Thursday, January 21, 2010

Highland Mall update

An interesting end to the Dillard's/ Highland Mall issues. I am way behind on this information because I live in Houston, but I stumbled upon this Highland Mall blog tonight. The larger Dillard's has closed and the smaller Dillard's is now a combined men's and women's outlet store. I am glad that they were able to work out a deal to keep at least one of the two anchors open. This would enable the mall to consolidate the remaining stores between the two anchors and demolish the wings of the closed anchors to have a mixed use redevelopment.


Highland Mall is not closing

Highland Mall directory

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Plazamericas update Jan 2010

Jan 20 the Sharpstown road signs have been covered up by these temporary Plazamerica signs. The Sharpstown name has been removed from all of the entrances now. The mall entrance doors and mall maps have the new name now. The first tenant in the former JCPenney will be the Clairewood Washateria. The Washateria is the first sign to go up outside of the mercado.

Palais Royal will be closing as of Jan 23rd. This location was smaller than most of their other locations, and the store was not updated in many years. This space would be a good fit for an existing store to expand their space.

Here are some shots of the food court including the two newest restaurants.

Jan 1st 2010

Plazamericas now has seven open food outlets plus one ice cream shop and a cookie shop. One more new restaurant will be opening soon. Only six months ago this food court had only one restaurant left. The food court also has a stage setup, and the indoor playground has been expanded to include a moonwalk. There are also at least four spaces advertising new stores coming soon. Outside of the mall; new advertising has been put up to attract interest in the redevelopment of the property. I will be checking on the mall sometime in the next month as the redevelopment progresses.

They have added new windows, entrances, and awnings to the JCPenney/ Mercado building. The inside of the building is under renovation for the new Mercado (Jan 2010).

Below is a picture from July before the renovation of the building; compare to the picture above shot from nearly the same angle.

Here is the mall front entrance of the old JCPenney which is being remodeled to become the mercado. Both floors are being renovated behind those chains.

Here are some of the new stores that include two new restaurants, an internet cafe, a sports store, and a discount store.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tribute to the Waldenbooks stores leaving Houston

As all but one Waldenbooks location in the Houston area shut down; I took a few pictures of my visits to these stores before they are gone. Waldenbooks was a much more interesting bookstore in the past before the mammoth Barnes and Noble and Borders books took over the retail book landscape. As a kid I visited the store at Deerbrook and Greenspoint Malls on every visit to those malls back in the 80's and 90's. Willowbrook Mall has the only Waldenbooks location that is not going out of business in the Houston area at this time, but it is only a matter of time before that store is gone too.

Northwest Mall

Houston Center

San Jacinto Mall; sorry for the blurriness

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Vintage Houston Sears #2

This is the vintage Sears location at 4000 North Shepherd Drive; just north of Interstate 610 in Houston. The sign is vintage 1950's- 1960's but I am not sure of the exact age of this store. This store is just a regular Sears store on the inside with not many vintage features still left intact. I did not visit the inside of the store on this visit to take pictures, sorry. This location has a separate auto center just like the other vintage store, and there is a small old school Sears keyshop located in the back of the parking lot that is still operational. This is the location that I talked about in my previous post that would be a good option to refill the empty Macy's anchor at the nearby Northwest Mall.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

K&B Drugstores New Orleans Louisiana

K&B on Judge Perez in Chalmette just before the sign was pulled down.

This is the final installment of the New Orleans retail of the past from my collection. If anyone is interested in submitting their own Louisiana or Texas articles please leave me a comment. Katz & Bestoff or better known as K&B drugstores was another piece of New Orleans retail that was taken over by another company and re-branded. The K&B that I remember was similar to the drugstores of today such as Walgreens or CVS. K&B started off as a small store in 1905, and grew into a large chain of around 200 stores across the southeastern US. K&B had all kinds of merchandise from fishing lures to saw blades to store branded ice cream. K&B also had a bunch of store branded medicines, liquor, food products, and almost anything that they could put their name on. In my opinion K&B was one of the most well branded retail stores. Everything was purple; the store signs, newspaper ads, the labels on the store branded products, the shopping carts, the uniforms, and the walls of the store. All of their stores also had those old school metal mini doors after entering the main doors to the store. K&B was one of the few chains that customized the inventory to match the customers needs at each different location. I still have some products and expired coupons from the K&B stores that have lasted for twelve or more years after the re-branding of the stores to Rite Aid. Nearly all of the film my family had developed when I was young has the K&B stamp on the back and we would shop there weekly. Even after 12 years of K&B vanishing; many people in New Orleans still do not go to Rite Aid. One of the reasons is because Rite Aid carried Pepsi only in their stores and removed Coca-cola from their stores in a city that loves Coca-cola. Coca-cola was brought back eventually and this was not the only thing that Rite Aid changed. Rite Aid had huge clearance sales in each of the K&B stores and drastically reduced the inventory in the stores. The stores were cleared of the distinct items that K&B had and no other drugstore carried such as bicycle tires. Yes K&B had almost everything you could think of inside of their stores for a reasonable price and they were my favorite New Orleans store. K&B, DH Holmes, Maison Blanche, Campo, and Schwegmann's were all New Orleans retail to me. The loss of these stores to takeovers took away some of the uniqueness of New Orleans, but there are many small businesses that keep the city flavor going strong. New Orleans based restaurants are the only chains that seem to survive outside of Louisiana. Popeye's, Cafe Du Monde, Copeland's, The Italian Pie, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers (Baton Rouge), and many other restaurants have expanded outside of Louisiana with great success.

This is the Arabi location just before it was re-branded as a Rite Aid.

I wonder if Rite Aid will accept this coupon that expired in 1986?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Campo Electronics

Campo on Webb Street in Metairie; this store had huge red neon lettering on their sign.

Campo Electronics opened their first store in 1967 in Harahan Louisiana just outside of New Orleans. The company grew to 33 stores with several New Orleans area locations, and was taken over in 1998 by A-1 Appliances. Some stores were closed and others were converted to the new A-1 Appliance and Electronics name. Sometime in 2006 seven years after the take over; a new Campo store opened just across Clearview Pkwy from the Clearview Mall, but it was much smaller than the old Campo stores. I am not sure if the Clearview store is affiliated with the company that took over Campo because there is not much information available online. Campo electronics was similar in layout to the Conn's electronic stores in Southeast Texas.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Schwegmann Giant Supermarkets New Orleans

Schegmann in Metairie at Vets & Division Street

A tradition that began in 1869; Schwegmann Giant Supermarkets were a place for New Orleaneans to "make groceries". Schwegmann started as a small grocery store and became the largest grocer in New Orleans. Some of the stores built in the 1960's such as Harvey and Algiers had mini-malls attached to the store. Some of the stores such as the Old Gentilly Rd location had businesses in the front of the store just like the Wal-Mart superstores of today. Schwegmann became the largest grocer in the New Orleans area and acquired the National Food store chain in the mid 1990's. Since Schwegmann had a near monopoly of the New Orleans market they were forced to close seven of their acquired stores. The acquisition also put the company into financial trouble and the chain was purchased by Kohlberg and Co after 127 years in business. The chain only lasted a little more than a year after the takeover and closed all the stores in 1999. The Schwegmann stores were known for their low prices and huge selection of store branded items. Fiesta Markets in Houston are very similar in layout and merchandise selection to the Schwegmann Giant Markets in New Orleans. Some of the old markets have been converted to different brands, but several have been abandoned or demolished.

Here is the Mardi Gras Carnival Corner that was open during Mardi Gras season. The Carnival Corner sold beads, parade supplies, and novelties.

Here is another shot of the Schegmann in Metairie at Vets & Division Street. This store was demolished in the early 2000's and replaced by a Lowe's home improvement store.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Maison Blanche Department store New Orleans

I had the opportunity to photograph the Oakwood Mall Maison Blanche just before the nameplate was removed. The metal shutters were put up to protect the store from Hurricane Georges which mainly missed the city. Maison Blanche was founded in 1897 in New Orleans and went through a series of owners over the years including Mercantile Department stores until Dillard's took the brand over. Maison Blanche was similar to Nordstrom's or a slightly higher end Macy's. Once Dillard's took the brand over in 1998 the stores were rebranded as Dillard's. The locations still left in New Orleans in 1998 were; Lake Forest Plaza (demolished 2008), Oakwood (JCPenney 1999), Clearview (Target 2004), and Canal Street (Ritz Carlton Hotel 2000). The Canal Street store in downtown New Orleans was closed when Dillard's took over closing the last of the downtown department stores.

DH Holmes was another casualty of Dillard's in the late 1980's, but I don't have any pictures of the stores. DH Holmes was very similar to Dillard's but catered to the New Orleans shopper better. DH Holmes had these locations when taken over by Dillard's; Lake Forest Plaza (Closed 1996), Uptown (Closed ?), Downtown Canal Street (closed 1989 now the Chateau Sonesta Hotel), Lakeside (still operating), Esplanade (still operating), Belle Promenade (closed 1999), and Oakwood (moved to new building still operating).

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Original Circuit City in Humble Texas

I am back for the new year faster than I expected with some new material.

The original Circuit City location in Humble Texas is getting a new life as Roberts Carpets and floors. This location was closed a year prior to the company bankruptcy and relocated down the Highway to Deerbrook Mall as a "The City" location. This store was a regular sized location that was opened in the mid 1990's.