Minimax was a grocery franchise system with roots in Brenham, Texas. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find information online about the chain in general. Based on what little I can find Minimax seems to have offered self-service dry goods and groceries starting with a few stores in Brenham and other central Texas towns. The chain was founded by Eugene A. Eversberg, and around. The “Minimax Patended System” designed by Eversberg, included self-service customer displays, showcases, and even things like hand baskets. All of these items would be patented to license the concept to independent grocers wishing to switch to self-service. Minimax opened a few branch locations, eventually finding a new owner in the Schumacher Company, an early wholesaler.
E.A. Eversberg, who still held the national franchise rights to Minimax, moved to Houston to attempt and build up the chain. The new Houston store was run by assistant manager C.T. Newton. As was customary at the time meat sales were handled by independent butchers, Moss and Foster, who were considered to be the premier butchers of Houston’s City Market moved their operations to the new Minimax. The pharmacy was also operated by an independent company, Austin Pharmacy, it seems that the pharmacy sublet some of its space to a barbershop. The Minimax and Meat Market were all in a shared space, with the barber and pharmacy separate.
This new style of all-in-one grocery shopping managed to quickly win over customers who were used to shopping either in open-air markets or small specialty shops. Convenience and the addition of air conditioning by the late 30s helped to make these stores a success. Under the leadership of Mr. Eversberg, Minimax would expand to 4 locations. The oldest stores in the chain would also be updated to “modern” streamlined grocery stores by the end of the 30s. In 1940 Eversberg would again sell his stores to the Schumacher Company, which had expanded its distribution network into Houston. This time, Eversberg would also sell the remaining national franchise rights to Schumacher. He would remain on briefly as a manager, until being drafted into the National Guard during WWII. Under the new ownership of the Schumacher Co, the company would continue to build supermarkets.
Minimax continued to be the dominant leader in grocery throughout the 50s when franchised-owned supermarkets began to pop up in Houston. Minimax managed to hold its own during the late 60s with Henke & Pilot being converting to Kroger, and Safeway beginning their first expansion. Rather than the large supermarkets of their competitors, they offered local grocery stores. With IGA being basically wiped out in Houston in favor of Minimax. As a chain Minimax managed to survive until the 1980s, and some franchise locations made it into the 90s. However, this was at a reduced presence compared to the statewide stores 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.
As of 2018, most of Houston’s original grocery stores are remembered in some way. Weingartens continues to own and manage many of its 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.
|1200 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006||1931-1937 Original store, Relocated|
|1019 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77006||1937-1972 Company Owned, Relocation of First Store, Recently Demolished, HPB|
|5216 Almeda Rd, Houston, TX 77004||1932-1949 Company Owned, Former Alexander-Bale Store, Recently Demolished, Walgreens still there|
|1105 East 11th Street, Houston, TX||1935-1948 Company Owned, Sold to independent operates as Bill's, Later Thrifty|
|Milam St & Gray St, Houston, TX 77002||Company Owned,|
|1001 S Broadway St La Porte, TX 77571||La Porte Holiday Foods Minimax, La Porte Minimax 1979|
|1019 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77006||Store #1, Company Owned December 18, 1931-, Jamail's 1953, Florian's #3 1955, 1967|
|10341 Palestine St Houston, TX 77029||Martin & Wallace Minimax 1953, McBride Minimax 1955, 1959|
|1117 Bayou Rd La Marque, TX 77568||Texas Super Minimax 1981|
|1153 Kingwood Dr Kingwood, TX 77339||Kingwood Minimax 1976, 1981|
|11530 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX 77072||Brays Forest Minimax 1976, 1979|
|1201 Strawberry Rd Pasadena, TX 77506||Strawberry Minimax 1967, Kingmart Minimax 1976, 1979 demolished after 2013 for a Stripes|
|1204 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77006||Likely original location. Built around 1930 still standing now a Slick Willie's Pool Hall|
|1238 W 43rd St Houston, TX 77018||Florian's #1 Minimax 1955, 1967|
|12512 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX 77072||Ferguson's Minimax/Bellford Crossing Minimax 1981|
|12661 Market Street Rd, Houston, TX 77015||Built 1950, 1953 Store #2, Handy-Dandy Minimax 1959|
|1285 Pinemont Dr Houston, TX 77018||King Mart Minimax, 1976, 1979, 1981 now HCC Northeast|
|1301 Wayside Dr, Houston, TX 77023||Angle & Lynch Minimax 1953, Angle's Minimax 1955|
|1303 Ella Blvd, Houston, TX 77008||Continental #2 Minimax 1967|
|13815 S Post Oak Rd Houston, TX 77045||Allen's Minimax 1967|
|1411 Ahrens St Houston, TX 77017||Womack's #1 Minimax 1953, 1967, 1979|
|1424 Spring Cypress Rd Spring, TX 77373||Spring Minimax 1976, 1979|
|1719 Garth Rd Baytown, TX 77520||Texas Superfoods 1979,1981 Now a furniture store.|
|1728 W Mt Houston Rd Houston, TX 77038||Clayton's Minimax Opened 1978 still open in 1983|
|1813 Center St Deer Park, TX 77536||Plaza Minimax|
|18518 Kuykendahl Rd Spring, TX 77379||Wheat's Minimax/Village Green Minimax 1981|
|2014 Clinton Dr Galena Park, TX 77547||Whisenant's Minimax 1953|
|219 N Taylor St Alvin, TX 77511||Stanton's Minimax 1967, 1979, 1981 Still Open without the Minimax name!|
|220 West Sterling Pasadena, TX||Whisenant's Minimax 1955|
|2410 Bay Area Blvd, Houston, TX 77058||Barne's Minimax 1981|
|2540 E Broadway St Pearland, TX 77581||Pearland Minimax 1967/Texas Super Minimax 1981|
|2555 Gessner Rd Houston, TX 77080||Kyle's Minimax was previously a Gerland's|
|2601 Cartwright Rd Missouri City, TX 77459||Hopper's Minimax Open in 1986, possibly in 1992. Previously a Gerland's now a gym.|
|2728 Texas Ave Texas City, TX 77590||Texas Super Minimax 1979|
|2801 Palmer Hwy Texas City, TX 77590||Texas Superfoods (Did not use Minimax Name)|
|2902 N Shepherd Dr Houston, TX 77008||Minimax No 11 1953, Florian's #2 Minimax 1955, 1967|
|302 Winkler Dr, South Houston, TX 77587||Hord's Minimax 1955, Florian's #4 Minimax 1959|
|3020 Little York Rd, Houston, TX 77093||Little York Minimax 1967|
|3102 Milam St Houston, TX 77006||Store #3 1935-?|
|3421 Spencer Hwy Pasadena, TX 77504||Popp-Jones Minimax 1967|
|3910 Aldine Mail Rte Rd Houston, TX 77039||Continental Minimax 1976|
|405 South Park||Womack's #2 Minimax 1959|
|4520 Holmes Rd Houston, TX 77033||J.D. Jamail Minimax (Inside King Center) 1953, 1955, King Center Minimax 1959|
|519 Jackson Ave Pasadena, TX 77506||A&G Minimax 1979, 1981|
|5109 Fulton St Houston, TX 77009||Joe Di Chiara Minimax 1955|
|Demolished after 2011 Company Owned July 30, 1932-||Company Owned July 30, 1932-|
|5321 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77056||Minimax Foodliner 1955, Lamar Terrace Minimax 1959|
|5472 Bellaire Blvd Bellaire, TX 77401||Bellaire Minimax 1959|
|5550 North Freeway Houston, TX 77076||Martin’s Minimax now a 99 Cents Only Store|
|5817 W Airport Blvd Houston, TX 77035||Westbury Minimax 1967, Barne's Westbury Minimax 1976, 1979|
|603 S Friendswood Dr Friendswood, TX 77546||K.U. Davis Minimax 1967? Mitchell's Minimax 1979|
|620 W. Shaver Street, Pasadena, TX 77506||1950|
|6919 Jensen Dr Houston, TX 77093||Coleman's Minimax 1955,1967|
|6935 W Bellfort Blvd Houston, TX 77035||Wynn-Warren Minimax 1967|
|711 W Gray St Houston, TX 77019||1950 Store #4|
|7925 Katy Fwy Houston, TX 77024||Continental #1 Minimax 1967|
|820 S Oak St La Marque, TX 77568||Texas Superfoods Minimax 1981|
|850 Maxey Rd Houston, TX 77013||Maxey Rd Minimax 1981|
|8540 Broadway St Pearland, TX 77584||Dell's Minimax 1979|
|8622 Irvington Blvd Houston, TX 77022||Carmona's Minimax 1967, 1979, 1981|
|9101 Long Point Rd Houston, TX 77055||Miller's Minimax 1955|
|Alta Loma, TX||Tombrella Minimax 1967, Santa Fe Minimax 1979|
|Cleveland, TX||Cleveland Minimax 1981|
|Conroe, TX||Barber's Minimax 1953|
|Dickinson, TX||Bayshore Minimax 1967|
|1535 Elton St Houston, TX 77034||Freeway Manor Minimax 1959, 1967|
|Ganado, TX||Kucera's Minimax 1953|
|Livingston, TX||William's Minimax 1953|
|Leauge City, TX||Snell's Minimax 1967|
|Memorial Drive at West Belt||Wynn-Warren Minimax 1967|
|20 Highway 59 Porter, TX||Porter Minimax Highway 59 at FM 1314 Possibly where Big Lots is?|
|Richmond, TX||Love's Minimax 1953|
|Uvalde at I-10 East||Wynn-Warren Minimax 1967|
|Wharton, TX||Sansing & Smith Minimax 1953|
Don’t for get the Minimax on 10590 Fuqua St. The zip code back then was 77034. It was located across the street from Beverly Hills Intermediate school during the early 1970s.
After school some of the kids would head to the Minimax for candy, cokes and a little shoplifting.
Does anyone have any pictures of the Forest Oaks Thrifty Mart at 5420 Allendale ?
There was also a minimax in Alta Loma Tx. Which is now Santa Fe tx. The building is still here and serves at City Hall .
There was also a MINIMAX location in North town Plaza at Tidwell and I-45N back in the late 80’s-early 90’s. It was taken over from Randall’s when they moved out to West Rd & I-45N.
I have vague memories of going to Minimax at West Belt near Memorial with my mother after we moved to the area in 1969. I have similar vague memories of the Globe department store just north at West Belt and I 10.
Yes, that Minimax faced West Belt (back when it was in fact a divided highway with a green belt in the center). Proceeding north from the corner of Memorial Drive and West Belt where there was a gas station, there was an L-shaped strip center with Panjo’s Pizza and some other shops including, I think, Logos Bookstore. Then came Minimax. On its north side was SupeRx drugs (they had a tube tester!). Later Minimax was Continental Finer Foods and SupeRx … I think maybe an early Walgreens? On the North/opposite end of the Minimax parking lot, basically where Einstein Brothers bagels is now, was James Coney Island.
After Town & Country Village was demolished and redeveloped, the JCI ended up on the north side of Kimberly instead. It’s closed now, I think.
Worked at Ferguson Minimax in Alief TX. 1986 . (Bellaire and Dairy Ashford) Howard Ferguson was my manager/owner ,steve wilson asst manager
My dad was Bill Florian who had the stores on 43rd and N. Shepherd. My uncle’s were also involved with those stores plus another on Westheimer and maybe another location. This was in the 50’s and 60’s. There was Charlie, Gus, Eddie, Joe, and Raymond, who located to California. I worked at the 43rd location in the mid 60’s. Nothing but great memories of the employees there. My dad loved them.
Interesting, glad to have a Florian comment here! Have any old photos or memories of the stores you want to share?
Yes. Joe Florian’s wife Winnie was my grandmother’s cousin. I’m trying to find photos of them. I met them when I was a kid in the 1970’s.
I lived next door to Joe and Winnie from 1950 to 1955 on Delmar St. Joe started me working at his Minimax location on the Gulf Freeway in March 1955 sacking groceries for tips because I was too young (11) for hourly wage. They were great people and Winnie was very beautiful. I remember when he bought her a new 1957 Pontiac Bonneville.
Remember the Florian’s house on W 43rd. Always decorated to the nth degree for Christmas!
Do you know who owned the Minimax located at Homestead and Parker in Houston?
Minimax supermarkets chain was in Havana, Cuba in 50’s.
Interestingly I believe the Cuba Minimax locations were unrelated to the Texas based stores.
I think the 6935 W Bellfort Blvd location was actually 6935 Bellfort, not far from Hartman Jr. High. Google maps shows a huge paved area near that location, and I remember a large grocery store at that location in the 60’s. It was a good sized strip center with a Minimax (as I recall). Thanks for maintaining this site. It’s fun to take another stroll down memory lane.
Good catch! My Minimax list has been somewhat neglected, but I’ll update this one. Glad you’re enjoying it!
I worked at Kingwood Minimax in the early ’80’s. Had my picture taken with Aldo Cella from the Cella wine commercials.
I also did an “I Dream of Jeannie” commercial for Kingwood Kasuals a few years later, which showed on MTV.
Damn I bet you’re still hott!
You would be right!
Great fun to read these remembrances . Who remembers Piggly Wiggly on Main @ Dryden or Henkes during WW2 . Madings Drugs in the 50s and 60s? Saturday Fun Club movies at Village Theater?
Here’s another Minimax to add to the location list, but this is one that didn’t last very long. There was a Minimax under the Texas Super Foods banner that opened in 1983 at 10909 Scarsdale Boulevard. Texas Super Foods was the banner Minimax was using for some of their bigger, newer stores such as the one in Texas City. By some point in 1984, the store had already changed hands and was then operating as a Holiday Foods location. I’m not sure how long the Holiday Foods operation lasted, but the location eventually became what it is now, a Hong Kong Food Market.
All of that information may not seem all that remarkable, but what is really odd is that the Hong Kong Food Market has some very vintage interior decor, at least based on Google Maps images, and some of it might date back to the 1983 Texas Super Foods or, at the very least, the Holiday Foods. You can see the photos of the store on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/fCQBtTrFM4QzG8Hm9
I remember Randall’s also using aisle markers quite similar to those in the early 1980s. I’m not sure if those aisle markers were used by Texas Super Foods/Holiday Foods or what. It might have been a generic design that was used by various independent grocers at the time, I don’t know.
You might think that Hong Kong Food Market is odd enough, but the supermarket oddities in that area don’t stop there. The ex-Safeway/AppleTree/Gerland’s across the street that is now a Food Town has Food Lion decor in it! I don’t think Food Lion ever operated out of that spot, but I could be wrong. My best guess is that Food Lion was getting some signage updates done at some of their former locations that really were ex-Food Lions and had the sign makers use that same Food Lion for that ex-Safeway location. That’s just a guess. Link to the Food Town: https://goo.gl/maps/FgW6xWNHuyCJeiae9
FWIW, the Alief Hong Kong Food Market also has Food Lion-like decor. I can only guess that, like the Food Town above, Hong Kong Food Market had their sign makers make decor similar to what is in their Veterans Memorial location that is in an old Food Lion. Link: https://goo.gl/maps/4khbM3ehntTg6vTFA
Since these independent Houston grocers are using other grocer’s former decor, maybe some other independent Houston grocer will bring back Kroger’s Bauhaus design since that was really neat. Wait, what?! Someone did…and is using old Kroger Millennium aisle markers as well! Link: https://goo.gl/maps/1xJviTHLtGdLbAVd9
Here’s a little bit more about the Scarsdale Minimax Texas Super Foods. I found a 1983 issue of a South Belt Leader newspaper online which has an ad for the Texas Super Foods. In it, they compare their prices on 200 popular grocery items with that found in Houston Kroger, Safeway, and Eagle stores. This is pretty neat, it does go to show what kind of pricing advantage Kroger had over Safeway on nearly everything on the list. If someone compared 2021 Kroger prices to Randall’s prices, I suspect some of the percentage differences between Kroger and Randall’s (Safeway/Albertsons) might well be similar to what they were in 1983!
Here’s the link to that ad. It spills over to the next page in the newspaper, but you can easily navigate to the next page from the link: https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth912804/m1/10/
Here’s another Texas Super Foods ad from a South Belt Leader issue from about a month prior discussing the Grand Opening specials for the store. In this ad, you can quite clearly see that the Minimax logo was associated with the Texas Super Foods banner. https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth912808/m1/10/
Anyway, I found this to be really neat and I’m sure you and your readers might find it to be neat as well.
I remember in the mid 1970’s there was a small Minimax store on Fuqua (near corner of Beamer Rd) close to Dobie High School
which is about 5 minutes down the road from the Scarsdale store you talked about
No comments about Weingarten’s? They were a decent sized chain in the Houston area during the Oil Boom times. The company sold off their supermarkets and focused instead on real estate.
I do have some information on Weingarten’s that I’m working on.
minimax at 2603 carthwright was food a rama, before moving to 1603.
minimax on westheimer @ kirkwood became heb, after sports authority, now sprouts.
Thanks. The Minimax on Westheimer and Kirkwood became a Jumbo food market, prior to becoming an HEB. It was briefly a sporting goods store and is now occupied by a Sprouts.
That location opened up as a Gerlands back in the mid 70’s then changed to Minimax then Foodarama. Foodarama moved down the street to 1603 which used to be a Randalls location back in the 80’s
My Uncle Joe Florian and his brother owned and operated 2 Florian’s Minimax stores in Houston, addresses unknown. I am trying to find out through my cousin and I will repost . Thank you, Mike!
Let me know once you find them, I’ll add them to the list and add a note about your uncle. Glad to stir up some memories!
I’m working on the Houston history section for Groceteria.com right now and I can tell you that in 1959, there were four Florian’s Minimax stores listed in the city directory: 1238 43rd St, 2902 N Shepherd Dr, 1019 Westheimer Rd, and 302 Winkler Dr.
Florian’s Minimax # 2 – 2902 North Shepherd Drive, Houston, Texas 77008
Florian’s Miniman # 1 – 1238 West 43rd Street, Houston, Texas 77018
My dad was Bill Florian, Joe’s brother.
There was a Minimax in the Town and Country shopping center in what is now the Memorial area of Houston, zip code 77024, in the early 70’s. My mom shopped there every week. I have very fond memories of going shopping with her there when I wasn’t in school.
Love your blog!
Minimax is on my list of articles to update. Thank you for your kind words, I’ll keep an eye out for the Town and Country location!
There was also a Minimax at Hiram Clarke and West Orem Dr. during the late 60s an early 70s
I worked at this minimax from 1973 to 1975 as a bag boy. I remember the managers name was Jimmy Wong, and the owner was Hobart Brown, lots of good times all of my friends work there as well
I worked at that Minimax as a sacker/carry-out in Town & Country when I was in high school, sometime between 1966-1970. I went to Westchester High School by the way. My boss at Minimax was named Oscar and always called on me to do “special projects,” like cleaning behind a refrigeration unit. Yuck. Getting a 50 cent piece for a tip was huge…..and a lot of money back then….at least for a kid in high school. The first time I heard Abbey Road by The Beatles was when I was walking into that Minimax, and I was transfixed.
Also, late one night, me and 2 other guys sat in the parking lot drinking Boone’s Farm wine, after eating pizza. Not a good ending to that story. I couldn’t eat pizza again for 20m years.
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.
Thank you for the info! I’ll be sure to add it. Also happy to hear you like the blog!
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!
That was my grandfather. I’m a Sprung! my dad grew up in Edna. I did too, at my grandpa Max’s ranch on 822, almost to Yoakum.
Remember those in La Marque and Texas City. Still have one empty and one full Minimax Maxi-Bucks stamp Collectors Certificates
I worked at the one in Texas City that was on Palmer Hwy, and the one that was in LaMarque. I was the Manager when those we’re closed and went out of business. When they decided to shut them down I went from one to the other getting them prepared and getting everything sold off. Including the freezer. So I mover from one Texas Super MiniMax to another till we were all shut down and the ones that they had owned the buildings were sold. I remember starting as a sacker and carrying out paper sacks of groceries out to people’s cars and telling them have a great day thank you for shopping at Texas Super MiniMax please come again. Wow this has brought back some memories. I know the location on Palmer highway is a church and it had a couple other store in it but they didn’t last long. The building sat empty a long time. I’m glad this article was written it has brought back good times reading it. And thanks for remembering those stores Tim. I have often wondered if others remembered them and if they had good memory of them as I do. It was a sad day at each store the day I turned off all the power and walked out each ones doors locking them for the final time and I have to admit it does bring back a tear or two recalling those final days at each if the Texas Super MiniMax and the Texas Super Foods location.
I remember you from the Texas City store.
Did that store nor become a Ronnie’s afterwards?
It became a furniture and appliance store, then a church. Last I was there it was empty.
There was a Minimax at Ella and Grovewood across from Sinclair Elementary School.
There was a minimax on Fuqua & Beamer in southeast Houston
Thanks, I’ll add it to the list!
The Minimax on Cartwright Rd was open back in 1985. With Safeway in the same shopping center. Safeway would close it’s doors in 1987. I use to shop there when I was 5 years old with my mom. That and Safeway. There was a liquor store next door.
I remember Minimax on Cartwright. I shopped their back in the eighties. It was a Gerlands back in the 70’s then a Minimax and then turned into a Foodarama. The Safeway was on TX Pkway and Independence.
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
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.
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.
On Ahrens Street in Southeast Houston, Oak Meadows/Forest Oaks/Allendale area.
That’s where my family shopped in the 50s, 60s.