Sears Willowbrook Mall Experiment is Closing

The Sears Hometown located inside of Willowbrook Mall has started the closing process for their store a short six months after opening. The scheme was a way to put former Sears Mall buildings and a few former Kmarts to use as prospective tenants for this former mainline store, which closed in 2020, failed to step up. The closure was first reported to HHR by regular contributor Anonymous in Houston, who noticed a Google Review stating the store was closing. This rumor was confirmed by visiting the store and finding the yellow closing/clearance tags attached to all products. The closing does …

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A Look Back at Houston Jewelry, Houston’s Own Catalog Showroom Store

This large sign greeted Houston Jewelry shoppers at their catalog showroom at 9633 Westheimer. (Photo: Houston Jewelry's Facebook Page)

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest submission from HHR’s good friend Anonymous in Houston Usually when Mike or I start researching a potential blog post here at Houston Historic Retail, we have to dig deep into historical archives to find useful historical information to present here on the blog. This blog post is quite unique in that the subject, Houston Jewelry & Distributing, is a company which has embraced their history and they have made a significant amount of their history available for the public to view online. Our readers in Houston might recognize the name Houston Jewelry and …

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A dead mall video, visiting West Oaks Mall in 2022

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today we’re going on a quick walking tour of West Oaks Mall, so a lazy writing day for me! The entire video is about 15 minutes, but I get from one side of the mall to the other in about 7 minutes before walking back. There’s no useful audio as the mall was playing 95.7 FM, and I did not want to risk YouTube taking the video down. If you’re the type of person who is not a fan of videos, or you just can’t stand the camera wobble, check out …

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Retail News: Biglari is back! – The return of Steak N Shake to Houston

The great fast food hamburger debate has so many sides: loyal Texans stumping for local Whataburger, west coast transplants singing the virtues of interloping In-N-Out, those squares who like Wendy’s.  These sides have their merits, but I found my favorite fast food burger to be the midwestern-style steakburger, smashed flat with crispy edges, the cheese melted into the thin patty so completely that the two are practically an alloy.  Specifically (and with apologies to Kansas-based Freddy’s and their many Houston-area locations), I came to love the steakburgers from Illinois-founded Steak N Shake. While it has long been an institution in …

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So long Rice, and thanks for all the Epicuriousness

The windows were covered with stucco years back

After nearly 85 years of operation, the final Rice Grocery store will close its doors for good today. While this isn’t coming out of the blue, it’s still a sad event to have to witness. While many of us remember Rice as the exotic Epicurean chain, the company served many people of many different backgrounds under many different names during its tenure. The building that housed this final Epicurean location will once again find another use, this time as a Spec’s location. Rice staff had mentioned there might be something special about this new Spec’s, but what exactly it is, …

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Why did Safeway close the Fuqua and Sabo Randall’s?

One more look at the outside before we set off

Howdy folks, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail! Today we’re checking out a 1980s Randall’s that has had quite an interesting second life. This former Randall’s at 11021 Fuqua St, Houston, TX 77089, opened store opened in 1984. Taking part in a triple grand opening stunt, which is just as it sounds. Two newly built Randall’s stores and one old Weingarten that had been acquired about a month before all held a grand opening special on the same day! The new store was a first for Randall’s, it wasn’t a revolutionary new design or anything along those lines. Rather, …

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Retail News: Best Buy Outlet plans move across 249, towards Willowbrook Mall

Huh, how'd this get in the gallery...

  Best Buy Outlet, currently located at 17713 Tomball Pkwy, Houston, TX 77064, has filed permits to remodel a former Toys ‘R Us building across Texas 249. This new space would allow the currently cramped store to expand. The Outlet store’s former space is a former Golf Galaxy location, which was once a larger part of the Venture Department store which once inhabited that block. Best Buy Outlet’s proposed move would not only net new space, but it would also put the store on the Willowbrook Mall side of the highway.   Have a retail tip you want to share? …

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So what is Miniso? Checking out the knockoff Daiso

Howdy everyone, and welcome back to Houston Historic Retail. If you’re new to HHR, welcome! We’re all glad to have you here. Today we’re taking a look at a new retailer on the Houston scene, Miniso. Chances are you probably haven’t heard of Miniso, it’s a fairly new company opening its first store in China in 2013. If you feel like you’ve seen the logo before, it’s “highly inspired” by the Uniqlo clothing brand. The stores are patterned after international successful Japanese Yen Shop (Dollar Store), Daiso. Let’s take a minute to explain what Daiso is; this chain hails back to …

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This former Safeway #1 in Houston, is having a Fiesta of a second life

The exterior of this store uses the arced pylons like the Pasadena location

Howdy, folks, and welcome to Houston HIstoric Retail! Today we’re taking a look at a store that has stayed a chain grocer from inception to present, somewhat of a rarity in Houston! Today’s store, located at 7510 Bellfort Ave, Houston, TX 77061, was the first Safeway location to open in Houston. The first-ever plans for Safeway’s expansion to Houston occurred on the heels of the Dallas division expanding into Austin in the 1950s. While locations were never divulged, Safeway did acquire some properties in Houston and likely planned to build some smaller Marina-style stores upon their arrival, just as they …

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Retail News: The gas station in an ex-Walgreens near West Oaks Mall, finally opens! Welcome Now & Forever Plus

The gas prices here were pretty cheap compared to other stations on 6

Well, folks, the day has finally come. The former Walgreens at Westheimer and Highway 6 has reopened. This will mark the building’s first permanent retail tenant since closing as a pharmacy around 2017. Now and Forever also marks the return of a gas station to this intersection. Before the most recent expansion of Highway 6, every corner of the intersection, except the mall, hosted a gas station. This gas station, however, aims to be a bit different. The space is huge, and while some area was built out around the checkout, I would wager that 3/4 of the former Walgreens …

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