Finally visiting the Pasadena Food Lion after all these years via Sellers Bros

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. To close out the end of the month, I wanted to feature a store tour! If you just joined us, store tours are some of my favorite things to do, but I’ve had to slow down because I will run out of stores if I keep doing one per week! This time, we’re checking out a former Food Lion now inhabited by Sellers Bros #22 in Pasadena. This store has intrigued me for years; Food Lion’s presence in Houston is one of the earliest things I started working on for HHR. I initially wanted only to approach topics others hadn’t covered, although I’ve since broadened my scope as long as I feel I’m doing a more thorough job covering a topic. The retail communities I was part of in the early days were largely unaware of Food Lion in Texas. They knew “some stores had quickly opened and closed in Dallas.” My basic information, that they had made it to Houston, which lasted into the late 90s, was a topic of interest. I only knew this by looking up some basic text news sources from the late 90s via Google that mentioned the Texas stores in passing. In fact, the first time I posted photos of a Food Lion online, I misidentified the store as a former Gerland’s. While not untrue, it was quite obviously a store they had picked up from Food Lion, which had since become a Food Town, but I didn’t remember that far back. Food Lion came to Texas in 1992, hitting Dallas and Houston simultaneously to refresh everyone’s memory. The stores were small, cheap, and efficient to run as small neighborhood grocers. At the time, Houston’s market was quickly shifting to larger and larger stores, along with Dallas. Food Lion suffered from this, as did their reputation as an out-of-state company versus the in-state HEB Pantry Foods. The final nail in the coffin was an inability to make an impact here. Only about 15% of their locations in Texas were in Houston, and in the wake of dealing with competitive markets, the company decided to pull out of Texas in 1997.

Food Lion’s time in Houston was marred by accusations of labor violations and food mishandling, and it was owned by not just an out-of-state company but a foreign parent company to boot. The closing of Food Lion actually came in two waves in Texas, 1994 and 1997. This was one of the stores that made it to 1997, but after that, the former grocery store would sit vacant for ten years. It’s unclear what exactly happened here, but the building sat boarded up and vacant from 1997-2007, when the Sellers family took control of the building. They renovated the otherwise untouched store to their standards and reopened it in mid-2007. The store appears to have been completed faster than initially planned, as the location it replaced, an older “drive-in grocery” just up the street, co-existed with the new store for at least a few months. Of note, for this location, it would be the second to last Sellers Bros to open. As of late 2019, Rafael Ortega, owner of La Michocana and so much more, has purchased Sellers Bros, and while it doesn’t seem like he’s about to discontinue the chain, it certainly does not seem like they’ll open new locations at this point either. Overall, this is a neat and simple grocery store. It’s exactly what Sellers Bros wanted it to be, and in that way, it also resembles a pretty typical Food Lion. Service departments are a bit different than they were originally, but as any HHR reader knows, such is life to operate in Houston. Hopefully, this little store has a good number of years left in it, as it shines on as a community fixture; Sellers Bros has been on Strawberry Road since 1962.


  1. I tried to give Food Lion a chance. At the time we couldn’t keep enough milk in the fridge for our teenage sons, and one evening I popped into FL for a gallon. Checking the expiration date, it was a couple of weeks passed the date printed. I put it back in the case, left, and never walked into another Food Lion again. JM

    1. I shopped at the Jones & West Food Lion a few times and I also stopped in the Veterans Memorial Food Lion a time or two. To say that these stores were not busy is an understatement, I don’t think there were ever more than five other shopping parties in those stores at any given time. Granted, Veterans Memorial had, and still has, a lot of competition and Jones & West was surrounded by a brand new, at the time, Kroger Signature store and Randall’s #35 which both certainly would have blown the little Food Lion out of the water in terms of customer service and store decor quality. Both chains were discounting to combat the new presence of Food Lion and HEB Pantry Foods so there really wasn’t much reason for people to shop at Food Lion around here.

      The funny thing is that here 30+ years later, both the Jones & West and Veterans Memorial Food Lions still look like 1990s Food Lions under their current operators, Food Town and Hong Kong Food Market respectively. Both are recycling Food Lion’s decor and some of their fixtures. Both of these stores look more like a Food Lion than this Sellers Bros. even. While the Hong Kong Food Market does pretty well, the Jones & West Food Lion struggles and is sometimes as quiet as Food Lion was 30 years ago due to that intersection also having Kroger, Aldi, and HEB here in current times. The Food Town is a nice store for what it is, I don’t think you’ll find expired milk there now. Still, that is some stiff competition at that intersection. Hopefully that Food Town is inexpensive enough to operate that the store remains viable even with it usually being pretty quiet.