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!

Sears Willowbrook Mall Experiment is Closing

The Sears Hometown located inside of Willowbrook Mall has started the closing process for their stores a short six months after opening. The scheme was a way to put former Sears Mall buildings and a few former Kmarts to use as prospective tenants for this former mainline store, which closed in 2020, failed to step up. The closure was first reported to HHR by regular contributor Anonymous in Houston, who noticed a Google Review stating the store was closing. This rumor was confirmed by visiting the store and finding the yellow closing/clearance tags attached to all products. The closing does …

Continue reading

So long Rice, and thanks for all the Epicuriousness

The windows were covered with stucco years back

After nearly 85 years of operation, the final Rice Grocery store will close its doors for good today. While this isn’t coming out of the blue, it’s still a sad event to have to witness. While many of us remember Rice as the exotic Epicurean chain, the company served many people of many different backgrounds under many different names during its tenure. The building that housed this final Epicurean location will once again find another use, this time as a Spec’s location. Rice staff had mentioned there might be something special about this new Spec’s, but what exactly it is, …

Continue reading

Why did Safeway close the Fuqua and Sabo Randall’s?

One more look at the outside before we set off

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today we’re checking out a 1980s Randall’s that has had quite an interesting second life. This former Randall’s at 11021 Fuqua St, Houston, TX 77089, opened store opened in 1984. Taking part in a triple grand opening stunt, which is just as it sounds. Two newly built Randall’s stores and one old Weingarten that had been acquired about a month before all held a grand opening special on the same day! The new store was a first for Randall’s, it wasn’t a revolutionary new design or anything along those lines. Rather, …

Continue reading

Retail News: Best Buy Outlet plans move across 249, towards Willowbrook Mall

Huh, how'd this get in the gallery...

  Best Buy Outlet, currently located at 17713 Tomball Pkwy, Houston, TX 77064, has filed permits to remodel a former Toys ‘R Us building across Texas 249. This new space would allow the currently cramped store to expand. The Outlet store’s former space is a former Golf Galaxy location, which was once a larger part of the Venture Department store which once inhabited that block. Best Buy Outlet’s proposed move would not only net new space, but it would also put the store on the Willowbrook Mall side of the highway.   Have a retail tip you want to share? …

Continue reading

So what is Miniso? Checking out the knockoff Daiso

Howdy everyone, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. If you’re new to HHR, welcome! We’re all glad to have you here. Today we’re taking a look at a new retailer on the Houston scene, Miniso. Chances are you probably haven’t heard of Miniso, it’s a fairly new company opening its first store in China in 2013. If you feel like you’ve seen the logo before, it’s “highly inspired” by the Uniqlo clothing brand. The stores are patterned after international successful Japanese Yen Shop (Dollar Store), Daiso. Let’s take a minute to explain what Daiso is; this chain hails back to …

Continue reading

This former Safeway #1 in Houston, is having a Fiesta of a second life

The exterior of this store uses the arced pylons like the Pasadena location

Howdy, folks, and welcome to Houston HIstoric Retail! Today we’re taking a look at a store that has stayed a chain grocer from inception to present, somewhat of a rarity in Houston! Today’s store, located at 7510 Bellfort Ave, Houston, TX 77061, was the first Safeway location to open in Houston. The first-ever plans for Safeway’s expansion to Houston occurred on the heels of the Dallas division expanding into Austin in the 1950s. While locations were never divulged, Safeway did acquire some properties in Houston and likely planned to build some smaller Marina-style stores upon their arrival, just as they …

Continue reading

Retail News: The gas station in an ex-Walgreens near West Oaks Mall, finally opens! Welcome Now & Forever Plus

The gas prices here were pretty cheap compared to other stations on 6

Well, folks, the day has finally come. The former Walgreens at Westheimer and Highway 6 has reopened. This will mark the building’s first permanent retail tenant since closing as a pharmacy around 2017. Now and Forever also marks the return of a gas station to this intersection. Before the most recent expansion of Highway 6, every corner of the intersection, except the mall, hosted a gas station. This gas station, however, aims to be a bit different. The space is huge, and while some area was built out around the checkout, I would wager that 3/4 of the former Walgreens …

Continue reading

Arlan’s a modern take on the Traditional Independent

Thank you for having me!

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! It’s been a while since we have done a grocery (2 weeks in fact!) store post, so make sure you’re buckled up for this one! We’re taking a deviation to the South of Houston to find out about one of Houston’s most respected independent grocers, Arlan’s Market. Now, if you’ve been around HHR for any length of time, you’ll know that overall I like independents. In the realm of the blog, I tend to focus on Food Town and Foodarama as they’re arguably the most present independent operators supermarkets in Houston, …

Continue reading

Sears Willowbrook fills out their space, and how did it end up a Hometown any way?

Howdy, folks, and welcome to Houston Historic Retail! Today we’re back at everyone’s least favorite stomping grounds… Zombie Sears! With the recent closure of failed Pasadena Hometown Sears Conversion still looming over its head, things look somewhat bleak for a company that continues to close stores only months after opening. Despite all the tears shed for other locations of a retailer, which probably could have survived had they not “merged” with Kmart back in 2005. Let’s take a look back at one of the last real good ideas from before the merger, the Sears Grand concept. While Sears had started …

Continue reading

Retail News: James Coney closes final inner-loop location, and provides some thoughts on the future

James Coney Island’s final inner-loop store shut down earlier this week. The news of the closure was quiet but shouldn’t come as a huge surprise for anyone who has been following the slow death of the chain. While JCI managed to hang on past the Millennium, it seems very little has been invested in the hot dog seller over the past 20 years. With locations stagnant and sales slipping, a 2018 initiative to push the chain away from Hot Dogs began. Local chef, Matt Marcus, was brought on board to help reimagine non-hot dog menu items, and a new name …

Continue reading