Author: Mike

My name is Mike and I am the founder of the Houston Historic Retail! I have been running this site since 2015. For more information check out the About page!

Randall’s continues to thrive in this former Austin Safeway

The Randall's updated exterior is circa 2007

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. This week, we’re digging back into some unposted photos from summer vacation. Today we’re in Austin, checking out a former Safeway that ended up part of the reacquisition cycle via Safeway and is still going strong even under Albertson’s ownership. This store at 2025 W Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 78704, originally started out in the parking lot of today’s location as a simple Marina-style Safeway, opening in 1966. The store was updated similarly to the San Marcos Safeway, where the new store was constructed on an adjacent plot of land while the old …

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Random Retail: 9 Years Ago, Downtown Foley’s was demolished & Inside Battelstein’s!

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. We’ve got a light post today, as I’m working on a much bigger upcoming project that I hope you’ll all enjoy! As part of this post, I’ve had to do some research into downtown department stores. Let’s start off with Battelstein’s, if you’re like me, this is a store you’ve heard about but not one you ever visited. Battelstein’s started off, like most other department stores in Houston, as a dry goods concern sometime around the 1920s or 30s. Just like Foley’s, and Sakowitz’s, Battelstein’s too would make eventually morph into a modern …

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Retail News: GFS makes progress on former Belden’s

Gordon Food Supply continues to make inroads on its stores in the Houston area. While an expected grand opening date has not yet been set, it seems likely that these stores will open either before the end of the year or slightly after. Most locations are at the same level of progress, with new foundation level power and drainage lines being installed, prior to interior work. It seems, however, that this former Belden’s in Braeswood Square is lagging a bit behind the other stores in the Houston area, with the permits for this location being filed a few months after …

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A postmortem in-Spec’s-tion of Rice Epicurean

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR! Today we’re checking in on the former final Rice Epicurean. After closing late last July, Rice left nearly everything in the store without their name on it, for new tenant Spec’s. While I attempted to reach out to Spec’s about plans for their future store, I did not hear back. At the moment, nothing has been changed structure-wise, and as of this article, I couldn’t find any permits to suggest that any construction will occur. The biggest modifications so far seem to be the movement of fixtures and updating of shelving. The shelves …

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Retail News: Sears at Willowbrook Mall’s last gasp!

Sears Hometown Store at Willowbrook Mall is having its last gasp this upcoming week. While store employees could not provide a final date, they said this week would likely be it for them, as the store slowly runs out of stock. What little remained in the store largely consisted of fixtures and merchandise that had been purchased but yet to be picked up. Many of the items in the store had been shipped in from other locations, including stock labeled for Kmart. The gate to the mall sits shut now, no longer providing the best parking spot to entrance ratio. …

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The History of Twistee Treat’s Freeze and Thaw Cycle in Houston

The W. Tidwell location took over a former Sonic, I used to visit when I worked in the area

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Ice cream is an essential summer treat, and for such a warm state, we lack a major presence from most frozen dessert chains other than a few ice cream parlors. We do have Dairy Queen, but unlike many other states, which feature mostly ice cream, and little food, our model is flipped. Utilizing an expanded Brazier menu, which became so common, the Brazier moniker was dropped in Texas around the 80s. For years, Texas has been the “wild west” for anyone looking to expand the concept. For those not in the …

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Former Venture/Kmart preserved as Viet Hoa for over 20 years!

However the old Venture Facade still pops up above

Howdy, or Xin Chao, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today we’re visiting a Vietnamese Grocer in a nearly perfectly preserved former Venture/Kmart. In July 1995, the building at 8300 W Sam Houston Pkwy S, Houston, TX 77072 would open as Venture Store #141. Making it one of the last Texas locations and the final planned Houston area store. Although Sugar Land would open a few months later, plans for that store came first. Just days prior to the grand opening, Venture had announced a repositioning of the company to be more value-oriented and drop their higher-end merchandise. For …

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Retail News: Ollie’s Friendswood to open Wednesday

Nearly one year after its debut, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is opening a second Houston area location Wednesday, September 9th. This store located at 18182 Gulf Fwy, Friendswood, TX 77546, has been a long time coming and was part of the reason Houston lost its only Dick’s Warehouse store. As of now, Ollie’s third and only other publically planned Houston store is on the Westside at 1747 Fry Road Katy, TX 77449.

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Krispy Shipley, this doughnut shop had quite the rebellious teen phase

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail.  Today we’re at 12403 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77077 taking a look at a doughnut shop that has been host to quite a few tenants in its time. Even now, as a Shipley Do-Nuts location, this store still stands out from others in the chain. This building was originally built by Krispy Kreme Doughnuts as their first Houston location. Work started in 1998 on this combo store/commissary, which would ship doughnuts and other goodies to grocery stores, and gas stations across Houston. This first Krispy Kreme location would also be able …

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