Retail News: Home Goods come to HEB in Houston

HEB’s new Home by H-E-B lines have started to roll out at Houston stores. Back over 30 years ago, when HEB decided to try and brave the Houston grocery market, the company knew it had to differentiate itself to survive in this overcrowded market. Now, in 2022 the company is again breaking new ground with a selection of Home Goods in their grocery stores. HEB’s first Houston stores were under the guise of their Pantry Foods banner, with selections cut back to the bare minimum of what could be considered a Supermarket. Three decades later, the San Antonio-based chain had …

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This failed Hartz’s Concept Restaurant has worn many hats

Howdy, folks, and welcome back to HHR! Today we’re doing a deep dive into a restaurant space on the Westside that can’t seem to keep a tenant. The space started out as the second location of El Papo, a small chain along the Northwest side of Houston. While far from being the first Tex-Mex chain in Houston, El Papo was pretty early on the Northwestside first opening in 1977 and making it up to three locations by 1985. However, around this time, bigger chains like the now-vanishing Casa Ole were taking the area by storm. El Papo would declare bankruptcy …

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Return to Food King, one of the last Weingarten’s out there

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! If you’re a longtime reader of the blog, then you might recognize today’s location, Food King! A former Weingarten, still using much of their Grand Union decor update. This store is a gem, locally owned by a Texas City resident, and honestly pretty dang cheap! If you’re interested in the history of this store and more detailed information on decor overlap, then check out my post from earlier this year on the store. Today’s post is going to try and feature some things I missed the first time around. My first …

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Retail News: Burlington slims down in Houston leaving Almeda Mall

Burlington has recently opened two new locations, both in former Best Buy stores. The two former Best Buys at 13238 Northwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77040 and 24230 Commercial Dr. Rosenberg, TX 77470, closed in 2021 and 2022, respectively, as part of a larger restructuring Best Buy has undertaken over the past two years. The move made by Burlington represents a strategy to ditch their older, larger stores for newer, smaller locations. Burlington in Houston is somewhat tainted by a reputation for messy understaffed stores. The reputation, while fairly earned, was not helped by the fact that Burlington’s major 2000s push …

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Houston’s Lidl Secret, the German grocer that almost came to town

Photo Credit: Jazz Man Flickr

Gobble Gobble, folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Happy Thanksgiving, today, we’re taking a look at a grocer that you can’t find in Houston, although they once had grand plans for the entire state. I’m, of course, talking about Lidl! What’s that? You’ve never heard of Lidl, or you’ve never heard of their plans to come to Houston? Well, unsurprisingly, Lidl’s underpromotion resulted from larger issues with entering the United States, but let’s take a few steps back and introduce Lidl in the first place. Lidl (actually pronounced Lee-del) is a German deep discounter grocery chain in the …

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Retail News: Best Buy Outlet Moves into former Willowbrook Toys R Us

Best Buy Outlet’s newest store at 17776 TX-249 Ste 1, Houston, TX 77064 Best Buy Outlet has made its debut in a seemingly more permanent home in Northwest Houston. The “new store,” as it was announced earlier this year, is not truly brand new. As previously, Best Buy Outlet operated across 249, in a former Golf Galaxy location carved out of a mass ex-Venture/Kmart. While it is a bit disappointing that we ended up with a replacement store as opposed to a second location, let it be known that this Outlet store is much more on par with what you …

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Shoney’s Houston Experiments from Church’s Chicken to Cheap Pizza

An unknown Shoney's location in 2009. Photo: Quinn Dombrowski

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. Today we’re taking a trip down a rabbit hole that starts back in the late 80s. We’ll talk about how Shoney’s presence in Texas has evolved over the years and what the future holds for a company that no longer operates any of its namesake restaurants within our state. To start, here’s a bit of history on Shoney’s. The company was started by the West Virginia franchisee of the Big Boy brand, Alex Schoenbaum. Originally named the Parkette Drive-In, the stores were renamed Shoney’s Big Boy after aligning with Big Boy. …

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Spec’s Epicurean Experience, more groceries than you might think!

Cheers, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today we’re taking an inside look at the Spec’s in the former Rice Epicurean at 2020 Fountain View. For those who follow the blog, you know this is a store I have been excited to see. I have fond memories of Rice and a close tie to the company, so I was excited to hear that Spec’s would take over this location. While not precisely a grocer, I knew that Spec’s would not change much about the space’s physical layout. As well, right around the time Rice closed, rumors began to swirl …

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Retail News: The Coney Cruiser prepares to bring JCI back inside The Loop this Wednesday!

The Coney Cruiser

Good news for James Coney Island Fans! Houston’s oldest purveyors of hot dogs will be back inside the loop for at least a few hours this week. The location Coney Cruiser Food Truck will be parked outside of the former James Coney Island location at S. Shepherd and Richmond Ave on Wednesday, November 16th. The food truck will be open for lunch from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM. The truck will serve a pared-down version of the original restaurant’s menu.

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Redevelopment of the Mall of the Mainland continues in 2022

Here's a sign in the mall advertising the Mainland City Centre redevelopment.

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest submission from HHR’s good friend Anonymous in Houston with the photos being taken by Mike. The topic of today’s post takes us back to Galveston County for a quick update about a bit of a Houston-area retail comeback story. The Mall of the Mainland in Texas City, TX has long stood for failure and broken dreams. While plenty of malls around the United States, and Houston for that matter, have gone from successful malls to vacant or closed dead malls over the years, the Mall of the Mainland started out as a mall …

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