Cafeterias are a Southern specialty. Born out of the efficiency of self-serve prepared food, by utilizing a limited service concept, they were staples of the 20th Century. The cafeteria allowed families to quickly and cheaply feed an entire family. This was one of the major selling point early on, cafeterias were cheap. The quality of the food was below an average dine-in restaurant of the time, but still far above even the earliest incarnations of fast food. The first Luby’s Cafeteria as we have known them started around 1947 in San Antonio, by Robert Luby. The majority of the existing …Keep reading
Stripes begin to fade as the 7-Eleven conversions push on
Howdy folks, let’s get started today by a simple recap of how 7-Eleven entered Houston (the second time). After exiting in the 1980s & 1990s, Houston was notably absent of most chain gas stations, including 7-Eleven and Circle K. Throughout the next 25 years this would be the norm, until 7-Eleven began exploring our town around 2012, with their purchase of Tetco and Speedy Stop locations, around the metropolitan area but not within city limits. Although they retained their original branding for a while, these were some of the first stores to reopen as 7-Eleven around 2015. A year later, …Keep reading
A former Safeway with a split personality
When a grocery store closes, it’s not unusual for the space to be subdivided. Over the course of the 20th century, supermarkets became larger and larger, aiming for a broader range. Today’s example is a former Safeway located at 2028 N Main St in Pearland. Holding their grand opening November 11, 1979, the new Safeway was one of Houston’s earliest purpose built superstore locations. The breadth of items available was everything you’d find in a grocery store, a 5 & Dime, and still a little bit more! For example, you could buy small appliances, TVs, socks, shoes, plumbing, and electrical …Keep reading
7-Eleven has finally hit the end of the Raceway!
If you’re a regular follower at all of Houston Historic Retail then at some point you’ve seen our coverage of 7-Eleven’s return to Houston which at some point has been a bit contentious. It all started with a post back in February of 2020 when there was scant evidence of 7-Eleven’s return, which had been in progress since 2014! However, by early 2021 7-Eleven had made great strides in not only converting existing locations but in building their own locations as well as noted in a post from January of this year. Another great stride has been reached with the …Keep reading
The not so great, Foodarama Shrinkorama!
Cox’s Foodarama is an independent grocery chain operating out of Houston, Texas, with 8 locations in operation as of this post. The chain simply goes by the name Foodarama in all local matters, but uses their founder’s (Carol Cox) last name to differentiate from the many other grocery stores in the U.S. using Foodarama. During the early days of the net, the confusion mostly came from New Jersey based Foodarama Supermarkets, which has since stopped trading under that name. The chain was founded in 1973, in a building with an already storied history. Having been built by Belden’s when they …Keep reading
This Week in Demolition: While Disco Kroger boogies out of Montrose could an apartment tower be making its way in?
This Week in Demolition, we take a moment to ponder what it means when losing Taco Bell and Kroger sever your emotional ties to an area. Earlier this week there was a big buzz in local social media over a photo of the Taco Bell on South Shepherd being demolished, followed shortly after by a photo of an excavator sitting in front of the former “Disco Kroger“. The comments on the social media site I viewed were wrapped in how the loss of these two institutions signaled change in the area, and how this change affected their emotional ties. As …Keep reading
Retail News: Foodarama sells another former Safeway, and Village Medical comes closer to achieving goal
Foodarama Sells Another Former Safeway According to the Houston Chronicle, property developer Baker Katz has acquired the former Safeway at 1805 Ella Boulevard, which is currently occupied by Cox’s Foodarama. The building was originally constructed as two separate structures, with Safeway forming the right side, and Eckerd forming the left. (Shout out to Anonymous in Houston for figuring that one out!) As such, the two properties were under separate ownership and have remained as such even when Safeway expanded their store into the former Eckerd. Baker Katz acquired the Eckerd portion of the property in 2016, and in May of …Keep reading
The Randall’s 1987 Food Fest
Today we’ll be taking a look at the 1987-88 Randall’s Food Almanac. What is a Food Almanac, you might ask? Well, it’s a year round collection of recipes, paired with coupons and vintage advertisements. Using a Food Almanac as advertising was not unique to Randall’s, but its debut was tied to a much bigger event, The 1987 Randall’s Food Fest. This was the third year of the newest celebration Randall’s had to offer. From samples of in store products, to chef created dinners, the Food Fest not only provided a gourmet experience, but for most Houstonians their first glimpse into …Keep reading
Retail News: Ollie’s Bargain Outlet comes to Houston!
Good Stuff, Cheap will soon be available in Northwest Houston as Ollie’s Bargain outlet prepares to open their first Houston location sometime this summer. While no official statement has been made by the company, a newly hung banner has confirmed online suspicions that an Ollie’s location will soon fill part of the former Target in the Steeplechase Center at the intersection of Jones Road and F.M. 1960. Anonymous in Houston also found online job postings for the new location. This marks the second permanent tenant for the former Target since the store relocated closer to 290 in the early 2000s. …Keep reading
Through the Annals: A Guide to Retail History in Annual Reports
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest submission from HHR’s good friend Anonymous in Houston Researching the operations of a publicly traded company here in the 21st century is most certainly not a very difficult thing. After all, there are numerous reports about companies available through their own websites and through various websites that can all be accessed very quickly. However, those who were around before the rise of the World Wide Web might remember that it was quite difficult to obtain information about companies back in the day. One thing which could be requested from libraries or by contacting …Keep reading