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!

A “Sketchy” former Walgreens, where you can only get shoes!

On the exterior not much has changed. It's nice to see the Walgreen's Window Box being reused

Howdy folks, and welcome back to HHR. Today we’re again tackling our overcrowding of drug stores, a topic we’ve covered once before, and will come up again in a second part. However, today we’re not checking out an Eckerd but rather a Walgreens! As mentioned previously, Walgreen’s building campaign really began as a response to the entry of CVS into the Houston market. Both Walgreens and Eckerd had steady growth in Houston during 90s and early 2000s, expanding to match new neighborhoods. As well, older strip center locations were replaced with freestanding stores capable of providing drive-thru pharmacy services. One …

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Demolition Update: Game over for Garden Oaks Family Bingo, and the strange former Kroger it occupied

Howdy folks, and welcome back to a Demolition Update (This is not a full Demolition List, as that is still on hiatus due to lack of time). Today we’re taking a look at what was, up until a few months ago, the premiere Bingo Hall in Garden Oaks. Unfortunately, it seems that this former supermarket is about to meet the fate of a good number of the area’s original homes. Sitting at 641 W Crosstimbers St, Houston, TX 77018, the structure was built in 1974 by the Kroger Company. This was not Kroger’s first store in the Garden Oaks area, …

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Taco Casa: Fast Food the way your parents remember it!

The giant windows had advertisements that were not visible from the interior

Fast food is engrained in our culture, and its prevalence has led to a specific way of doing things. But do you remember a time before combo meals? A time when you couldn’t refill your own drinks? A time when neon and Earth tones were considered complimentary colors? Chances are you do, or if not you live vicariously through online reminiscence. If you’re yearning to relive those days then Taco Casa is for you. It evokes a time before fast food over expanded and the resultant quality drop. Taco Casa first debuted in Fort Worth in 1972, and has slowly …

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Clear Lake’s HEB in the old Albertsons finally meets it end!

Clear Lake as a city has an interesting history, the 30,000 acres were pieced together by a wealthy businessman to build a ranch on. However, by 1938 the ranch would be sold to Humble Oil company after crude oil fields were found. While Humble began to pump oil from some areas, most of the land sat vacant until 1962, a year after NASA announced plans for the Manned Spacecraft Center. Humble Oil, announced their plans to use the Clear Lake land to build a planned community. They would do so under their Friendswood Development Company, who had already been working …

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Deseret Industries Houston: When the Osmonds met Goodwill

The "eyebrow arch" is a D.I. addition, Oshman's buildings were squared off

Thrifting is ubiquitous in Houston. There are people who make their entire livings going to thrift stores, and reselling merchandise they find there. Outside of business prospects, many of us enjoy thrifting simply for the fun of it. You never really know what you’re going to find with a megalopolis worth of donations, in a repurposed retailer. I’ve thrifted a good amount of vintage electronics in my day, including a great deal of video games. However, my focus as of late is more retail based signage, memorabilia, glassware, etc… However, these are the exact types of things that other thrifters …

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SpEckerd either way you’ve gotta show ID to buy stuff!

On the outside anyone could tell this was an Eckerd, as far as I know they only used this design along with a smaller variant closer to their exit.

Houston has a preponderance of former drug stores. Many have found new uses, and seemingly just as many continue to sit vacant. The vast majority of these failed pharmacies come from overbuilding over the past 20 or so years. The issue wasn’t specific to Houston, as evident by the recently announced CVS closures, but it sure had an early start here. Most of it began around 2003 when CVS entered the Houston market, their desire to expand was met by with a swift response from Walgreens who planned an expansion in Houston of their own. With CVS, and Walgreens both …

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HEB’s Failed Concept store in Northwest Houston

Houston has been a stable market for H-E-B for many years now. While the early years were a bit touch and go at certain times overall HEB could be considered one of the more stable grocers in the Houston area. Even towards the end of the Pantry Foods era, HEB’s success in Houston was measurable. It came to the point where the company felt brave enough to open a “concept store” here in town. Located at 6960 Barker Cypress Rd, Houston, TX 77084, this Pantry Foods was a “late bloomer” not opening until 1998. However, it seems HEB hoped that …

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Safeway, to David’s, Come in Gerland’s, Do you read me? This is Food Town!

Howdy Folks, in preparation for Thanksgiving we’re taking a look at somewhere you’ve probably stopped this week, a grocery store! Specifically we’re talking about 1455 Wilcrest Dr, Houston, TX 77042 which as of 2021 is a Food Town. However, it has been at least 3 other grocers over the past 47 years. The location originally opened in 1974 as a new build Safeway for Houston’s rapidly developing Briar Forest neighborhood. At the time, the Westchase area was still being built out, but would quickly prove to be one of the hottest new markets in town. By the late 70s, Weingartens …

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There’s news round the corner! Gas Station coming to Former Walgreens Highway 6 and Westheimer

The cannopies are what caught my eye driving by on Highway 6, I did not intended to take this photos.

Howdy Folks, and welcome back to some retail news at the corner of Highway 6 and Westheimer. It seems that two shopping centers, at the crossroads, are coming closer to 100% occupancy again for the first time in nearly 20 years! This intersection has long been considered to essentially be a no-mans lands in terms of retail. Beyond West Oaks Mall’s initial success which is long gone, the two power centers sitting catty corner both managed to maintain decent tenancy, but have more recently struggled. With the Village at West Oaks (Northwest Corner) losses included longtime anchors Barnes & Noble …

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Weingarten Realty’s Annual Reports, a look into our not so distant retail past

Howdy folks, how many times have you encountered the word “Weingarten” in your life. If you’re a native Houstonian, then you probably know the name, to say the least. Houstonians of a certain era, will obviously remember the J. Weingarten grocery store chain. One of Houston’s first true supermarkets, starting out in the 1930s, Weingartens experienced an explosive growth post World War II. The family, who had initially only built freestanding grocery stores, quickly jumped on the property development bandwagon. By the 1960s the Weingarten Realty Corp was operating grocery stores in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, along with the shopping …

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