Category: Sears

What going on at West Oaks Mall in 2022? A slow death examined

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today we’re returning to West Oaks Mall, a location that holds a space near and dear in my heart as “my mall” during my teenage years. Anyone living in Houston for more than a bit knows that West Oaks is a riches to rags story. Starting off as an ambitious high-end shopping mall, serving a predicted luxury clientele that never really developed in this part of Houston. The mall was able to reinvent itself multiple times, adjusting to fit the changes this side of Houston felt. West Oaks has seemingly hit …

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Vintage Texas Retail Videos in 1080p from the Jones Film Collection

Kroger Superstore Produce Department, 1977 (Image sourced from WFAA-TV/SMU Jones Film Collection, April 7, 1977)

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest submission from HHR’s good friend Anonymous in Houston Those who have been reading Houston Historic Retail for some period of time know that I did a two-part series (Part I and II) in early 2021 about the excellent retail videos available at The Portal of Texas History website operated by the University of North Texas Library. Most of the videos at The Portal were supplied by Dallas-Fort Worth TV station KXAS-TV. Well, another Dallas Metroplex university library, the Southern Methodist University Library, also has a collection of videos in their G. William Jones …

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Sears Marcoplaza Mall location, reopens as a Hometown Store!

Howdy folks! Welcome to a Retail News update, I never thought I’d write about, a Sears reopening. Granted, as stated in the headline it is as a Hometown Store, this is still big news! For those not in the know, the Sears at Marcoplaza Mall, closed in 2021. Leaving the Houston area without a mainline Sears presence for the first time in nearly 100 years. Sadly, I was unable to capture the closing, however Je of Southern Retail did document the store’s final days, and those photos will eventually come online. I first learned of the new Sears store through …

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Happy 40th Anniversary, Willowbrook Mall!

Here's a mall entrance in between the Sears anchor and the old Montgomery Ward. The Forever 21 is where the old Luby's Cafeteria once was. In fact, the greenhouse you can faintly see off to the right by the tree was once part of the dining room. (Photo courtesy of Mike/HHR)

Editor’s Note: Today we begin Houston Historic Retail’s Month of Malls! Our 3 Wednesday posts will feature all new Mall content! Lets start off Part One with Northwestern Houston Resident Expert Anonymous in Houston! -Mike Those who have visited the Willowbrook Mall area in Northwest Houston know that several words can be used to describe the territory, but ‘sleepy’ is probably not one of them in current times.  However, prior to the official opening of Willowbrook Mall on September 23, 1981 (though the original three anchors of Sears, Foley’s, and Montgomery Ward had all opened for business by September 2, …

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Eye on “The Ion” an inside look at the former Midtown Sears

One of the few Sears elements left, if barely, is where the escalators (supposedly the first ever in Houston) led down to the basement floor. Rice replaced the escalators with stairs, linked by a seating area for “TED Talks” given from the basement floor.

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes to us from friend of the blog, and frequent commentor, billytheskink. While he self describes as a lizard, I find his writing to be vibrant as a Macaw. As a reader of a blog about historic Houston retail, you no doubt know that Rice University’s planned renovation of the former Midtown Sears at 4201 Main St. into a hub for innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship has been well underway.  The centerpiece of what was originally dubbed as the “Midtown Innovation District”, the building is now being referred to as “The Ion” and the surrounding area (including …

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Exploring Vintage Ads: AIMing For The Best

AIM For The Best Stores

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest submission from HHR’s good friend Anonymous in Houston We aim to give you, the loyal reader, nothing but the very best content here at the Houston Historic Retail blog.  With that in mind, here is the first entry in what could well be a new series where we will explore some vintage retail ads that are interesting and perhaps even relevant to Houston retail history. I thought it would be a good idea to examine some of the ads in a newspaper issue of the past to see what interesting retail history might …

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Through the Annals: A Guide to Retail History in Annual Reports

Kmart Electronics Alcove, 1987

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest submission from HHR’s good friend Anonymous in Houston Researching the operations of a publicly traded company here in the 21st century is most certainly not a very difficult thing.  After all, there are numerous reports about companies available through their own websites and through various websites that can all be accessed very quickly.  However, those who were around before the rise of the World Wide Web might remember that it was quite difficult to obtain information about companies back in the day.  One thing which could be requested from libraries or by contacting …

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The Ghost of Sears Past | Willowbrook Sears dresses up for Halloween

As of 2020 Sears has nearly left the Houston area. They have shutdown all but the Pasadena store, sold their outlet chain, and shutdown all area Hometown stores. It’s really a shame for a chain that once had a major influence over the Greater Houston area. Their presence in this town was built as the city grew starting downtown and expanding to the suburbs as our sprawl progressed. In 1978 Sears announced plans for three new stores along with two new malls to be built by the company’s Homart division. At FM 149 (Now TX-249) and FM 1960 would be …

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