Retail News: Sears at Willowbrook Mall’s last gasp!

Sears Hometown Store at Willowbrook Mall is having its last gasp this upcoming week. While store employees could not provide a final date, they said this week would likely be it for them, as the store slowly runs out of stock. What little remained in the store largely consisted of fixtures and merchandise that had been purchased but yet to be picked up. Many of the items in the store had been shipped in from other locations, including stock labeled for Kmart. The gate to the mall sits shut now, no longer providing the best parking spot to entrance ratio. …

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The History of Twistee Treat’s Freeze and Thaw Cycle in Houston

The W. Tidwell location took over a former Sonic, I used to visit when I worked in the area

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Ice cream is an essential summer treat, and for such a warm state, we lack a major presence from most frozen dessert chains other than a few ice cream parlors. We do have Dairy Queen, but unlike many other states, which feature mostly ice cream, and little food, our model is flipped. Utilizing an expanded Brazier menu, which became so common, the Brazier moniker was dropped in Texas around the 80s. For years, Texas has been the “wild west” for anyone looking to expand the concept. For those not in the …

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Former Venture/Kmart preserved as Viet Hoa for over 20 years!

However the old Venture Facade still pops up above

Howdy, or Xin Chao, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today we’re visiting a Vietnamese Grocer in a nearly perfectly preserved former Venture/Kmart. In July 1995, the building at 8300 W Sam Houston Pkwy S, Houston, TX 77072 would open as Venture Store #141. Making it one of the last Texas locations and the final planned Houston area store. Although Sugar Land would open a few months later, plans for that store came first. Just days prior to the grand opening, Venture had announced a repositioning of the company to be more value-oriented and drop their higher-end merchandise. For …

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Retail News: Ollie’s Friendswood to open Wednesday

Nearly one year after its debut, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is opening a second Houston area location Wednesday, September 9th. This store located at 18182 Gulf Fwy, Friendswood, TX 77546, has been a long time coming and was part of the reason Houston lost its only Dick’s Warehouse store. As of now, Ollie’s third and only other publically planned Houston store is on the Westside at 1747 Fry Road Katy, TX 77449.

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Krispy Shipley, this doughnut shop had quite the rebellious teen phase

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail.  Today we’re at 12403 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77077 taking a look at a doughnut shop that has been host to quite a few tenants in its time. Even now, as a Shipley Do-Nuts location, this store still stands out from others in the chain. This building was originally built by Krispy Kreme Doughnuts as their first Houston location. Work started in 1998 on this combo store/commissary, which would ship doughnuts and other goodies to grocery stores, and gas stations across Houston. This first Krispy Kreme location would also be able …

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Weingarten’s lives on through Kroger in the Heights!

This signage is all new, but permits have likely not changed since Safeway who used this separated non-lighted style

Weingarten’s was a grocer I never knew, and if I had to take a guess, it’s a store most of my readers never knew either. Even though Weingarten’s was long gone by the time I was around, the name was still eponymous for a grocery store in Houston. As well, despite a less than stellar exit, the opinion most Houstonians held of Weingarten’s was still overwhelmingly positive, with most chalking up those final years to poor out-of-state leadership. This was in large part thanks to Weingarten ‘keeping up’ with their stores during their tenure. With property development at heart, the …

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Retail News: Let the Tim Bits flow, Tim Horton’s in Katy finally holds soft-opening

VVT Solenoid mazda 3 2011

Howdy folks, and welcome to Houston Historic Retail. Thanks to readers in Katy for keeping HHR abreast of the Katy Coffee Wars and its latest chapter as Tim Hortons has finally opened its first Texas location. The soft-opening took place yesterday, Monday, August 29th, and according to Google Reviews, a full grand opening is planned for September 9th. Canucks may notice two oddities about our Tim Horton’s location. First, our store features the ‘United States Menu,’ which has very limited food options. Featuring only three breakfast sandwiches, omelet bites, and a focus on baked goods, in addition to a slightly …

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Retail News: Gordon Food Stores starts making some real progress!

Gordon Food Service, a wholesale distributor and operator of GFS Retail Outlets, have yet to make any official announcement on their entry into Houston. Although it is quite apparent that their intent is open as quickly as possible. The story behind GFS, first broke here on HHR back in April when initial permits were initially filed by the company. Progress, however, was slow, with construction sites sitting mostly dormant, as behind the scenes, Gordon worked on lining up more sites. As of this article, there are six prospective locations, throughout the Houston area, in various states of completion. 215 W …

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Random Retail: An old Spaghetti Warehouse Reappears, Kmart Foods Depot, and Hartz’s Neon Extravaganza

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston HIstoric Retail! Today we’ll be taking a break from the norm for some Random Retail! In case you’re new here, not every photo I take is part of a post. However, I visit lots of places I visit are worth sharing but not enough to cover on their own. So today, we’re checking out a former Kmart turned Restuanrat Depot, a former Spaghetti Warehouse showing off its old colors, and finally ‘celebrating’ the return of Hartz’s buffet! So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride, or tense up and lay flat… I don’t …

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El Rancho-Randall’s, a match made in Boise

The grand entrance to Randall's doesn't look bad in tan and red!

Howdy Neighborinos, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today we’re entering new territory and checking out an El Rancho in a former Randall’s. For those not in the know, El Rancho is a Hispanic grocery chain originating out of Garland. An investment was made in the grocer by Albertsons in 2017 while looking to diversify their extensive mainline store operations with something more niche. This began a special partnership, where El Rancho stores would have first dibs on taking over old Randall’s leases and also began carrying Safeway and Albertson’s store brand items. With the first Randall’s conversion opening …

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