Circuit City

Company History
Circuit City originally opened as Wards (unrelated to Montgomery Wards) in 1949. The chain started out selling appliances and jumped into the new market of television sales. By 1984 Wards officially changed their name to Circuit City to reflect their sales of everything electronic in addition to their original appliance business. They were known for having exceptional service, although generally a bit pricey when compared to the competition. By the early 2000s Circuit City’s locations were beginning to become outdated when compared to the competition. The company decided to move away from their bread and butter which had been the large appliance business and focus more on consumer electronics.

The former Circuit City on San Felipe at 610. Photo Credit: Annie Sitton

This shift in focus was initially quite successful which sparked a new wave of investment in upgrades and new locations. However, as online shopping started to become commonplace in the later 2000s, Circuit City began to take a hit in business. The items which had become their focus, general electronics, could often be bought online for a fraction of the price of the in-store items. More and more business took place online. Still many new locations were planned and being built, when the company unexpectedly announced their intent to close a majority of their stores in 2008, with the closing of final locations taking place in March 2009. The closure was blamed on multiple things, including the extremely poor economy at the time.

Houston History
Circuit City was not the first major electronics store in Houston. Being beat out by Highland Superstores in 1986 (Who would liquidate a month prior to Circuit City opening, and Texas-based Conn’s in 1983. Circuit City opened their first stores August 29, 1991. These five stores were as follows: Almeda, Baybrook, Greenspoint, West Oaks and Willowbrook. Circuit City was able to beat out Best Buy to the Houston market by almost a year, which would help with their initial growth in town. The first Circuit City locations were all built near malls, but not on mall owned property. While considered small by today’s standards Circuit City’s first set of stores were termed “Superstores” they all featured Auto Installation bays for car accessories, loading docks for customers purchasing large appliances, and a circular showroom layout. In the mid-2000s and effort was made to remodel or rebuild older stores. Stores would have showrooms opened up, appliances were discontinued, so new stores no longer built loading docks.


Photo Gallery

Store Number
5389950 Kleckley Dr Houston, TX August 29, 1991-2003? Social and Health Center Still Standing
538*10025 Almeda Genoa Road Houston, TX?-March 2008 Replaced 9950 Kleckley, Sat Vacant until after 2011, Replaced by a Conn's Home Plus.
539171 N Sam Houston Pkwy E, Houston, TXAugust 29, 1991-February 10, 2004 Now Goodwill with Computer Works location attached in old loading bay area.
5407537 Southwest Fwy Houston, TX October 5, 1991- Later Harley Davidson dealership, now owned by HBU.
540*7553 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX-November 8, 2008 Replaced 7537 Southwest Fwy, Closed prior to bankruptcy
5412680 Highway 6 S Houston, TXAugust 29, 1991-March 2009 Sat vacant until around 2014, replaced by Goody Goody Liquor Store.
54217270 Tomball Pkwy Houston, TX August 29, 1991- Building exterior untouched labelscar still visible, Family Thift Center since 2012
542*17727 Tomball Pkwy, Houston, TX-March 2009 Replaced 17270 Tomball Pkwy location Replaced by Ashley Furniture.
56618800 Gulf Fwy Friendswood, TXAugust 29, 1991-2007 Replaced by 1001 Bay Area Demolished 2010 during Baybrook Mall expansion.
350010405 Katy Fwy Houston, TXJune 11, 1994-2003? Demolished around 2012 for apartments.
32334500 San Felipe Street Houston, TXOctober 1996-2008 Now Ashley Home Furniture, former audio installation bays still visible.
352013350 East Fwy Houston, TXNovember 30, 1996-2003? Was originally subdivided with Academy, which has expanded into former Circuit City space.
38155000 Katy Mills Circle Katy, TXJuly 24, 2008-March 2009 Katy Mills Mall location was a las ditch rebranding known as "The City" now a Ross.
3579100 Meyerland Plaza Mall Houston, TX2005?-March 2009 Part of Meyerland Plaza, now a Best Buy 2010-Present
351920465 US Hwy 59, Humble, TXOctober 1994-February 2008 Now subdivided between Robert's Carpet, Scrubs Etc, and Safelite who uses the auto install bays.
32531455 Lake Woodlands Dr The Woodlands, TX -March 2008 Now The Container Store, was refronted during conversion. Never had disctinct Circuit City features.
43123270 Gulf Fwy League City, TX-November 8, 2008 Closed prior to bankruptcy
325416734 Southwest Fwy Sugar Land, TX-March 2009 Now Party City
38561001 Bay Area Blvd, Webster, TXSeptember 2007-March 2009 Built as Venture in 1994, became Kmart 1997. Vacant after Bankruptcy, now a Party City
41503931 Fairway Plaza Dr, Pasadena, TX2007-March 2009 Now a Conn's Home Plus
385720131 US-59 #8 Humble, TXFebruary 2008-March 2009 Deerbook Mall, Built as Mervyn's, later Total Home Furniture, now Forever 21.
42379714 Katy Fwy Houston, TX 77055The City location meant to open November 2008. Likely never opened maybe a month at most, became CompUSA/Tiger Direct, now Nordstrom Rack


  1. I was there in the beginning. I was hired at a job fair at a Holiday Inn on the Gulf Freeway, and was assigned to the Baybrook store. After we went through training with Clyde and Angel, we went to the stores to start setting them up. Although I spent most of my time setting up Baybrook, we moved around as needed prior to the opening, and I spent several days on the road going to the other 4 to help prep for the grand opening. It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work.

  2. The Circuit city in North Shore next to Greens Bayou stayed open a little longer than 2003. I got my 2nd gen Ipod Nano from there on my birthday back in April of 2007. I also got my old Motorola RAZR from the Verizon that was inside the store in October of 2007. I want to say it closed in either 08 or 09.

  3. There used to be a circuit city in Pasadena, TX. Bought my TV from them years ago when they were going out of business and TV was still working I just finally upgraded to a bigger screen so its easier on my old eyes at night.

  4. I worked seasonal at the San Felipe store in Houston the year XBox 360 debuted. It was around black friday and complete pandemonium. One morning we opened the store early after being surprised by the late Barbara Bush. The employees were hurrying to their stations, hoping to catch a glimpse. It was a surreal experience. Hard to believe these stores are all gone now.

    1. She lived right up 610! I’ve heard that the Bush family would shop at Rice Epicurean. Although, I’m not sure how much truth there is to that.

      1. IIRC, they lived right off S Post Oak Lane! The Bushes were noted Tanglewood residents; We had regulars at a previous job who were their neighbors, which I still think is wild to think about

      2. I recall seeing a report on the Bushes on one of the local news stations in the mid 1990s that showed clips of them shopping (secret service in tow) at one of Rice’s Price Buster Foods stores. Perhaps that is not an entirely true memory, my 10-ish year old mind may have conflated two adjacent but separate reports involving the Bushes and local grocery stores, but I do vividly recall thinking at the time that it was really weird that the Bushes would shop at Price Buster Foods.