Retail News: Target proposed for Heights area residential tower

A rendering of the proposed mixed used tower. Source:

A block in the Heights at W. 26th between Durham and N. Shepherd is currently undergoing the planning stages of redevelopment. At the end of 2022, WGS Retail Investments announced plans to redevelop the existing business on this land. Their plan involves demolishing the industrial sheds and former homes that had all turned to retail use by the 21st century. The plan as it stands now is to construct a low-rise 8-story residential tower, with retail making up the ground floor. While Target has yet to make an official statement, all proposals from the developer include Target in their plans. …

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Slim Pickens at this former Carl’s Jr.

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today we’re taking a look at a Carl’s Jr. turned Slim Chickens and discussing some shared problems. Starting off with some history, the restaurant building currently standing at 9599 S Main St, Houston, TX 77025, was constructed in 2015, replacing an older structure on the same site. The building was initially constructed as Tinsley’s Chicken ‘n Rolls in 1983. In 1985 Church’s Chicken purchased Tinsley’s, and company-owned stores, like this one, would switch over quickly to the Church’s brand. While I can’t say I ever had a chance to visit Tinsley’s, …

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4000 Polk, Houston’s 90+ year old Henke & Pillot Kroger location

This image shows how much natural light makes it into the store through the Greenhouse. These are certainly much brighter stores via natural light than most modern supermarkets. This view also provides another look at the vending machine area. We can also see the customer service desk at the front of the store. We’ll get a closer look at the customer service desk later in the tour.

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest submission from HHR’s good friend Anonymous in Houston with the photos taken by Mike Welcome to the latest installment of The Year of Kroger here at Houston Historic Retail! After three consecutive months of looking at early examples of Kroger Signature stores, this month’s The Year of Kroger post will take us to a Kroger that is the opposite of a Signature store. Those who have read the previous installments of The Year of Kroger, especially the one about the Texas City Kroger last month, will surely be aware of Kroger’s long history …

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Retail News: Trill Burgers work shows on former James Coney Island

The former James Coney Island, located at 3607 S Sheperd Dr. Houston, TX 77098, has been slated to reopen as local rapper Bun B’s Smash Burger concept Trill Burger since closing last year. Work started on the interior earlier this year, as reported here on HHR. However, this last week the first stages of exterior change began. A new black and gold paint job, in addition to updated signage, has all been applied. Photos from inside the building show that structurally much remains the same. However, red, white, and blue have similarly been swapped for black and gold throughout. Booths …

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Whatever happened to Sweet Tomatoes?

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. Today we’re checking in on an untouched Sweet Tomatoes at 8775 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77024, to answer the question of whatever happened to all the Sweet Tomatoes locations in Houston. For those not in the know, Sweet Tomatoes was a popular all-you-can-eat soup and salad buffet. It worked quite similarly to Souper Salad but did not feature tacos or nachos as a part of the hot bar. Sweet Tomatoes popped up in California about the same time Souper Salad did in Houston in the late 70s. At the time, the concept of …

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Why is Pearland’s newest HEB already getting a remodel?

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR. Today we’re checking out something we haven’t seen in a while, a grocery store expansion. Specifically, the remodel going on at the East Pearland HEB at 2710 Pearland Pkwy, Pearland, TX 77581. Before we answer the question as to why this HEB is getting an expansion, let’s dig into why this has become somewhat unusual. For years, HEB’s focus in Houston was on Pantry Foods stores, which on the whole, don’t have stellar memories attached to them. These cramped and often older buildings allowed HEB to enter a difficult grocery market. As soon …

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Retail News: Stafford gains a Target location, and P Terry’s makes Houston promises… again

A P. Terry's Sign Credit: bruthanick

Target has filed permits for a new store in the Stafford mixed-use development, The Grid. Likely to be located next to the present Costco Business Center, the new store will come in around 125,000 Square Feet. This will be an average-size store for Target, about 20k Sq ft less than their new Katy store. For comparison, the Walmart across West Airport Blvd from The Grid is almost 100,000 Square Feet larger, representing one of the competing discount retailer’s largest stores in the Houston area. Target’s signing on to this project seems to validate the initial goal of redeveloping the former …

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Why Gorman’s Cleaners is sitting abandoned in Hedwig Village

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today we’re taking a look at a Katy Freeway icon while we still have the chance. Gorman’s Cleaners exists essentially frozen in time and has been so since opening nearly 70 years ago. Back in the 1930s, when I-10 was little more than a distant dream, the road that Gorman’s sits on, referred to then as Katy Road (Modern U.S. 90), was a small country road running parallel to the MKT railroad which lended the Road and later freeway the Katy name. As Houston expanded West, houses began to dot the …

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Retail News: Foodarama holds official Texas City grand opening this week

Grand opening sales and festivities at Foodarama’s newest location at 915 6th St N, Texas City, TX 77590, will commence this week. Foodarama, which is turning 50 this year, took over this location in late December 2022 from the previous operator Food King. Personnel from Foodarama disclosed to Houston Historic Retail that they had planned on removing some of the remaining Grand Union-era decor features, such as the overhead mural above the checkout, but had changed their minds after installing brighter lighting in the over 70-year-old store, which was built by Weingarten’s in 1952. Grand opening sales will last until …

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Houston’s rogue Denny’s the tale of Steve’s Kitchen

The Denny's at it appeared in 2008. Photo Credit:Danielle Bourgeois Creative Commons 2.0

Houston is a big city; this is an observation that makes an impact on nearly any visitor who spends time here. Not only is Houston tangentially long, East to West and North to South, but each sector of our city is also composed of varying densities. We travel so much in this city that it’s easy to become blind to anything but drastic changes if you’re not looking for them. Today’s story is something I saw firsthand but didn’t click with me until I was doing some research recently. The tale of a  rogue Denny’s franchisee in Houston. No, not …

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