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!

Has Farm Stores “bought the farm” in Houston?

Over the last three years, HHR has been keeping an eye on a Florida-based “C-Store adjacent” concept, Farm Stores, which first announced its intent to come to Houston in 2016. While their first planned Katy location would not work out, they would eventually arrive in 2020. Farm Stores isn’t exactly a new idea, with the concept debuting in the late 50s. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a drive-thru liquor store but swaps hard alcohol for an expanded grocery selection. It also adds fresh baked goods, sandwiches, and coffees, making it more akin to a C-Store. The chain’s initial push called for …

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The future of the vacant Wilcrest Foodarama

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. Today, we’re taking what will likely be our final visit to the Wilcrest ex-Foodarama. As is customary, this is a post-closure post taking a look at the remains of the former store. Towards the end of the article, we’ll even discuss what’s upcoming for the corner lot. As mentioned in our first post, this building started in the 1970s as a Safeway. It was a unique pickup for Cox’s Foodarama; as a Safeway, it closed in 1987, seemingly a few months before the AppleTree developments began. While it would not be the only …

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Retail News: Whole Foods to close Midtown location

Houston Historic Retail has been informed that the Midtown Whole Foods Market will close by the end of next week. The store, which opened in late 2019, occupies the ground floor of the Pearl Marketplace Apartment tower. The rumor of closure was first spread online and brought to the attention of HHR by a reader. The closing was confirmed by visiting the store and speaking to an employee who confirmed they would close by the end of next week. Supposedly, the store is set to start a deep clearance sale, as it was fully stocked during my visit. The Midtown …

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Solving a 40 year old Rosenberg retail mystery on the north side, Burger House

I was interested in retail from an early age. While I didn’t start documenting it until recently, I witnessed a unique slice of Houston retail. My formative years in Richmond-Rosenberg provided a strange parallel to the nearby Houston market. Living in what was still “the country” at the time, old names that had mostly disappeared from Houston years earlier remained in the area. For example, Sutherland’s stayed in Rosenberg until 2002. Right across the street, Mr. Gatti’s was a regular birthday spot well into the early 2000s, when it was replaced by Dairy Queen (which kept the arcade and prize …

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The local skinny on Boston Market’s downfall

Bad news for Boston Market lovers: the fast-casual rotisserie chicken chain is approaching its demise. This isn’t too shocking for anyone who follows restaurant news. Boston Market has had a difficult history. They first arrived in Houston in 1994, with concrete plans for 17 locations and eventual eyes for 50 total stores throughout Houston at some point. At that time, they were known as Boston Chicken and undergoing a growth spurt, which would land them in bankruptcy by 1998. During this bankruptcy, McDonald’s would pick up the chain to salvage the real estate to lease for new McDonald’s stores. However, …

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Checking out the ‘newest’ Krogertsons in town the concept Hispanic Kroger

On the outside, all looks normal, once we get inside, we'll see little has changed.

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today, we’re checking out Houston’s “hottest Kroger.” The store at Sabo and the South Belt which was recently renovated as a Hispanic Concept Kroger. Houstonians are no strangers to Hispanic grocery stores, and in fact, some of us may even remember Kroger’s previous attempt at a Hispanic store in Gulfton. Starting off with a bit of history on this store, it was initially a Grocery Palace-era Albertsons, which Kroger picked up along with another 20 stores in 2002. Kroger had been a dominant player in the area for years, battling Randalls …

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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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