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!

Why Bungee Jumping is Illegal in Houston

The Houston Air Boingo Tower Source: Houston Post October 14, 1992

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today, we’re discussing a fringe bit of retail—stand-alone amusement attractions. While researching Houston’s Amusement Centers, I have discussed Funplex, Fame City, and others in passing on Facebook and in HHR comments. While I have never directly addressed the topic on the blog, I am interested in amusement parks. Living in Houston my entire life, they’re something I almost completely associate with being an out-of-town-only experience, with the manufactured death of our beloved Astroworld for a still empty field. It can sometimes be easy to get the feeling that Houston as a …

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Retail News: IKEA planning new small-format location for Cinco Ranch

A mock-up of the planned South Lake IKEA small format store. Photo Source: IKEA Newsroom

Based on permits filed with the state, and realty details mentioned in Ralph Bivin’s latest RNR Bulletin, Swedish Furniture Retailer, IKEA is working on opening a second location in the Houston area. The new store is to be located in the La Centerra Shopping Center in Katy. Rather than being a full-size showroom and warehouse 200k+ Sqft store, this new location will only clock in at about 5,000 Sqft. While IKEA has yet to publish details about this new store, it’s not a stretch to think that it will turn out much like their planned small format store in South …

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HHR Celebrates 20 Years of Houston Freeways

I-45 and I-10 after the addition of the "flying" HOV lanes. Photo Source

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today, we’re covering a topic that is close to my heart. It’s not rooted in retail, but is retail adjacent; Houston Freeways. The book Houston Freeways was published 20 years ago by Oscar “Erik” Slotboom, a native Houstonian who at the time was residing in Austin. Slotboom’s ambition seemed simple: to document and write the histories of the freeways that had helped shape his hometown. Slotboom had already worked on detailing some of his earliest research online via the website, which came online in 2000. When his book was published …

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Bed Bath & Long Gone: The Story of The Fountains Shopping Center

Howdy folks, today we’re looking at a few old-ish photos featuring the Stafford Bed Bath & Beyond shutdown. While this is primarily a photo dump, this shopping center has quite a fascinating history. As someone who grew up in Fort Bend County, I vividly remember the excitement behind the opening of “The Fountains on the Lake.” The center was started in late 1995, at a point where development was already almost complete on every corner around the open parcel of land. The site had been purchased in the 1940s by Aron Gordon for use as farmland. The Gordon family already …

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Retail News: Kroger-Albertsons may sell off 400 stores to C&S, what this means for Houston

Reports have emerged this week citing that C&S Wholesale Grocers may purchase 400 or more stores as part of the merger of Kroger and Albertsons. While details have been scant, indications exist that this is a serious deal. It was first reported via Bloomberg Tuesday evening that C&S, with the backing of Japanese Financial Institution SoftBank, planned to purchase these stores, with the possibility of the deal being publically announced by the end of this week. Houston’s connection to C&S is their 2014 purchase of locally owned Grocers Supply Co. While their investment is coming on nearly ten years, only …

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Retail News: Joe V’s debuts a new HEB emphasizing logo for new stores

Old on the top, new on the bottom. Source: Joe V's Facebook

Houston’s own Joe V’s Smart Shop debuted a new logo seemingly in anticipation of its debut in DFW. The new logo for Joe V’s emphasizes the connection with their parent company by adding “by HEB” at the bottom of the logo. The addition strikes a comparison to the grocery giant’s entry in Houston. When debuting in the Bayou City under the name “HEB Pantry Foods,” emphasis was placed on the “Pantry Foods” portion of the name. However, the connection to the somewhat known grocer was made by many locals who shortened the name long before it was done officially. Anecdotally, …

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A Foodarama Going out of Business Sale: Part 2

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. Today, we’re taking a second look at the now-closed Foodarama at Wilcrest and W. Bellfort. We last visited this store a week ago, with photos I took days after its closing was announced. HHR fan htownjake took the pictures for today on the day of closing. Picking up where we left off last time, let’s finish up the history. As we’d left it, Safeway had entered the area as a “neighborhood grocer,” the first in a sea of highway-based stores attempting to draw people up the Southwest Freeway. Safeway’s choice of location was …

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Random Retail: Scraps from Otto’s and other stories

My Uncle was a regular at the bar and hamburger portion of the original Otto's. We would go quite often, I didn't even know the BBQ was a bigger draw until I got my drivers license!

Howdy folks, and welcome to HHR. Today it’s a Random Retail post! Random Retail posts are things that either don’t fit directly into HHR, or don’t make it into a full story. Today we’ll have some quick vignettes, but very little text. I hope you enjoy this edition of Random Retail! Tuesday Evening Galavanting down T.C. Jester A stop for some sweets at CornerStore, I mean Circle K… Stopping at Taco Cabana for a burrito Goodbye Otto’s you’ll be missed

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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 …

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Church’s Chicken and restoring the Hill Country

Howdy folks, today we’re taking a look at how a tiny abandoned Church’s Chicken in Houston connects to the restoration of the Hill Country. Specifically, we’re looking at the Church’s on Highway 6 in Mission Bend. It’s been an eye-catcher for years for anyone in retail fanning. The itty-bitty store comes in at around 500 Square Feet; this postage stamp of a restaurant was designed for efficiency, and it has an interesting story. To tell it though, we need to start with some history, Church’s was founded in San Antonio in 1952 by Bill Church. The original location was a …

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