Minimax

It all started with Piggly Wiggly

Minimax has a long and storied history in Houston and throughout Texas. The story starts with Brenham resident E.A. Eversberg. Mr. Eversberg had become a prominent businessman in Central Texas during the early 1900s. Previously a cadet at Texas A&M, Eversberg served both abroad at Camp Bowie during World War I. During the war, Eversberg had become familiar with self-service grocery, specifically, Piggly Wiggly, which he may have seen in Houston as early as 1917, only months after the concept had debuted in Memphis. Watching the chain multiply, Eversberg decided to cash in by franchising a store in his hometown of Brenham. In September 1919, E.A. Eversberg opened the first Piggly Wiggly franchise in Washington County. For ten years, Eversberg would operate the single store. He had recruited a butcher to lease space for a meat counter and had what could easily be considered the most modern grocery store Washington County at the time. With the growth of the Brazos Valley, Eversberg would open a second Piggly Wiggly in Brenham in 1928. The area would continue to explode with people looking to relocate from the Midwest to avoid the dustbowl. While Eversberg wanted to follow this growth, the Piggly Wiggly franchise sytem was strict about territory claims, regardless of wether or not anyone was actively building in that area. To remedy this, E.A. began courting other grocery franchises to try to get a jump on the competition. He would find his answer in Humpty Dumpty, an Oklahoma-based chain that was essentially a clone of Piggly Wiggly. Although he likely had the knowledge to recreate a Piggly Wiggly style system, extensive copyrights from the shelving down to the layout of the store made it nessecary to align with another company. Humpy Dumpty had specifically developed “stoop free shelving” and “bargain corners” on their own, making what the courts at least considered to be an independent system. Eversberg was so confident in Humpty Dumpty that he purchased master franchise rights for almost all of Texas.

In 1929, after ten years as a Piggly Wiggly operator, E.A. Eversberg announced he would flip his first Brenham store to a Humpty Dumpty. The store would be retrofitted to use the new Humpty Dumpty system, removing the old fixtures from Piggly Wiggly. Likely due to contractual reasons, Eversberg would continue to operate his second Piggly Wiggly as normal. As Humpty Dumpty master franchisee of Texas, it would be Eversberg’s responsibility to recruit new franchisees for Humpty Dumpty, in addition to operating his own store. In this role, Eversberg would be entitled to a percentage of the profits of each franchisee he signed. However, Eversberg made no money from the sales of fixtures to the new franchisees, which was a major source of cash needed to pay for advertising and other executive functions. Always the wise businessman, he began working on his own franchise system, including his own fixture manufacturing facility in Rockdale, Texas. In 1931, the first “Minimax” stores opened throughout small Texas towns. With Eversberg in control of the fixtures and royalties, he was able to set low rates and sign over planned Humpty Dumptys to his new Minimax System. Back in Brenham, when the butcher who leased space in Humpty Dumpty left his position to operate a Cafeteria, Eversberg decided to take over operations of the butcher counter, a rarity at the time. By this point, Eversberg owned more than a few Minimax and Humpty Dumpty locations throughout Central Teas, and it seemed that E. A. felt he was finally ready to compete with the “big boys” in Houston. The Houston store was built in the “suburb” of Montrose and was considered by far the most advanced grocery store in suburban Houston. Many early shoppers made comparisons to Weingarten’s and Henke & Pillot. Residents of Brenham compared the store to their local Humpty Dumpty, which means Minimax, could be considered a copy of, a copy of a Piggly Wiggly. The Houston location would include a leased butcher counter, bakery, and a wide array of groceries. Despite Minimax’s flagship store being in Houston, Eversberg vowed to remain in Brenham.

As mentioned in many other pages on HHR, despite the Great Depression having a measurable impact on Texas, certain areas were not as badly affected as others. Houston was able to largely scrape by, funded by a growing oil & gas industry. While we had hardships, Houston also experienced growth during the Depression. Minimax would open its second store in July 1932, in a former Alexander-Bale store, a chain that had not been as lucky during the Market Crash.  Additional new stores would continue to open in other areas of Texas where growth was experienced, like Newgulf. With Houston doing quite well in the 30s, robberies by traveling criminals became common, sometimes even attracting robbers from out of state. Despite all the troubles in operation, the Houston Minimax stores would prove to be quite profitable. One of Everberg’s biggest advantages was his relationship with Schumacher Co., his supplier since the Piggly Wiggly days. Schumacher had started in La Grange and grown to serve many small towns, serving as the main supplier for Humpty Dumpty and later Minimax. Much of Minimax’s success was deflected towards its suppliers, and abilities to provide fresher foods than competitors. To help keep up this reputation, Schumacher would make the logical step to expand its presence in Houston to help an ever-growing Minimax. In 1935, Eversbreg planned for Joseph Finger to design a new store at Milam and Gray. This building would not only be home to a complete grocery store but would also sublet space to Walgreens and even include A/C. It was clear with this new store that E.A. was ready for the big leagues that was Houston, opening his fourth store in town just a year later. To deal with the responsibility of running the increasingly complicated Houston Minimax stores, Eversberg had slowly been selling off his Humpty Dumpty locations and had converted the Brenham location into a Minimax. Despite past assurances, sometime around 1938, E.A. and his family leased out the Brenham store and moved permanently to Houston. In 1939, in what was likely a direct step against Weingarten’s, who had started a similar program, Eversberg opened a BBQ and poultry plant. The plant would cook fresh BBQ and roast poultry daily, which would then be sent to the stores and sold directly to customers. Eversberg had dedicated his life to Minimax, and his efforts were apparent. However, he had his eye on an even bigger picture during this time, and around 1940, he sold both Minimax and Humpty Dumpty to Schumacher in preparation for a possible American entry into World War II.

Schumacher buys Minimax and doubles down

While coverage on the sale was light, the date of its occurrence coincides with the start of World War II and Everberg’s enlistment into the National Guar. He relocated to San Antonio, from where he would be called into active duty just over a year later and months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. With E.A. totally out of the picture (he would once again go on to have an impactful career in the European theater of the war), the fate of the chain lay in the hands of its supplier, John Schumacher. A wholesaler by trade, it was apparent that at this point, Schumacher had operated at least a few grocery stores by this point. However, they mostly were small stores in country towns. Houston was likely a new experience for the man from La Grange, who would experience some of the same pitfalls as Eversberg. Despite these early hiccups, Schumacher was able to quickly grow both Minimax and Humpty Dumpty over the next few years. Around this time, the Humpty Dumpty identity would begin to fade, likely related to a merger the original Oklahoma-based company had undergone shortly prior. While Minimax had been used all over, Schumacher planned to restrict the Mimimax name to modern supermarkets, leaving some smaller country stores aligned with I.G.A. for branding. While he would not stop supplying the smaller stores, Schumacher’s focus would be on Minimax in Houston. In 1946, Minimax would debut their first 24/7 grocery store. Offering a unique service for the time, the stores would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and every day of the year. It was a new concept, but the innovations that had pushed Eversberg to build his own chain were one of the reasons Minimax was successful. Despite some hiccups early on, the risk would prove successful enough to call for a second 24-hour store in Houston just about a year later. To support this consistent expansion, in 1947 Schumacher would start work on a massive new $1 Million warehouse in Houston. By 1949, Minimax would be up to 11 company-owned locations in Houston and a similar number of franchised stores around the Houston suburbs, making Minimax one of the larger grocery chains in Texas at the time.

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.

Under new ownership, Minimax had become enormous during the 1940s. However, this still was only the tip of the iceberg for the grocer. While Schumacher had done a great job at running the Houston stores, at its heart, Minimax was still a co-op, and Schumacher was still just a supplier. With the Baby Boom starting at the end of World War II, the chain needed to grow faster than ever, and Schumacher wasn’t up to the task on his own. As mentioned previously, Minimax had largely been focused on the city. However, smaller towns required supermarkets, and they were going to fill them with or without the help of Minimax. Schumacher saw this and realized a quick way to build store count would be to sign on existing stores in new territories. The first location to meet this qualification would be Barber’s Market in Conroe, which would maintain its family ownership but join the Minimax system in 1951. Over the next few years, Minimax stores would pop up anywhere Schumacher operated in Texas. New stores were mostly centered around Houston, the Gulf Coast, and Austin, although stores were known to exist as far North as Killeen. New franchisees were also brought on in Houston, and with the ever-expanding city limits, the lines of company-owned and franchised stores were soon becoming blurry. It seems around the mid-50s, Schumacher began to sell off the remaining company-owned Minimax locations, shifting mostly to a franchise only system. Some of this push seems to have been to facilitate the Florian family. A long line of grocers who had worked for other chains (mainly Weingarten’s and H&P), and decided to go out on their own as a family and take hold of Minimax. While they would never gain corporate control, the family would take over the remaining company-owned stores and majorly influence Minimax’s business. As Schumacher transitioned out of direct retail, they would push focus on building and maintaining buildings for “store owners” to lease out. The supplier would set an ambitious goal of jumping from 40 locations in 1958 to 75 by 1975.  To facilitate this plan for rapid growth, Minimax would start building new stores for franchisees. Schumacher would even sign leases in new shopping centers where they did not have a franchisee signed on because they knew they would be able to find owners. While it was unknown to the public at the time, these decisions would be some of the last made by Schumacher.

A Fleming era 1970s Minimax. This design was relatively generic and used by other Fleming connected chains, including Weingarten’s.

In April 1960, Schumacher Co. was quietly bought out by wholesale competitor Fleming. While the plan would be to dismantle Schumacher eventually, Fleming realized that the company’s core was their Minimax and IGA operations consisting of about 250 stores. As such, one of Schumacher’s final actions was jointly hosting a “roundup” with Fleming. Higher-ranking franchisees would be invited to meet the Fleming executives and learn about upcoming changes. Houston was rapidly changing at the time, and Minimax needed to adapt to keep up. The Houston grocery market had become quite tense with increasing national competition, local chains, and slowing growth compared to the 50s. While the early 60s would see a continuation of the Schumacher plan to build and lease new suburban stores, a new opportunity would present itself after only a few years. While Minimax struggled to compete with national chains, they could keep up with local competition and often outsold other independents. In the 1960s, Minimax stores started to deviate from their earlier counterparts. While Schumacher had allowed variation between stores, this really seemed to increase under Fleming. Some larger Supermarkets would still be built, however many smaller independent markets could flip to Minimax after this change. The increased business resulted in Fleming starting work on a new warehouse, distribution center, and even a bakery in 1966. The bakery would only be the second in the Fleming operation, which stretched North to Nebraska then. The chain would continue to expand throughout the late 60s, both with acquired and newly built stores. However, the late 60s brought serious economic woes to Houston for the first time in nearly 30 years and undermined lots of confidence. While Minimax planned to build twelve stores in 1968, development would slow around this time. A large factor in this slowdown was increased supermarket competition in Houston. With new competitors, like Handy Andy, Safeway, and Eagle, planning to enter the market, Minimax was starting to look quite basic by comparison.

The Grocery Wars begin to shred Minimax apart

The 1970s would be quite rough on Minimax. The increased competition would be our first real onset of grocery wars, and while not the most severe we would ever see, this decade would hasten the death of the independent grocer market in Houston. With competition becoming more intense, it was common to see families like the aforementioned Florians exit the grocery market. The conditions in Houston weren’t exactly unique either and would expand into most of Flemings’s operating territory. With corporate support spread a bit thin during this time, Minimax operators were somewhat left to fend for themselves. Especially when an owner would exit the market, it was common for another, more established Minimax operator to try and take over the fallout. This conglomeration would eventually lead to a small pool of owners holding a majority of Minimax locations. In addition to ownership changes, many stores that had joined Minimax from another co-op found themselves leaving when their contract ended. Although lots of stores were leaving, Minimax Fleming was able to swing a few new clients like Texas Super Foods. By 1978, the chain was down to about 35 locations across Southeast Texas, and only about 19 of those in Houston. A large amount of Fleming’s business was devoted to supplying ever-growing chains like Randalls. Even though Minimax continued to shrink, Fleming still supported the co-op through advertising and promotions like S&H Green Stamps, which were almost completely abandoned by most national chains at the time. Still, faith was declining in Minimax, and some of the larger owners began experimenting with moving away from the banner altogether. Continental Finer Foods, which had been a long-term Minimax operator, was one of the first opening their first “Finer Foods” store in 1975, and moving away from Minimax all together over the next few years. By the end of the 1970s, though, Fleming seemed to stabilize a bit.

A Minimax Logo from the 1980s

One of the long-term issues Fleming had was not updating their stores. While some Minimax operators had added things like delis and bakeries to their stores, most were basic small grocery stores. Again, this problem also expanded to other Fleming divisions, and by 1980, the wholesaler seemed to get the message. They began debuting new larger format stores, doubling average sizes from about 20k Sqft to 40k Sqft. While still not setting any requirements, these larger-size stores did have the effect of store owners adding service departments. In 1982, Minimax President Ray A McBride passed away. McBride had been with the company since the Schumacher days and was initially a store owner. He was largely the glue that held the entire Minimax organization together towards the end and was not officially replaced. While Fleming would continue to supply Minimax stores and promote the chain, the management side appears to have been outsourced to Fleming’s Kansas HQ. This was really the last straw for Minimax as a chain, and shortly after, Jumbo and Holiday Foods would both spin-off from Minimax. The remaining Minimax stores would slowly close over the next few years. The few remaining Minimax locations had little against the many other independents or chain grocers in Houston at the time. The final Houston area Minimax seems to have closed around 1994. During this time, many local grocers had pulled away from Fleming, with the most famous case being Randall’s switch to self-supply. In 1996, the Houston Fleming Warehouse and Offices would close, ending Minimax’s remaining operations. A handful of rogue Minimax stores continued to operate on their own into the 2000s, with a few even outliving Fleming. The final known Minimax closed in Austin in 2016, ending the name nearly 100 years after E.A. Eversberg opened his first Piggly Wiggly.

Location List

Address
Notes
1200 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 770061931-1937 Original store, Relocated
1019 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 770061937-1972 Company Owned, Relocation of First Store, Later Jamail's Minimax, Demolished
5216 Almeda Rd, Houston, TX 770041932-1949 Company Owned, Former Alexander-Bale Store, Recently Demolished, Walgreens still there
12661 Market St, Houston, TX 770151950-1960 Seems to have closed after "faked" robbery was taken to court, Handy Dandy Minimax
1105 East 11th Street, Houston, TX1935-1948 Company Owned, Sold to independent operates as Bill's, Later Thrifty
711 Gray St, Houston, TX 770021937-1952 Company Owned, Later European Import Co, Yaller Moon, and Bert Wheeler
2014 Clinton Dr Galena Park, TX 775471947-Present Originally Middleton's Joined Minimax in 1948 as Whisenant's, Left for Lucky 7 in 50s as Middletons
220 W Sterling Ave, Baytown, TX 775201950-1959 Originally opened as a King Cole Food Market (another Schumacher Brand) Converted to Pasadena Minimax, and closed shortly after to become S&H Green Stamp Store
10341 Palestine St Houston, TX 770291948- Martin & Wallace Minimax 1953, McBride Minimax 1955, 1959
1300 Wayside Dr, Houston, TX 77023Angle & Lynch Minimax 1953, Angle's Minimax 1955
802 Telephone Rd, Houston, TX 77023
2902 N Shepherd Dr Houston, TX 77008Minimax No 11 1953, Florian's #2 Minimax 1955, 1967
6919 Jensen Dr Houston, TX 77093Coleman's Minimax 1955,1967
1100 Quitman St, Houston, TX 77009Now Fiesta
4520 Holmes Rd Houston, TX 77033J.D. Jamail Minimax (Inside King Center) 1953, 1955, King Center Minimax 1959
5800 Lyons Ave, Houston, TX 77020Now Fiesta
1001 S Broadway St La Porte, TX 77571La Porte Holiday Foods Minimax, La Porte Minimax 1979
1019 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77006Store #1, Company Owned December 18, 1931-, Jamail's 1953, Florian's #3 1955, 1967
10341 Palestine St Houston, TX 77029Martin & Wallace Minimax 1953, McBride Minimax 1955, 1959
1117 Bayou Rd La Marque, TX 77568Texas Super Minimax 1981
1153 Kingwood Dr Kingwood, TX 77339Kingwood Minimax 1976, 1981
11530 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX 77072Brays Forest Minimax 1976, 1979
1201 Strawberry Rd Pasadena, TX 77506Strawberry Minimax 1967, Kingmart Minimax 1976, 1979 demolished after 2013 for a Stripes
1204 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77006Likely original location. Built around 1930 still standing now a Slick Willie's Pool Hall
1238 W 43rd St Houston, TX 77018Florian's #1 Minimax 1955, 1967
12512 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX 77072Ferguson's Minimax/Bellford Crossing Minimax 1981
12661 Market Street Rd, Houston, TX 77015Built 1950, 1953 Store #2, Handy-Dandy Minimax 1959
1285 Pinemont Dr Houston, TX 77018King Mart Minimax, 1976, 1979, 1981 now HCC Northeast
1303 Ella Blvd, Houston, TX 77008Continental #2 Minimax 1967
13815 S Post Oak Rd Houston, TX 77045Allen's Minimax 1967
1411 Ahrens St Houston, TX 77017Womack's #1 Minimax 1953, 1967, 1979
1424 Spring Cypress Rd Spring, TX 77373Spring Minimax 1976, 1979
1719 Garth Rd Baytown, TX 77520Texas Superfoods 1979,1981 Now a furniture store.
1728 W Mt Houston Rd Houston, TX 77038Clayton's Minimax Opened 1978 still open in 1983, Amato's Minimax grand opening 1981, Now a Fiesta
1813 Center St Deer Park, TX 77536Plaza Minimax
18518 Kuykendahl Rd Spring, TX 77379Wheat's Minimax/Village Green Minimax 1981
2014 Clinton Dr Galena Park, TX 77547Whisenant's Minimax 1953
219 N Taylor St Alvin, TX 77511Stanton's Minimax 1967, 1979, 1981 Still Open without the Minimax name!
220 West Sterling Pasadena, TXWhisenant's Minimax 1955
2410 Bay Area Blvd, Houston, TX 77058Barne's Minimax 1981
2540 E Broadway St Pearland, TX 77581Pearland Minimax 1967/Texas Super Minimax 1981
2555 Gessner Rd Houston, TX 77080Kyle's Minimax was previously a Gerland's
2601 Cartwright Rd Missouri City, TX 77459Hopper's Minimax Open in 1986, possibly in 1992. Previously a Gerland's now a gym.
2728 Texas Ave Texas City, TX 77590Texas Super Minimax 1979
2801 Palmer Hwy Texas City, TX 77590Texas Superfoods (Did not use Minimax Name)
2902 N Shepherd Dr Houston, TX 77008Minimax No 11 1953, Florian's #2 Minimax 1955, 1967
302 Winkler Dr, South Houston, TX 77587Hord's Minimax 1955, Florian's #4 Minimax 1959
3020 Little York Rd, Houston, TX 77093Little York Minimax 1967
3102 Milam St Houston, TX 77006Store #3 1935-?
3421 Spencer Hwy Pasadena, TX 77504Popp-Jones Minimax 1967
3910 Aldine Mail Rte Rd Houston, TX 77039Continental Minimax 1976
405 South ParkWomack's #2 Minimax 1959
4520 Holmes Rd Houston, TX 77033J.D. Jamail Minimax (Inside King Center) 1953, 1955, King Center Minimax 1959
519 Jackson Ave Pasadena, TX 77506A&G Minimax 1979, 1981
5109 Fulton St Houston, TX 77009Joe Di Chiara Minimax 1955
5216 Almeda Rd Houston, TX 77004Company Owned July 30, 1932-
5321 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77056Minimax Foodliner 1955, Lamar Terrace Minimax 1959
5472 Bellaire Blvd Bellaire, TX 77401Bellaire Minimax 1959
5550 North Freeway Houston, TX 77076 Martin’s Minimax now a 99 Cents Only Store
5817 W Airport Blvd Houston, TX 77035Westbury Minimax 1967, Barne's Westbury Minimax 1976, 1979
603 S Friendswood Dr Friendswood, TX 77546K.U. Davis Minimax 1967? Mitchell's Minimax 1979
620 W. Shaver Street, Pasadena, TX 775061950
6919 Jensen Dr Houston, TX 77093Coleman's Minimax 1955,1967
6935 W Bellfort Blvd Houston, TX 77035Wynn-Warren Minimax 1967
711 W Gray St Houston, TX 770191950 Store #4
7925 Katy Fwy Houston, TX 77024Continental #1 Minimax 1967
820 S Oak St La Marque, TX 77568Texas Superfoods Minimax 1981
850 Maxey Rd Houston, TX 77013Maxey Rd Minimax 1981
8540 Broadway St Pearland, TX 77584Dell's Minimax 1979
8622 Irvington Blvd Houston, TX 770221961-2013 Originally Berry Road Minimax, Later Carmona's Minimax, Then aligned with Festival
9101 Long Point Rd Houston, TX 77055Miller's Minimax 1955
Alta Loma, TXTombrella Minimax 1967, Santa Fe Minimax 1979
Cleveland, TXCleveland Minimax 1981
Conroe, TXBarber's Minimax 1953
Dickinson, TXBayshore Minimax 1967
1535 Elton St Houston, TX 77034Freeway Manor Minimax 1959, 1967
Ganado, TXKucera's Minimax 1953
Livingston, TXWilliam's Minimax 1953
Leauge City, TXSnell's Minimax 1967
Memorial Drive at West BeltWynn-Warren Minimax 1967
20 Highway 59 Porter, TXPorter Minimax Highway 59 at FM 1314 Possibly where Big Lots is?
Richmond, TXLove's Minimax 1953
Uvalde at I-10 EastWynn-Warren Minimax 1967
Wharton, TXSansing & Smith Minimax 1953

62 comments

  1. I worked at the Wynn-Warren Minamax in North Shore for a while in 1967. Bevy Warren and Berle Wynn were great bosses. I worked there until September when I joined the USAF. When I retired 22 years later it was gone. Could never understand why, but that’s progress. North Shore and Greens Bayou have sure changed. Lot of great memories from that time. Lot of great people too.

  2. 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.

  3. Does anyone have any pictures of the Forest Oaks Thrifty Mart at 5420 Allendale ?

  4. 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 .

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

  7. Worked at Ferguson Minimax in Alief TX. 1986 . (Bellaire and Dairy Ashford) Howard Ferguson was my manager/owner ,steve wilson asst manager

  8. 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.

    1. Interesting, glad to have a Florian comment here! Have any old photos or memories of the stores you want to share?

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. Remember the Florian’s house on W 43rd. Always decorated to the nth degree for Christmas!

    2. Do you know who owned the Minimax located at Homestead and Parker in Houston?

  9. 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.

    1. Good catch! My Minimax list has been somewhat neglected, but I’ll update this one. Glad you’re enjoying it!

    2. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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

    1. 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.

      1. 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

  12. 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.

  13. minimax at 2603 carthwright was food a rama, before moving to 1603.

    minimax on westheimer @ kirkwood became heb, after sports authority, now sprouts.

    1. 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.

    2. 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

  14. 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!

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

    3. Florian’s Minimax # 2 – 2902 North Shepherd Drive, Houston, Texas 77008
      Florian’s Miniman # 1 – 1238 West 43rd Street, Houston, Texas 77018

  15. 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!

    1. 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!

    2. 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

    3. 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.

      1. Went to Westchester as well. 71-75. When I wasn’t bag boy got to run the register, was selling beer at 14yrs. We would sneak a case of Lone star in the milk cooler and then “rescue” it after work. Employees I remember; David stork, Emilio, Mont, Laura, and friends from Westchester who also came onboard; John Minton, Martin Harris, mike Kent…good times

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

    1. 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.

  18. Remember those in La Marque and Texas City. Still have one empty and one full Minimax Maxi-Bucks stamp Collectors Certificates

    1. 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.

        1. It became a furniture and appliance store, then a church. Last I was there it was empty.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Womack’s Minimax
    On Ahrens Street in Southeast Houston, Oak Meadows/Forest Oaks/Allendale area.

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