Minimax

Information on this page is scant. Minimax is not a well documented subject on the internet, and being as I came to existence after the well after the heyday of Minimax, I’m not the most informed on the subject. Despite this, I still have compiled what I have been able to find while researching. If you have any information you’d like to share on the subject, please leave it in a comment below!

Minimax was one of Houston’s older local grocery stores. Competitors at the time included Henke & Pilot (who would later be bought by Kroger), and Wiengarten. Unlike previously mentioned chains Minimax operated stores under a franchise system. To help encourage early expansion, franchise rights were offered to existing grocery stores wanting to join the Minimax brand. Franchisees enjoyed a great degree of freedom, with many even keeping the original name of their business in front of Minimax. As is evident by the advertisement for Mondrik’s Minimax Below.

This location was known as Kyle’s Minimax It had also operated as a Gerland’s.

As far as grocery chains go, the franchise model never really caught on with company owned stores winning out. Large scale Super Markets began to pop up in Houston during the late 60s with Henke & Pilot being converting to Kroger, and Safeway beginning their first expansion. Convince and lower prices began to win customers over to Super Markets. Minimax managed to survive until the 1980s, and some locations may have made it into the 90s. However, this was at a reduced presence compared to the statewide locations the chain had previously held. Many of the buildings still stand. However, very few if any still operate as full fledged grocery stores. Mostly due to the small nature of the original Minimax locations.

An Austin location from 1956.
Taken From: Douglass, Neal. Crestview Minimax Food Mart, photograph, August 15, 1956; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth33127/: accessed April 10, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.

As of 2018, most of Houston’s original grocery stores are remembered in some way. Weingartens continues to own and manage many of their former properties and the shopping centers they occupy. Henke & Pilot has become the name of a trendy Gastropub. While Minimax has been left to the wind. With only a single somber reminder. Minimax Drive, a road leading to the now demolished Distribution Center East of the also abandoned Northwest Mall.

Address
Notes
1204 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77006Likely original location. Built around 1930 still standing now a Slick Willie's Pool Hall
1019 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77006Open by 1950 Store #1
12661 Market Street Rd, Houston, TX 77015Built 1950 Store #2
711 W Gray St Houston, TX 770191950 Store #4
620 W. Shaver Street, Pasadena, TX 775061950
5472 Bellaire Blvd Bellaire, TX 77401Opened in 1960 when Beldens converted originally 5101 Bellaire
5550 North Freeway Houston, TX 77076 Martin’s Minimax now a 99 Cents Only Store
1728 W Mt Houston Rd Houston, TX 77038Clayton's Minimax Opened 1978 still open in 1983
2601 Cartwright Rd Missouri City, TX 77459Hopper's Minimax Open in 1986, possibly in 1992. Previously a Gerland's now a gym.
1719 Garth Rd Baytown, TX 77520Texas Superfoods Minimax now a furniture store.
1411 Ahrens St Houston, TX 77017Womack's Minimax
1285 Pinemont Dr Houston, TX 77018Kingmart Minimax now HCC Northeast
1001 S Broadway St La Porte, TX 77571La Porte Holiday Foods Minimax
2801 Palmer Hwy Texas City, TX 77590Texas Superfoods (Did not use Minimax Name)
1201 Strawberry Rd Pasadena, TX 77506Kingmart Minimax demolished after 2013 for a Stripes
820 S Oak St La Marque, TX 77568Texas Superfoods (Did not use Minimax Name)
8622 Irvington Blvd Houston, TX 77022Carmona's Minimax
2540 E Broadway St Pearland, TX 77581Pearland Minimax
12512 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX 77072Ferguson's Minimax
18518 Kuykendahl Rd Spring, TX 77379Wheat's Minimax
1813 Center St Deer Park, TX 77536Plaza Minimax
2555 Gessner Rd Houston, TX 77080Kyle's Minimax was previously a Gerland's

Reader Comments

  1. worked at kyles minimax 2555 gessner from 1986-1987 promptly closed about 1 month after the super safe way opened on hammerly and gessner. I was 15 when I started working started at 3.35 was making 4.00 hr when it closed many a good memories from that place

    1. That Safeway was one of the few successful locations. Kroger bought it along with the one at I-10 and Echo Lane. They continue to run the stores to this day, as slightly higher class Krogers.

    2. I read that it was Gerland’s for a while, but it was definitely a grocery store. Never was a huge fan of Hammerly/Gessner’s Kroger. The store was very similar to the former Safeway in Bryan Texas (now gutted for an Aldi and an trampoline park, but served as an independent for many years) in the fact the bakery and deli was in the center of the store, but even worse in the Hammerly/Gessner store, essentially creating two “mini-stores” that were difficult to get to. I liked the Echo Lane/Katy Kroger as it was easy to get to and access when the Bunker Hill H-E-B was packed.

  2. We had a Minimax in Edna, Texas (100 miles southwest of Houston on US 59) back in the 60’s-70’s. Sprung’s Minimax, as it was known, was owned and operated by Max Sprung, a local Jewish businessman. My mother shopped there frequently and I once met Don Mahoney and Jeana Clare at Sprung’s Minimax on one of their tours. Cherished memories!

  3. The Minimax on Cartwright was there until around 92 and changed to Foodarama. Foodarama then moved down Cartwright when Randall’s moved out.

    I like this blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.