AppleTree Markets

Safeway Leaves Texas

The story of AppleTree Markets starts with a story of failure. Specifically, the failure of the Texas Division of Safeway. Safeway first entered into Texas by way of the North and West Texas markets in the 1920s and 30s by buying out existing chains in DFW and El Paso and re-branding them as Safeway. By the 1940s Safeway was building their own stores with a goal of filling in all their gaps in service areas, and by the 1970s Safeway was operating almost everywhere in Texas except for San Antonio and South Texas. The stores were split across three divisions, DFW, Houston and El Paso. Any stores that didn’t obviously fall into these divisions, such as Austin, would be served by the division they were closest to, with some Panhandle locations seemingly belonging to their Oklahoma Division. Texas was a relatively strong state for Safeway, as they were a well known company with multiple locations. The stores were also tailored to fit the communities, with some smaller towns choosing to simply expand their Marina stores, and large towns usually getting brand new 24 Hour Superstore locations. Everything at the time looked great for the future of Safeway in Texas, until the chain began to experience larger issues.

By the 1980s, on the brink of international and domestic expansion campaigns, the profitable, but cash poor, public company was putting themselves at risk of a hostile takeover. In July of 1986 Safeway’s worst fears came true when Dart Group announced their intents to force a hostile takeover of the company. Much of Safeway’s most recent expansion had been financed through loans which put the company into debt, this debt meant Safeway would not be able to prevent another company from buying a majority share of their own stocks. It looked like if the Dart group got their hands on Safeway, they likely liquidate some or all of the chain to earn their money back, as Dart had done to multiple other companies in the past. To prevent this from happening, a month later in August 1986 Safeway made the decision to accept a buyout bid from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), who intended to acts as “white knights”. This meant that the chain would not be liquidated however, they would still need to immediately reduce their debt load.

As soon as the sale with KKR closed, it became apparent that the easiest way to shed debt was to sell unprofitable divisions. Safeway had already established a practice of disposing of entire divisions which they considered to be underperforming. In February 1987, only months after the takeover scare, Oklahoma was announced as the first division to either be closed or sold by Safeway. In a very similar story to AppleTree just over 100 stores along with offices and distribution center were sold to management and a private equity firm. These stores would be rebranded as “Homeland” and experienced very similar financial issues, mostly stemming from debt that was pushed from Safeway to the new chain, going bankrupt by 1994. By March 1987 the next division on the chopping block was Utah, these stores would be sold to the Borman Family, owners of Farmer Jack’s grocery stores in Detroit. The retched condition, age, poor locations, and high price caused the Borman family to not only almost immediately sell off and close their Utah stores but also, forced them to sell their stores as in Detroit as well. The next division to receive the axe was DFW in April 1987, unlike Oklahoma and Utah, a buyer was not found for the entire division, so the stores were sold piece meal to competitors. At this point, rumors began to circulate that Houston was the next group of stores on the chopping block, while store management denied it, secret preparations were being made behind the scenes.

This location at Westheimer and Weslayan lasted as an AppleTree until 1994, prior to being sold to Rice.

One of the first attempts at prepping to spin off was to start paring back locations. This was helpful on two fronts, as a smaller store count would make things easier on the new chain, and it helped to pay down some of Safeway’s debt. From May to August, Safeway closed 42 stores through the Houston division, some of which would later reopen. While nothing had been made public yet the formation of AppleTree was taking place, with small clues like the use of the “99 Stores” count prior to reaching that number in a June 1987 ad. Based on revelations which came forward nearly 10 years after this all happened, it seems that Safeway Corporate may have had some push in the formation of AppleTree given the exact same circumstances arose with three other divisions (including Oklahoma).

Pushing forward to September 1987, Safeway’s Houston Division had just completed renegotiations with teamsters, and announced that their wage concessions would help ensure the division “remain[ed] part of the national Safeway chain”. The statement was made by a corporate representative for the division and was one of the first hints to future changes, looking back it’s likely that this renegotiation was only temporary to allow management time to gather funding for a buyout. In January of 1988, ads begin to feature Safeway “Budget Stores”, which were locations with no service departments, minimal selection, but lower prices than a normal Safeway. This was another hint at the upcoming changes for the Houston division. In June of 1988 the cover was finally blown, when Dean Gantt, President of the Houston Division, announced the buyout.

An AppleTree is Born!

Without a name, new image, or anything else really, a new company was born. Named Texas Supermarkets Inc, the plan was to operate 100 locations (shortly after dropped to 99), be mostly management owned, and regain market share lost by Safeway to Kroger and Randalls. However, in reality the company was highly leveraged with most ownership in banks and investment firms, with management owning around 2%. This division was also “too big for their britches” having a distribution center and milk and bread plants setup for 300 locations. During this time period, Texas Supermarkets could, and did, continue to use the Safeway name and logo. Throughout the remainder of 1988 the company also closed some stores under the Safeway banner to help meet that 99 store goal, and reopened some. Including 10902 Scarsdale, which seems was unplanned, bringing the store count back up to 100. Goodwill was also a goal improving their customer service guarantees in October 1988 and starting their famous “Apples from AppleTree” computer donation program, albeit without the name in January 1989.

In July 1989 the first public discussion of a name change took place. This included failed ideas like Texway, Texas Food Co, and Gantt Stores all thrown out in favor of AppleTree. This new name also came with a new logo, and color scheme incorporating White, Green, Red, and Blue. The new look was meant to be wholesome and minimalistic. However, the new branding came with a large price tag from a national firm, and was indicative of problems the company was about to experience. The rename came in after it was needed, and likely far over the original budget, and using a company mostly because they had an existing relationship with Safeway. During the months of July, August, September, and October of 1989 crews worked at a feverish pace to convert the stores from Safeway locations into AppleTree Supermarkets. For the most part it only involved converting signage, and a fresh coat of paint along the outside. During this time AppleTree had to pay to license the Safeway name and logo from their predecessors. In late October 1989 at the completion of the rebranding and without any prior notice, Michael Dean Gantt, CEO of AppleTree, and President of the Houston Safeway Division for ~30 years, suddenly retired. This action was very sudden and without any real explanation, the company was left scrambling as for what to do next. Fred R. Lummis, a Senior Vice President of Duncan Cook & Co, who was the main shareholder in the company, took over temporarily.

While the sudden retirement of M. Dean Gantt was a surprise to AppleTree it was far from a death blow to the company. Despite the massive amount of debt the company sat under from the buyout, they had strong cash flow, and their change in name to AppleTree had provided a boost in sales. By November 1989 AppleTree had managed to find a new CEO, Arthur Patch who had was hired away after working for Lucky Stores Inc and had previously worked with Safeway for over 20 years. AppleTree also continued their charitable actions, including constructing a “Market Exhibit” at the Houston Children’s Museum in early 1990. However, things would again become shaky within management, in March 1990 AppleTree had their first attempt at negotiating with the Houston grocery unions, while some people put the death of AppleTree directly on the unions, this is not the reality. The first set of negotiations went relatively well, following the same corporate Safeway mindset of cutbacks to improve the bottom line. Less than a month later in April, Stephen Cook, the President of Duncan Cook & Co, unexpectedly resigned from his position. Cook’s company had been one of the major driving forces in forming AppleTree. The local investment firm not only provided initial startup money, but helped to find other lenders to buy portions of the newly formed store. The company had originally owned about 30% of AppleTree, but by 1990 had trimmed back to around 20%. They were still the largest shareholder in AppleTree and had some amount of leverage over operations.

On the surface AppleTree maintained a happy smiling face, and made their best to attempts to chug on with business While all of their stores received a fresh coat of paint and new signage in 1989, no real remodels had taken place, despite this being a stated priority from essentially day one. In May 1990 AppleTree tried to put an end to this outdated image by starting to remodel one of their busiest locations. The store at 9325 Katy Freeway, was to be enlarged by nearly 20,000 square feet and it seems likely that plans may have been drawn up for this under Safeway as the completed location’s exterior is almost identical to some final Houston stores Safeway built. Despite the “new facade” AppleTree was beginning to feel more internal stress. This led to some very quiet store closings with 4 locations, 3 of them in Austin, closing in 1990.

The end of 1990, and beginning of 1991 were relatively non-eventful for AppleTree, at least nothing newsworthy, However by June of 1991 the company was beginning to strugle with paying off their loan, which was now mostly held by the Long Term Credit Bank of Japan. An interest payment of nearly $6 million was missed causing AppleTree to take out a $10 Million line of credit, to prevent bankruptcy. This effort would prove to be too little too late, as AppleTree would declare bankruptcy only a few months later in January 1992. This was not entirely without warning, as in the prior weeks some vendors for AppleTree stores had been asked to skip payments, and some had not been paid at all. Some stores were also beginning to run out of product which prompted AppleTree to immediately seek a loan from the Japanese Longterm Credit Bank. The new loan would be granted for $25 Million dollars while AppleTree’s debts had exploded to over $268 Million, with the original division purchase price in the range of $175 Million. The rest of the cash would have to be generated by selling off stores.

Bankruptcy Proceedings

Even with layers of issues piling up at AppleTree changes were being made to make to try and increase sales at the stores. A few new undertakings during bankruptcy included piloting Hot Dog Carts (formerly outside of Sam’s Club), adding parking lot Garden Centers, and in store coupon printers. During all these new developments, AppleTree continued quietly closing underperforming locations to sell off. Despite the companies best intentions to cover their money issues up, it quickly became apparent that it would be an uphill battle trying to emerge from such a massive bankruptcy. In March 1992, Arthur Patch who had been the second, and longest serving CEO of AppleTree resigned. In the article about Patch’s resignation, it says he made the choice to leave for personal reasons, and stresses that he was not pushed out (presumably by the banks). Although based on comments made once the banks were no longer involved, it seems that this was not fully true and that Patch may have refused to undertake changes and more specifically, budget and store cuts, requested by the banks. Upon Patch’s “departure” Fred Lummis of Stephen Duncan Cook & Co, who had previously served as interim CEO when Dean Gantt left was once again put in charge. One of his first tasks was the closing announcement for 5 more locations, bringing the total up to 15 stores that had all shutdown as AppleTree since 1990.

Less than a month later in April 1992 AppleTree’s financial issues took center stage again, as the company begged workers to accept cuts to benefits and wages. The cuts meant generally a reduction in salary but thousands of employees also risked loosing health insurance. While the company had made promises not to make under cuts under bankruptcy, it seems this may have been a “Patch era” message. Later that month AppleTree would take two big steps to help stave off bankruptcy. First they sought permission to sell 8 stores, 4 of these were in the Orange/Port Arthur area, and 4 were in Houston. These 4 Houston stores would mark the first major closures of locations in Houston since the AppleTree branding was completed. Second, AppleTree would also move out of the Safeway built, and owned Distribution Center and HQ. While the company had purchased the contents of the warehouses eg: Milk bottling equipment, Bread manufacturing lines, shelving etc… they were renting the spaces from Safeway for around $400,000/month.

After two months of bankruptcy proceedings in May 1992 AppleTree reorganized their company and restructured their debt. The chain announced they would shrink from 83 locations down to 50, by mostly closing stores outside of Houston. The Longterm Credit Bank of Japan who had been one of the largest initial investors in the company announced their intent to swap debt for stock in AppleTree. The company also took their union contract to the bankruptcy court to be nullified, to allow them to make wage changes without negotiations. By June 1992 the Union was threatening to strike if Union demands could not be matched by AppleTree. While employees had already been subjected to cuts, AppleTree’s plan to deal with a strike was to fire striking employees, and replace them. By July 1992 AppleTree was down to 59 locations and had received for approval to cancel union contracts and begin wage concessions. Union officials responded to this by asking customers to boycott the store prior to starting a strike. Within a few days Federal Mediators were sent in to help avoid a strike, as both sides agreed it would likely kill the company. Despite the assistance of professionals negotiations ground to a halt only a few days later. Issues the Union took with the new contracts included not only wages, but also hours given, days per week, insurances coverage, and non-reduced executive pay. With no progress Union leaders began a strike July 16, 1992. AppleTree executives took a very Safeway style corporate response hiring replacement workers as needed, and distributing manuals to managers explaining how to cut meat, deal with vandalism, and even disperse picketers.


During this time AppleTree’s P.R. was mainly focused on repairing their image. One of these attempts was the Molly Campaign

Despite all the preparations for a strike, few workers actually ended up out on the picket line. Sometimes union members were bussed in from other states, and occasionally “volunteers” un-related to AppleTree, were paid to join the picket lines. The union still felt the strike was effective, citing a drop in AppleTree’s number of shoppers and slowing of their sales. While things weren’t completely at the end of the line, the stores likely felt like a sinking ship to the remaining Safeway and Weingarten era employees. In 1992 dramatic new entries into the Houston grocery market included the short lived Food Lion, along with H-E-B Pantry Foods who purchased the former AppleTree Milk and Bread plants along with the Distribution Center and HQ from Safeway. Both of these chains while non-union, were opening new stores and were looking to hire experienced employees, for rates that were mostly comparable. This along with insurance lapses, showed how unsure AppleTree’s future looked. In September 1992 AppleTree sought permission for the Japanese Long Term Credit Bank to become their majority owner. This would be the final step in exiting bankruptcy, after shrinking down to 50 locations. The plan would be quickly approved by the other shareholders in the company, with the bank taking about 90% ownership.

Things Start to Get Spotty

For the first time in years things were beginning to look up for AppleTree, while the strike was still ongoing and Fred Lummis (of Duncan Cook & Co) was still CEO, a brand new $70 Million reinvestment campaign was started in October 1992. This was in addition to some innovative new advertising AppleTree had undertaken including a hot air balloon, and the Molly campaign. However, there was a lightly reported detail in the excitement of emerging from bankruptcy. At the time federal regulations did not allow an investment bank to own a business for more than two years. From the day AppleTree left bankruptcy the wheels were set in motion by the bank to try and sell the grocery store chain. Lummis would remain in charge of AppleTree for the remainder of the year. By January 5, 1993 AppleTree had a new CEO. I’m unsure if Lummis was forced out, but it seems that once he left the remaining office staff was either replaced or quit around this time. The new chairman, R. Howard Stanworth was a the former CEO of Pearle Vision, and had been chosen by the Japanese Bank. While he may have looked good on paper, most accounts I can find of his time at Pearle Vision point to massive layoffs, and his exit from the company may have not been his decision. To boot, he was English, and had spent a good portion of career working in Great Britain. Despite all this, one of the first things Stanworth was able to do was “officially” end the strike in September 1993. Despite this small goal, things were really beginning to unravel for AppleTree. With the increase in value driven grocers in the area, including the first appearance of Super Wal-Marts and Super KMarts around town AppleTree doubled down on their original “neighborhood grocer” concept. While it appeared that AppleTree had completely dropped Molly, and the customer suggestions route the reality was the bank was attempting to market AppleTree to be purchased by another chain. On November 16, 1993 in a somewhat surprise move AppleTree announced that they planned to sell of their remaining stores and go out of business.

In a secret transaction Randall’s had already purchased 12 stores, to form a base of operations for their expansions into Austin, and the surrounding I-35 corridor. By November 24 the company was able to find buyers for 30 of their 37 locations. The largest buyer was Kroger with 11 locations, Next was Fiesta with 4, then Rice, Randalls and Gerland’s all ending up with 3. Foodarama, Big Chief, and Stanley would also all buy one store. Finally months later in January 1994, HEB would purchase a single AppleTree in Brenham, despite earlier predictions from the Chronicle that they would purchase the remainder of the chain, to help expand their presence in the area. While the purchases were made and announced very quickly, most stores continued to operate as AppleTree for the remainder of the year. During this time AppleTree also closed their distribution center, and once again reduced their office staff. By August 1994 R.T. Kubieck, who had been with the company since the Safeway days purchased the six remaining AppleTree locations. He would operate the chain as an independent retaining offices in Houston, with a possible name change and eventual expansion plans likely on the table. In 1996 Gerland’s would purchase the Richmond Avenue AppleTree which was one of two remaining in the city. At this point the Huntsville location had also closed leaving the chain with the Stella Link store, and three locations in Bryan/College Station. By 1997 Mr. Kubieck finally made the decision for AppleTree to exit the Houston market just shy of 10 years after the buyout of the Houston Safeway division had been announced. Throughout the 2000s in the B/CS area, AppleTree would continue operations as 3 store chain, until 2004 after the decision was made to close the College Station store. However, with one store closed, another opened. Tony Kubieck purchased a closed Albertsons location, in Spring and began the process of converting it into the first ever “brand new” AppleTree. However, by the end of 2007 this location would be closed, with AppleTree back down to two locations in Bryan which would both close by 2009, putting a 20 year cap onto a hail mary attempt to save the Houston division of Safeway.

Location List

Store #
Address
Notes
#188206 N Catherine St, Terrell, TX 751601989-1992 One of the 10 Dallas Division stores, Marina store, Front facade renovated by Safeway
#2716825 Burnet Rd Austin, TX 787571989-1989 Closed as a Safeway (by AppleTree), Currently a Mazda Dealership
#529109 W Corsicana St, Athens, TX 757511989-1992 One of the 10 Dallas Division stores, Rennovated as Henderson County Judicial Complex
#530701 S Jackson St, Jacksonville, TX 757661989-1992 One of the 10 Dallas Division stores, Was later a Save-a-Lot location, demo'd 2018
#5534811 Wesley St, Greenville, TX 754011989-1992 One of the 10 Dallas Division stores, Currently Super1Foods, Safeway sign still standing
#541301 S. Chestnut, Lufkin TX 759011989-1992 Currently Brookshire Bros
#5421424 North St Nacogdoches, TX 759611989-1992 Subdivided Mostly CVS
#7011919 E Riverside Dr Austin, TX 787411989-1989 Closed as a Safeway (by AppleTree), Currently a Bingo Parlor
#7031500 W 35th St Austin, TX 787031989-1994 Currently Randalls
#7088040 Mesa Dr Austin, TX 787311989-1994 Currently Randalls
#711715 Exposition Blvd Austin, TX 787031989-1994 Recently Closed Randalls 2020
#7125335 Airport Blvd Austin, TX 787511989-1994 Demo'd 2011
#7132327 S 57th St, Temple, TX 765041989-1992 One of the 10 Dallas Division stores, Currently Super1Foods, Currently a gym
#7141725 S Texas Ave, College Station, TX 778401989-2004 Split between OfficeMax and Spec's
#715902 N Austin Ave Georgetown, TX 786261989-1992 Subdivided
#716804 W Braker Ln Austin, TX 787581989-1994 Northern Tool and Equipment
#7192101 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 787041989-1994 Subdivided CVS and Office Depot
#7216920 Menchaca Rd Austin, TX 787451989-1990 Sprouts
#7232025 W Ben White Blvd Austin, TX 787451989-1994 Currently Randalls
#7249411 N Lamar Blvd Austin, TX 787531989-1994 Likely HEB
#7263116 N Main St, Taylor, TX 765741989-1992 Exact Address listed as "Mallard Lane"
#7281112 N Interstate Hwy 35 Round Rock, TX 786811989-1992 Now Mr. Gatti's
#729601 E William Cannon Dr Austin, TX 787451989-1994 Now Melrose
#7303229 Bee Cave Rd Austin, TX 787461989-1994 Currently Randalls
#7312222 S Market St Brenham, TX 778331989-1994 Currently Vacant
#73211150 Research Blvd Austin, TX 787591989-1992, Closed During Bankruptcy, Subdivided Party City and Petsmart
#733200 W Hopkins St San Marcos, TX 786661989-1994 Currently HEB
#7356800 Berkman Dr, Austin, TX 787231989-1993 Currently El Rancho Was Randalls prior to 2011
#7362001 E State Hwy 21 Bryan, TX 778031989-2009 One of the final stores, subdivided La Michocana
#74513945 U.S. 183 Hwy, Austin, TX 787171989-1990 Currently Randalls
#7507125 New Sanger Rd, Waco, TX 767121989-1992 One of the 10 Dallas Division stores, Waco Cardiology Associates
#7512200 E Veterans Memorial Blvd, Killeen, TX 765431989-1994 Originally 2000 E Hwy 190, One of the 10 Dallas Division stores, Currently a Thrift Store, Previously a Hastings
#7541320 N 25th St, Waco, TX 767071989-1992 One of the 10 Dallas Division stores, Many different grocers since then, possibly HEB
#755120 S Waco St, Hillsboro, TX 766451989-1992 One of the 10 Dallas Division stores, Currently Super1Foods, Brookshire's recent remodel revealed circle logo labelscar.
#77719750 Interstate 45, Spring, TX 77373 2004-2007 Former Albertsons, only non-Safeway location, Opened by Tony Kubieck owner of B/CS locations
#9037645 Dashwood Dr Houston, TX 770361989-1989 Closed as a Safeway (by AppleTree), Currently a Beauty Supply
#9043745 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 770271989-1994, Sold to Rice Epicurean, Sold to Fresh Market, Subdivided currently Walgreens
#9115232 Aldine Mail Rte Rd Houston, TX 770391989-1989 First Budget Store, Closed as Safeway (by AppleTree)
#9171805 Ella Blvd Houston, TX 770081989-1994 Sold to Cox's Foodarama, also contains former Eckerd Space, Foodarama is set to moveout by 2022
#92211006 Airline Dr Houston, TX 770371989-1992
#9324614 NASA Road 1 Seabrook, TX 775861989-1994 Sold to Big Chief Supermarkets
#9332020 Fountain View Dr Houston, TX 770571989-1994 Sold to Rice Epicurean, Still operating, Somewhat resembles Safeway's original layout without departments, centeral freezers, etc.
#9349325 Katy Fwy Houston, TX 770241989-1994, Originally 9305, The only store to ever recieve a full remodel and expansion as AppleTree, Sold to Kroger who still operates this location
#9384805 Galveston Rd Houston, TX 770171989-1992 Budget Store
#9391116 E Mulberry St Angleton, TX 775151989-1992
#9431100 W Dallas St Conroe, TX 773011989-1994
#9462617 W Holcombe Blvd Houston, TX 770251989-1994 Sold to Rice Epicurean, Sold to Fresh Market, Sold to Total Wine, Still standing, remodeled but some original elments intact
#9474230 Decker Dr Baytown, TX 775201989-1992
#948115 E Boling Hwy Wharton, TX 774881989-1992
#949165 Oyster Creek Dr Lake Jackson, TX 775661989-1994, Sold to Stanley Stores,
#9513316 Avenue H Rosenberg, TX 774711989-1992
#95212638 Bissonnet St Houston, TX 770991989-1992
#9546742 Hillcroft St Houston, TX 770811989-1992
#9568710 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX 770361989-1994 Sold to Fiesta, Still operating, many original Safeway elements still intact, including the sign
#9579510 N Houston Rosslyn Rd Houston, TX 770881989-1992
#9594100 Fairmont Pkwy, Pasadena, TX 775041989-1994, Sold to Super Warehouse Foods
#9605 Uvalde Rd Houston, TX 770151989-1992
#9624124 7th St Bay City, TX 774141989-1992
#96413642 W Montgomery Houston, TX 770861989-1994, Sold to Kroger who quickly closed the store as they had a location catty corner
#96913811 Cypress N Houston Rd, Cypress, TX 774291989-1994, Sold to Gerland's Food Fair, now a Lewis Food Town, Still highly resembles a Safeway inside and out
#9701700 Jefferson Dr Port Arthur, TX 776421989-1994, Sold to Gerland's Food Fair, now a Lewis Food Town, Still highly resembles a Safeway inside and out
#9728801 9th Ave Port Arthur, TX 776421989-1992
#9735960 TX-105 Beaumont, TX 777081989-1992 Currently Market Basket
#9802028 N Main St Pearland, TX 775811989-1994 Sold to Randall's, operated until 1999 buyout (of Randall's) by Safeway, Subdivided between Big Lots and Office Depot
#9834705 Hwy 6 Houston, TX 770841989-1992
#98514900 Northwest Fwy, Houston, TX 770401989-1994, Sold to Kroger operated until 2005, now K1 Speed Go-Karts
#9882192 FM 2234, Missouri City, TX 774591989-1994
#9897510 W Bellfort Blvd, Houston, TX 770961989-1994 Sold to Fiesta, Still operating as of 2021
#99017503 Imperial Valley Dr Houston, TX 770601989-1992 Subdivided, First location in Houston to close
#9931990 Old Spanish Trail Houston, TX 770541989-1994, Sold to Kroger, Operated until property was sold in 2017 and store was demolished
#9982601 11th St, Huntsville, TX 773401989-1995
#10003210 FM 528 Rd Friendswood, TX 775461989-1992
#10037068 FM 1960 Humble, TX 773461989-1994
#10051509 W Church St Livingston, TX 77351989-1992
#10091109 Eldridge Rd, Sugar Land, TX 774781989-1994 Sold to Gerland's Food Fair, Currently a Church Now 1049 Eldridge
#101121155 Tomball Pkwy Houston, TX 770701989-1994 Sold to Randall's, operated until 1999 buyout (of Randall's) by Safeway, Was Stein Mart until 2020 Bankruptcy
#10129371 Richmond Ave Houston, TX 770631989-1996, Sold to Gerland's Food Fair admist changes in the neighborhood
#10145377 W Richey Rd, Houston, TX 770661989-1992 Champions Forest Plaza
#102110902 Scarsdale Blvd Houston, TX 770891989-1994 Closed by Safeway (California) in June '87 Reopened by AppleTree in September '88, Sold to Gerland's Food Fair, Currently Food Town
#10424501 I-35, Bellmead, TX 767051989-1992 One of the 10 Dallas Division stores, Currently Atwoods Ranch & Home
#10452300 Lohmans Crossing Rd, Lakeway, TX 787341989-1994 Possibly where Chair King is?
#10572300 N Gessner Rd Houston, TX 770631989-1994, Sold to Kroger still operating as of 2021
#11012535 9th Ave Port Arthur, TX 776421989-1992 Ex-Weingarten, Demolished
#11021938 W Gray St Houston, TX 770191989-1994, Ex-Weingarten, Sold to Kroger, Still operating as of 2021
#1103239 W 20th St Houston, TX 770081989-1994, Ex-Weingarten, Sold to Kroger, Still operating as of 2021
#11058620 Stella Link Rd Houston, TX 770251989-1998 Ex-Weingarten,
#11071352 W 43rd St Houston, TX 770181989-1994, Ex-Weingarten, Sold to Kroger, Still operating as of 2021
#1108435 Uvalde Rd Houston, TX 770151989-1990 Ex-Weingarten, Budget Store
#1110915 6th St N #6304, Texas City, TX 775901989-1992 Ex-Weingarten,
#11111019 S College Ave Bryan, TX 778031989-1992 Ex-Weingarten,
#11155130 Bellaire Blvd Bellaire, TX 774011989-1994 Ex-Weingarten, Randall's Until 2021
#11172409 Bay Area Blvd Houston, TX 770581989-1994 Ex-Weingarten, Sold to Kroger who moved out in the mid 2000s, location now subdivided by Goodwill
#11193803 Dunlavy St Houston, TX 770061989-1994 Ex-Weingarten, Sold to Fiesta, Demolished 2013 after HEB opened directly across the street
#11207061 Lawndale St, Houston, TX 770231989-1994 Ex-Weingarten, Sold to Fiesta, Sold in 2007 and subdivided by 99 Cent Only Store and La Michoacana
#11231175 Edgebrook Dr, Houston, TX 770341989-1992 Ex-Weingarten, Sold to Fiesta
#112511240 Fondren Rd Houston, TX 770711989-1992 Ex-Weingarten, Fiesta
#11267601 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 770631989-1992 Ex-Weingarten, Sold to Gerland's Food Fair, Currently a Ross
#1130939 Nederland Ave, Nederland, TX 776271989-1992 Ex-Weingarten, Exygon Health & Fitness Club
#11396450 Phelan Blvd, Beaumont, TX 777061989-1992 Likely Ex-Weingarten, Exygon Health & Fitness Club
#11418066 S Gessner Dr Houston, TX 770361989-1992 Ex-Weingarten,
#11421050 Federal Rd Houston, TX 770151989-1992 Ex-Weingarten,, Seller Bros
#11439701 Spencer Hwy, La Porte, TX 775711989-1994 Ex-Weingarten, Sold to Gerland's Food Fair, Became Lewis Food Town closed as of 2019
#114515152 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX 770831989-1992 Ex-Weingarten,
#11931760 Briarcrest Dr Bryan, TX 778021989-2009 One of the final stores, Aldi

9 comments

  1. was the safeway on scarsdale been food lion, from what i can tell from the inside, of the food town on scarsdale, it has the isles that were used in food lion.

    1. There definitely was a Safeway there! I don’t have my list to confirm but it may have been converted to AppleTree.

      1. HCAD records indicate that the Bellaire and Hillcroft Safeway’s ownership was transferred to Apple Tree in August of 1989. Fiesta Mart bought the store in 1993 after Apple Tree closed it, leasing the space to non-grocery tenants in order to keep competitors away from its store across Hillcroft, which was the top-performing Fiesta at the time. The property was sold again in late 2014, as the Levit family began the process of selling their core business, Grocer’s Supply, as well as their acquisitions like Fiesta.

  2. The Thrift store at 4705 Hwy 6 was a safeway in the early 80’s then became an Appletree. Not sure when it became the thrift store. The Go Kart place was a Kmart back in the 80’s early 90s too.

    1. After Apple Tree shut down it became Hobby Lobby for a number of years (1990’s-early 2000’s). Once Hobby Lobby opened the location at HWY 6 and 529 (near the current Wal-Mart) they closed the former Apple Tree location. Sometime in the late 2000’s it then became a thrift store.

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