A look into Houston's retail past

Retail News: Raceway speeds out and 7-11 Zooms In, Luby’s puts locations up for sale, & Randalls leaves Bellaire

Happy chilly Friday to you loyal readers! I hope you are all doing well and managing to stay warm, as power comes back on around the state. This post is coming a bit late due to technical difficulties between myself and the power grid, but I don’t need to tell you about that. So far in February we’ve had a decent amount of retail proceedings develop. First off what seems to have been a quiet deal between RaceTrac and Realty Income Corp. has left us with no more Raceway gas stations but has netted us some new 7-Eleven locations. Which is great new if you’ve been following the ever developing drama of their return to Houston! Next, the dissolution of Luby’s starts to get real as multiple locations are put on the real estate market. Finally, Randall’s leaves a Bellaire grocery store with more than 60 years of history with Weingartens planning on going vertical.

Raceway Speeds Out, 7-Eleven Zooms In

RaceTrac opened their first stores in Houston in the mid 90s. At the time the chain was known for low priced non-branded gasoline, which was not widely available in the Houston market outside of independent stations. They also brought along streamed line stores that all had similar offerings no matter what part of the city you were in. With selection in local stores varying based on how big or tiny they were. The locations they chose were mostly along highways in the suburbs, areas of proven growth, and were initially popular. RaceTrac even had a plan to deal with less popular locations by selling them off to independent operators who would franchise them under the “Raceway” brand. Many locations turned to Raceways over the years and some were sold to other brands. RaceTrac continued to build out stores in Houston into the 2010s however, within the last 10 years they have lost some prominence in a now overly saturated market. The streamlined stores, and unbranded gas that made the chain so desirable is now quite common in the Houston area. Throughout 2020 RaceTrac sold their existing properties to Realty Income Corporation, who lease thousands of different parcels to different chains all across the U.S.

Luby’s puts locations up for sale

This location at 2730 Fondren closed sometime in 2018 and sat vacant with signs still up until a liquidation sale took place in June of 2020. More photos inbound from that eventually.

Earlier this month Houston based Luby’s revealed their planned timeline to dissolve their company by the end of August. This came as little surprise as Luby’s and Fuddruckers had barely been limping along before the pandemic started. U As of February 13th multiple former and operating Luby’s and Fuddruckers locations were put up for sale. As reported by Houston Business Journal there are 13 locations for sale around the Houston area, along with one in Lake Jackson and Port Arthur each. Some of the locations are still operating but will be closed by the time they’re sold. The Houston area locations are as follows.

1201 W Baker Rd, Baytown, TX 77521 – Luby’s
4709 Center St Deer Park, TX 77536 – Luby’s
1600 NASA Road 1 Houston, TX 77058 – Luby’s
4525 North Freeway , Houston, TX 77022 Undeveloped Lot
2730 Fondren Rd Houston, TX 77063 – Luby’s
6704 Hwy 6 S Houston, TX 77083 – Luby’s
11950 Kurland Dr Houston, TX 77034 – Fuddruckers
7511 FM 1960 W Houston, TX 77070 – Fuddruckers
24033 Cinco Ranch Blvd Katy, TX 77494 – Luby’s and Fuddruckers
25407 Bell Patna Dr Katy, TX 77492 – Fuddruckers
125 West Way Lake Jackson, TX 77566 – Luby’s
8680 Memorial Blvd Port Arthur, TX 77642 – Luby’s
2290 Buckthorne Place The Woodlands, TX 77380 – Fuddruckers

Randall’s leaves a Bellaire location with 62 years of history

5130 Bellaire opened their doors as a Weingartens grocery location in 1959 in an odd location within the Bellaire Triangle. From 1959-1984 the store became a hub of activity and by far one of the nicest grocery stores in the area. In 1984 Weingratens left the grocery business and sold their remaining stores to Safeway. As part of the AppleTree fiasco the store served under that banner from 1989-1994 when it was acquired by Randall’s. Of course, when Safeway acquired Randall’s in 1999 they were once again leasing the building from Weingartens! This little store also has a special place in my heart as it is one of the Randall’s locations that I worked at during high school. It was only a few times filling in for shifts from my home store, but this location played great music on the radio, and had a fun little shared kitchen between the deli and bakery, plus lots of other interesting Weingarten and Safeway decor remnants. The location was given an Albertsons remodel when HEB opened their new location across the street but has not been able to keep up. While development plans have not been announced, Weingarten did mention they intended to transform this space into a multi-story mixed used development. HAIF Thread

The Closing of Luby’s in 2003

So Luby’s, like many other Cafeteria chains hailing from the 1950s has experienced many woes over the years. The largest was the bankruptcy that nearly killed the company. I came across a list of locations which closed during the 2003 bankruptcy proceedings. The close date for all Texas locations was March 31, 2003 all locations outside of Texas closed April 3, 2003. The list illustrates the breadth the chain once had reaching from Tennessee to Arizona.

A location just outside of Nashville shortly after closing. Photo source: Loopnet.com
City and State Address
Dallas, TX 2377 Stemmons Trail
Dallas, TX 12230 Forestgate Drive
Greenville, TX 7600 Wesley Street
Sherman, TX 3113 Highway 75 North
San Antonio, TX 4300 Thousand Oaks Drive
Grand Prairie, TX 980 West Pioneer Parkway
McKinney, TX 920 North Central Expressway
Irving, TX 2250 Walnut Hill Lane
Tyler, TX 2829 West Northwest Loop 323
Mesquite, TX 24315 L.B.J. Freeway
Garland, TX 3255 Broadway Boulevard
Arlington, TX 701 North Watson Street
Orange, TX 4040 IH-10 West
Houston, TX 6704 Highway 6 South
Lewisville, TX 2401 South Stemmons Freeway
Fort Smith, AR 6201-A Rogers Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 601 West Bell Road
Tucson, AZ 7140 East Rosewood Street
Mesa, AZ 1404 South Longmore Street
Glendale, AZ 5285 West Bell Road
Oklahoma City, OK 3800 North MacArthur Boulevard
Tulsa, OK 115 East 15th Street South
Tulsa, OK 3140 South Garnett Road
Memphis, TN 5240 Summer Avenue
Memphis, TN 6705 Winchester Road

 

In addition I also found a shorter list of locations that had closed prior to the March 31, 2003 date.

 

Amarillo, TX (closed first week of March) 2101 South Coulter Drive
El Paso, TX (closed first week of March) 7825 North Mesa Street
Fort Worth, TX (closed March 24) 7624 Grapevine Trail
Albuquerque, NM (closed first week of March) 4710 Montgomery Boulevard
Nashville, TN (closed first week of March) 1501 Gallatin Pike North