls and Kroger would duke it out as the only two major chain grocery stores in town, until Randalls just left. The only answer I’ve been able to seek was underperformance, coupled with building a new store nearby in the growing suburbs of Sugar Land. Kroger would then take the old Randall’s space, fitting in quite nicely, like it was almost a match made in heaven to combine the two. Kroger would finally leave the space in 2009, moving to a new Marketplace location in nearby Brazos Town Center, which still operates today. After Kroger left the ex-Randalls vacant, they contracted to sell it to Bravo Ranch, who, in a complicated story, abandoned it mid-remodel while being forced to sell it to Fiesta, who nearly occupied the space. The Super Store Lamar Plaza location mostly sat vacant, with some non-retail uses, until Crazy Hot Deals opened in 2023, 50 years after Kroger opened the store.


  1. When Kroger bought the Randall’s, there were over 200 carts of out of date product that had to be pulled. The facility itself was in such bad shape that it took a bigger than expected investment to bring the store up.

  2. As I recall, the story going around with some folks in the Richmond-Rosenberg area when Randall’s left the Avenue H store was that Randall’s considered it unnecessary after opening the fancy New Territory store (either due to Rose-Rich’s shifting demographics or the belief that New Territory would draw regionally). I’m sure Kroger was thrilled to move into the former Randall’s space, as Lamar Plaza had been looking dated for years prior and the other major retailers at Herndon and Ave. H (Walmart, Wieners, Sutherland’s, Pizza Hut) had all left. We rarely went to the Lamar Plaza location growing up, but I have fond memories of playing the Neo-Geo at the former Randall’s one.