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!

Blue Ridge Blight, a 42 year old Kroger only open for 7, finally has a promising new future

Fort Bend County is not an area one generally associates with urban blight. Most folk’s exposure to the county is driving along the highways which mostly pass through relatively affluent areas. While there are some pockets, of less valuable properties, it’s nothing compared with what you might see driving the highways of Houston. To most, it would seem that truly decrepit areas don’t exist within the boundaries of Fort Bend, but this is far from the truth. Today we’re taking a look at an attempt to go back and fixed a long-ignored shopping center, in Fort Bend Houston. Let’s start …

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Weingarten’s Food Fair is over, now it’s Lewis’ Food Town

The arches accidentally also matched Grand Union's theming, and seems to be why they survived untouched

Weingarten is a grocer I never knew, They were gone by the time I was born but oddly were still held in high regard. The chain folded in 1983, after a buyout in 1979. While many put the blame onto an over-eager chain wanting to expand but incompetent in running stores in unfamiliar territory. While this is partly true, the issue was in fact much broader and stems from a little-known origin story, which is that Weingarten was not directly purchased by its later parent, Grand Union. It was in fact purchased by a British company named Cavenham Foods, which …

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Exxon left this On the Run, now it’s time for Star Stop’s story

What a galaxy indeed!

Howdy folks, and welcome back to HHR. Today we’re taking a break from the norm, and talking about Star Stop. Now that’s a name that doesn’t come up well… anywhere really, and if you don’t recognize it I don’t blame you. The company operates ~115 gas stations and C-Stores, mostly in and around Houston, with a small presence in San Antonio and Austin as well. The stores are mostly former chains that have been snapped up in bulk, and many still retain whatever decor their former owners left behind. Also, from what I can tell, they’re the largest Houston-owned C-Store …

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Amazon to shutter two brick and mortar locations in Houston as part of company wide closures

I had a hard time getting a photo of the entrance because of how tall it was, the design of the stores isn't special very spartan in fact

As part of Amazon’s restructuring of their retail arm, two Houston area retailers will soon close their doors. Amazon Books and Amazon 4-Star will be phased out of Amazon’s brick-and-mortar operations. Each store has one branch in the Houston area. With Amazon Books at Baybrook Mall, and Amazon 4-Star in Deerbrook Mall. This will leave Amazon’s physical presence in Houston to only Whole Foods. Prior to the writing of this article, the Amazon-associated retailer I had stepped foot into had been Whole Foods. I had been plenty of times prior to the buyout as well, and never really developed a …

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James Coney Deserted Island, a Meadows Place Story

That's a JCI building design, if I ever saw one! Despite lots of exterior updates, the basic shape is still there

Update 4/27: For those on the Google crusade of trying to figure out why this location closed, it seems the property is being redeveloped as Cabo Bob’s an Austin-based taco house (Thanks Gruffbear!) If this has been helpful to you, consider following me on Facebook or other platforms for more regular updates! Howdy folks, and welcome to Houston Historic Retail. Today we’re checking out a James Coney Island, which truly is, on an island. Let’s start out though, talking about my least favorite hot dog chain. I know what you’re thinking, what’s wrong with this guy? Doesn’t like JCI, and …

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Handy Randalls, the store that killed an HEB still here 50 years later

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today we’re taking an in-depth look at one of Houston’s former Handy Andy stores. If you’re not in the know about Handy Andy, let me give you a little background. They were a grocer based out of San Antonio who expanded to Houston in the 1970s. During the initial phases of their expansion, things went quite well with the Becker family, who owned the stores, building four large-format stores unlike anything else they’d ever built. These new stores were much larger than an average grocery store of the time, had a …

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Northwest Mall’s days are numbered as final tenant prepares to move out for proposed High-Speed Rail Station

The mall has fallen to vandalism in certain spots.

When Northwest Mall closed its interior in 2017, it was under the auspicious news of a remodel and refresh. Levcor properties, then owner, claimed that the mall would be revamped, and soon reopened, to help compliment the revitalizing Spring Branch area. It all happened so long ago, that it was reported on Swamplot, which is where I first heard about the mall’s impending closure. As this closure was only to be temporary, Levcor allowed tenants with exterior entrances to remain. Thompson’s Antique Center in the old JCPenney, Palais Royal where I took some viral photos, and a few other stragglers …

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Sears Willowbrook, Grand Opening Weekend! The latest on Fast Eddie’s Sears schemes

If the actual Sears Hometown store is in the back of the building, how does one use the mall entrance to get to the store? Well, this is something that has to be seen to believe! Yes, Sears used tarps and old fixtures to create a hallway leading shoppers to the Sears Hometown store without allowing them to wander into the closed parts of the building! The blue light clearly turned on in someone's mind! That's not just smart, that's Kmart...err...Sears smart!

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today we’re going to revisit the Willowbrook Sears location which you might have seen earlier at HHR in this post about the history of Willowbrook Mall or in this post about the Spirit Halloween store that opened in the Willowbrook Sears after it closed in 2020. Je of the Louisiana & Texas Retail Blog also has some photos of this Sears back when it was open in 2017-18. This Sears location was the second Houston-area mainline Sears to partially reopen as a Hometown Store after a similar stunt was pulled in …

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Check out this “Shell” of a Luby’s that still sells fried chicken

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today, we’re taking a look at something unusual! A former Luby’s at 108 W Greens Rd, Houston, TX 77067 that is still selling Fried Chicken, but is also a Shell Station! This isn’t some kind of Krispy Krunchy situation, we’re talking a real Fried Chicken restaurant here. An actual Church’s operates out of the kitchen and to-go portion of this former Luby’s, while the Shell occupies the old serving line, and most of the former dining area. Let’s start off by talking about the history of this spot. Originally a Luby’s-Romana …

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Deauville Mall Spring, One of Houston’s first Dead Malls

These doors immediately past the redone section, provide a final glimpse into the mall

Howdy fans and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today you’re in for a treat, I took my first visit to one of the Deauville Fashion Malls. For those not in the know, the Deauville Fashion Malls were a failed concept by local property developer the Deauville Corporation, an apartment and shopping center builder. Essentially the idea was born out of a desire to get into developing malls, but after a failed attempt at building a competitor to Greenspoint, the idea morphed into a ‘discount mall’. While it wasn’t the worst idea in the world, with prevailing economic issues in …

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