Friday, June 21, 2013

Deauville North Fashion Mall Spring Tx.

The Deauville Fashion Malls are a short, but interesting story from the Houston area. In the early 1980's Houston was still booming with many malls opening up across town. The Deauville company (formed in 1971) was headed by Thomas Gordon (Gordon Jewelers) opened 3 discount malls in the Houston area in 1984. Another mall was built in Kingwood in 1985-1986 but never opened for business. The malls were located in Webster, Stafford, and Spring. There were also 2 Deauville Shopping Centers, one on I-45 south of Greenspoint Mall and the other on 290 at 34th street. Deauville also proposed malls at the corner of 1960 and I-45, Will Clayton and US 59, Midland Texas, and Austin Texas. The malls quickly fell into trouble and all three were foreclosed on by 1986. Kingwood never opened and sat empty for many years until it was reopened as a medical center. The Deauville Malls opened on Sunday's when Texas Blue Laws were still in place requiring retailers to close on Sunday's. In 1985 the blue laws were repealed and many retailers started opening up on Sunday's. By early 1986 to mall dropped from 80% occupied to 50% occupied by the end of the year and continued to decline.

The Deauville North Fashion Mall at 300,000 square feet was anchored by Designer Depot and Federated. There was also nearby shopping center just across the parking lot to the North with Lowe's Theaters and Builders Square (closed) that is listed as being part of the mall property.

Over 50 stores were advertised in the mall, but I was only able to compile a very short list. If anybody knows of more please leave a comment and I will add it to the list.
Alpha Photo Lab
Antique Plus
Federated
Houseworks
Nursela's Name Brand Shoes
Rudy Carbanzo's Family Camp and Seafood Restaurant
Siegel's Fashion Station
Waterbed Mart

The original sign as it stands today.

By 1989, the mall interior was over 90% vacant and the name was changed to Spring Village Center.
 

Here are some entrances to the mall that are the same style used in all of the Deauville Malls in the Houston area.
 


This is the one section of the property that has been modified to a strip shopping center style.
The mall building currently has two tile stores, a church, Big Tyme Billiards, and Ace Mart. The interior mall has been closed since possibly the early 1990's.
 



Here is one of the untouched entrances to the former mall just behind Ace Mart. 

Here is a look through the glass door of a former mall entrance into the mall concourse. The inside mall closed sometime in the 1990's but the property never fully closed with the remaining stores maintaining exterior entrances. This is one of the least known malls in the Houston area and never had the success that the larger regional malls had.
 



Now we move onto the back entrance of the mall where the Designer Depot anchor was located.
Here are photos through the glass at the other entrance to the mall in the above photos. Keep in mind that the Designer Depot closed in early 1987. This section of the mall is a time capsule of a typical 1980's mall.

22 comments:

  1. It certainly seems that the HAIF poster that commented that the mall is still intact inside was correct! Those mall corridors seem to have been relatively well maintained over the years. It's hard to say from the pictures, but those corridors don't look much worse than some corridors at Greenspoint Mall today. It's certainly a far cry from the former Belz Factory Outlet Mall in Allen, TX, (here's a video about that one) that opened and closed in a similar time period. Granted, the Belz Mall was totally abandoned. This Deauville Fashion Mall still has some retail and other functions even if it isn't a mall anymore. I drive by this mall quite often so I might have to take a peek through the windows in person sometime.

    Fashion Depot and Builders Square were both operated by Kmart so Kmart had an indirect but significant presence at this mall. The Loews Theater is still there and I think there is some kind of large country music bar/dance hall in the strip mall section of this mall. Of course, this mall was next to the former Goodyear Blimp base that was quite a landmark back in the day. There is also a freestanding Walgreens in the parking lot that has an electric car charging station. I figured that I would never see anyone use those in Houston, but I have seen a couple of Nissan Leafs and Mitsubishi i-MiEVs charging there. I'm not sure how common those charging stations are at Walgreens locations across town. A Super Target, Best Buy, and some other big box stores have been built across Cypresswood in more recent years.

    I'm glad that this mall was documented because it is a part of Houston retail history that few people know about even though the building is in good shape and still has a viewable mall look to it inside. This mall certainly evokes many thoughts and questions about the proposed Deauville Mall with Montgomery Ward and Simon at I-45 and FM 1960 that was thwarted by Federated/Greenspoint Mall. Granted, that is assuming that we are talking about the same Deauville and it seems like that is the case. Cypresswood and FM 1960 are so close together that this Deauville Fashion Mall could be viewed as a replacement idea for what may have been a more traditional mall.

    I was looking at a map and saw that there is a small street called Deauville Plaza Dr. near 290 and 34th street. It's in between two shopping centers on the eastbound side of 290 (one has an OfficeMax and the other has a Goodwill store) and the road leads to a self-storage facility and what appears to be some sort of Metro bus facility. Perhaps this is related to the Deauville shopping center near W. 34th street? Of course, that is assuming that it is the same Deauville. It's interesting how Deauville's legacy lives on in small ways through street names in Houston and Midland at the very least.

    Anyway, I am looking forward to future installments of the Deauville and Buyer's Market mall series.

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  2. The mall really looks good on the inside for being closed for so long. There is another entrance on the far side of the mall that you may be able to look inside of also, but I will do that on a later visit. I guess they have kept the mall corridors clean because some of the stores that are there today built into the mall corridor and the whole mall was cleaned of the construction dust.
    The former Deauville shopping center on 290 and 34th was a part of the same company. I am not sure when that one changed hands but it opened several years before the fashion malls opened. That shopping center is doing good after losing nearly all of their big box stores around 2000. Toy's R Us, Service Merchandise, and another big box store all closed there at the same time leaving Petco as the lone anchor at the center for a few years. The center has rebounded and is filled up once again.
    Another center I am putting together an article for is the North Oaks Mall (center) on 1960. I went and checked out the center and the mall portion is still open, but only the entrance to the theater is in business there. There is also an old MacFrugals sign still in place on the Big Lots mall entrance. Thanks for suggesting that center because it will be a good article once I research the center a little more. I am going to go back on a slower weekday to get more photos of the mall corridor when it is not as crowded before I post the article.

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  3. Also this is the first article with my new phone camera and I recaptured some parts of the mall with my new camera and replaced the photos with my original photos. The best example of the new phone vs the old phone is with the interior photos of the mall The first two are from the new phone and the last one is from the old phone.

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  4. I need to make one correction to what I said in my earlier reply. I said that there is a Walgreens with an electric car charger in the parking lot of this Deauville Mall, but the Walgreens is actually across Holzwarth Rd. from the mall. Nevertheless, the Walgreens is really close to the former mall.

    There is a Brother's Pizza in one of the shopping centers across Cypresswood from the mall. Did that Brother's Pizza used to be in the Spring Deauville Fashion Mall?

    As for the shopping center that you are talking about on 290, are you talking about the former Venture/Kmart, Service Merchandise, and Toys R Us shopping center on W 43rd street? I don't think that shopping center was built until the early to mid 1990's when Venture started opening up here. Perhaps I'm wrong about that or Service Merchandise and Toys R Us used to be in one of the shopping centers on W 34th street before they moved to W 43rd street, but I don't really remember that being the case. It is quite easy to confuse 34th street with 43rd street as they are quite close to one another and are the only major numbered roads in that part of town.

    That ex-Venture W 43rd street shopping center may or may not be visible in the Charlie Sheen movie from 1994 called The Chase. I don't know if you've seen that movie, but most of it was filmed on 290, the Hardy Toll Road, and Beltway 8. The movie was quite bad and I guess it was a box office flop even with a lot of big name actors, but it's probably as close as Hollywood will come to where I live. A couple of members from the Red Hot Chili Peppers band had acting roles in that movie and one of their scenes was filmed very close to where I live. Anyway, I know that the building that now has the Wells Fargo Bank near 43rd street was visible in the movie and that is right across from the ex-Venture shopping center.

    I'm glad to hear that you will be doing a post about the North Oaks Mall. It'll be nice to have a post here about something that isn't far from me and is a place that I still visit somewhat frequently. I have not been in the former mall section in quite some time so I'm interested to see what it looks like. Granted, I could just walk in there sometime, but it'll be good to see pictures on here as well. That's interesting about the MacFrugals sign. They changed their name to Big Lots quite some time ago. Only a small part of the former mall corridor (which wasn't very big to begin with) could possibly be visible since the stores have built over the corridor, but it'll be interesting to see what is left. That shopping center is always busy, but hopefully you'll find some time where it isn't so crowded. I'm sure there is some time where the movie theater isn't so crowded.

    It does look like your new camera takes better pictures than your old one. I'm glad that you were able to get good pictures of the mall section because it still looks quite good.

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    1. I am not sure about the pizza place. It could have been at the mall, but you could not see it from the glass doors. The comment on HAIF mentioned Brothers as a tenant in the closed mall corridor. Hopefully the guy who commented on HAIF will see this and send his photos of the rest of the inside of the mall.
      Looks like I did confuse the two shopping centers on 290. The correct one is between 34th and Mitchelldale St.(Thanks Google Maps) The Deauville Plaza Street runs right by the shopping center.
      I did not know The Chase was filmed here in Houston I will have to take a look at that movie again and pay attention to the landmarks. There are not many movies filmed here in the Houston area.
      I found a few articles about the North Oaks Mall but I did not find out much. There was a very similar development off Westheimer that had an indoor mall section. That mall corridor is long gone though. Here is the HAIF article that mostly mentions the Westchase Mall, but has a few comments about North Oaks. http://www.houstonarchitecture.com/haif/topic/19578-westchase-mall-and-northoaks-mall/

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    2. I believe that Federated Stores were in the mall there, too. That was the electronics chain that Atari bought in the mid 80's so as to have a retail outlet for its computers as Radio Shack did. They were snookered into paying more than what the actual book/market value of the chain actually turned out to be. That contributed to Atari's demise a few years later. I bought two Atari xf551 drives there.

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    3. I will add Federated to the list. I had never looked into the history of Federated, I just remember when they shut down many years ago. Thank for the comment.

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  5. It looks like Weingarten built a few shopping centers with mall corridors, but I think North Oaks is the best example (or only example) that still shows some of it's past mall history. Some comments on HAIF said that it isn't a mall if there isn't parking all around it, but North Oaks did and does still have parking all around. Granted, there isn't much parking on the sides and the back, but it does exist. I'm not sure if there is an entrance to get into the theater from the back lots. Anyway, the site map does show some of these things. I wonder if current mall storefronts B06 and B07 on that site map existed back when it was a mall or if those were built afterward because it seems like those stores might have gone where the corridor used to be. Maybe not, it's hard to say.

    There are some old ads for stores that were located at North Oaks in old issues of Texas Monthly magazine. Here's one from 1978 for some sort of art store called I've Been Framed Gallery at North Oaks Mall. Here is a 1982 ad listing a B.Dalton Booksellers at North Oaks and West Chase Malls. I don't really remember either of those stores at North Oaks Mall so I don't know if they had a mall storefront, an exterior facing storefront, or both.

    I did find a couple of news articles discussing remodeling at North Oaks. Here is one from 1996 and here is another from 1998 (the part about North Oaks is in the middle of the article). The 1998 one mentions the mini-mall concept and why it was abandoned, but there isn't a ton of details. The 1998 one says North Oaks was developed in 1976 and the 1996 article says it was developed in 1978. Obviously at least one of those dates is inaccurate.

    Yep, I remember watching the filming of The Chase. I think they were using freeway sections that were under construction and not yet open to the public. I remember that they brought in some palm trees to make it look like California and I remember the cars that they put on the unopened parts of 290 just West of FM 1960/Hwy. 6 that they probably had extras and stunt drivers drive. Probably the funniest part of the movie was how they tried to make a toll road plaza (probably one from Beltway 8) look like the US-Mexico border. It's funny because it is so obvious what it really is to anyone living in Houston. A lot of the parts that were filmed were parts of the metro area that weren't developed yet when the movie was filmed, but you can certainly find some landmarks that existed then and still exist today.

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    1. Schwegmanns in the New Orleans area built a few mini-malls at their grocery stores that you had to go into to enter the Supermarket. One of the ones still standing but out of business was featured in my Tall Timbers Mall article. The malls also had an anchor across from the grocery in the mall which was Grants and was later Kmart. The main difference in those malls and North Oaks/ Westchase was that the Louisiana Malls were not shopping centers with a mall corridor. They were malls that you had to enter to go to the anchor stores.
      The North Oaks mall corridor has two entrances, one in the front under the Cinema sign and one which goes to the back parking lot. Thank you for sending over those articles it will help with the North Oaks Mall research. I will try to find out the actual date the center opened.

      I remember B-Dalton Bookstores, but I always found Waldenbooks to carry a better selection of books I liked to read. Did you ever go to a Super Crown Bookstore near Deerbrook Mall or the old Bookstop that was on 1960 and Kuykendahl?
      I prefer Half Priced Books over Barnes and Noble because there is always something interesting to find. Barnes and Noble has some good books, but there is not much variety from store-to-store.

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  6. I just went through some new articles in the Chronicle and noticed that there was a blurb in there yesterday about the North Oaks Shopping Center being sold to World Class Capital Group. What interesting timing to see that in the newspaper! Perhaps it might be a good idea for you to take the photos you want to take of that center ASAP just in case the new owners have some different ideas on how they want to run the center. I can't imagine anything significant happening anytime soon, but who knows. If nothing else, the site maps on the Weingarten website will probably be taken down so you might want to save a copy of that file while you still can.

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    1. Wow, talk about timing. For now I have photos of the MacFrugals sign in the mall corridor and the center from the outside. It looks like the mall corridor used to be longer if the floor plan was similar to the Westchase Mall. In that mall the Target was connected to the mall corridor. To the West of the theater entrance in North Oaks there is a store and the hallway abruptly ends which was probably cut off by the expansion of the nearby stores.

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  7. The interesting thing about B.Dalton and Waldenbooks was that B.Dalton was started and owned for several years by Dayton's before selling the chain to Barnes & Noble. Dayton's also formed and owns Target (though the company is now called Target Corp.) so that might explain why there was a B.Dalton in North Oaks and Westchase Malls. Waldenbooks, OTOH, was owned for a while by Kmart. The overlap between the Kmart era Waldenbooks and Dayton/Target era B.Dalton wasn't very long, but I guess it did add to the rivalry.

    I think the only bookstore that I've been to in the Deerbrook Mall area is the Half Price Books close to the mall. I did go to the regular Crown Books store in the Champions shopping center where Service Merchandise used to be. It was close to what used to be Walgreens (now Kirklands). I do remember the Bookstop at FM 1960 and Kuykendahl, but I usually went to the Bookstop in The Commons across from Willowbrook Mall. That store is now a Ruby Tequila's restaurant. Deerbrook Mall seems to be doing better on the bookstore front than Willowbrook Mall. Deerbrook has a Barnes & Noble and the Half Price Books really close by, but Willowbrook does not have any bookstores in or all that close to it anymore AFAIK.

    I also prefer Half Price Books to Barnes & Noble, but I don't think that Half Price Books is quite as enjoyable as it used to be. It seems like they used to have better prices on stuff (perhaps they had more used books back when) and I remember when they used to sell a lot of used PC software. I guess they can't do that much now because of licensing restrictions and stuff like that. They have started to sell a lot of used video game stuff, but I don't find their prices to be all that stellar in that area. You can still find some interesting stuff at Half Price Books, but perhaps thrift stores are a better place to look for bargains on used books, videos, and music. I can't really say that I had a preference between B.Dalton and Waldenbooks. I guess the B.Dalton may have been a bit bigger of the two at Willowbrook in terms of store size. I don't think we brought a lot of stuff from either because Crown and Bookstop were cheaper.

    Yeah, the mall corridor went from the theater to the former Target at North Oaks Mall. Only a small part of that corridor could possibly still exist today because the stores have built back over that corridor. I wonder if the new owner will have any more success in leasing those current "mall" storefronts. It would be neat if they did, but I guess any potential stores there would probably have to rely on selling to the theater customers. Some sort of snack store might work, but the theater probably does not want to compete with some other vendor. Perhaps a return of a small arcade could work, but I don't know if arcades are still viable businesses.

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    1. Thanks for the bookstore info. Crown Books was actually in the same shopping center that Half Price Books is in now. I agree that Half Price is not the same as before. It is funny I thought they were a small bookstore chain that was local a few years ago before I found out they are a good sized corporation with stores in several states.
      The mall section of North Oaks would be hard to fill as it stands since it has been mostly taken over by the larger stores. If some of the stores had mall entrances, maybe the corridor could get the few store spaces filled. An arcade would be a good idea for the cinema to expand. There is a lonely store space to the West of the cinema entrance that could be opened up for an arcade space. Maybe a food court could work if the restaurant spaces were small and advertised on signage.

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  8. Actually, Crown Books was across Veterans Memorial from North Oaks. The store opened in the mid-90s and closed around 2000. It's now a K&G Fashion Superstore. Half Price Books opened their North Oaks location in the summer of 1997.

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    1. It looks like you were thinking the same thing I was about the Super Crown store and the Half Price Books opening date. I did not remember the Veterans Memorial Super Crown Books store when I made that post, but it did come to mind shortly after that. I did mention it in my 6/28/2013 10:59PM post below though. I believe that the Champions Forest location must have closed when the Veterans Memorial store opened, but I don't remember if it was still open when the other store opened. I would say that the Veterans Memorial store only lasted a year or two. It could have only opened when Albertsons came to Houston as that was when that center was built and Crown Books store left Texas in 1998. I don't think there are many years in between there.

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  9. I also did not realize that Half Price Books was as big of a chain as it was until I saw their location list a few years back. I just looked up their website on the Web Archive Wayback Machine and they had locations all over the place even back in 1997 (BTW, their 1997 site states that the North Oaks Half Price Books opened in Spring 1997). HPB had and still has (though to a slightly lesser extent) a bit of a folksy feel to it that makes it feel like a local chain. Granted, they are based out of Dallas so maybe that helps. Some locations do feel more corporate than others. The Rice Village store feels like a local bookstore (though I have not been there in 7-8 years so I don't know if it is the same now), the Deerbrook Mall and North Oaks stores feel more or less like a local bookstore, and the Copperfield store feels more like a corporate store. I've been to some of their other stores, but it's hard to remember them in detail.

    It came to me after I made my last post that I think the Crown Books that was in the Champions area that I mentioned moved to the ex-Albertson's/Sears Hardware shopping center across Veterans Memorial from North Oaks Mall shortly before the chain closed/left Houston. That was a Super Crown store and and I think it was where the K&G store is now. I'm not even sure if I went to that store before it closed.

    I think an arcade would be a good fit for one of those "mall" storefronts at North Oaks Mall. Of course, the arcade was one of the memorable features of North Oaks Mall back when it was more of a mall. Granted, I say that contingent on if arcades are still viable businesses or not. I thinking that they may not be viable businesses, but if movie theaters are still viable, why not arcades? Perhaps a retro-themed arcade aimed at teens who might be interested in old school gaming? Who knows.

    A food court might be a good idea, but I don't know if the theater would agree with that. It might cut into their concession sales and something like a food court would require restrooms and I'm not sure if there are mall operated restrooms in that section anymore. There actually is a lot of food options at North Oaks as it is especially if you count the outparcel sections. Maybe something like a semi-fancy pizza place would work since it wouldn't really compete with CiCis.

    Those "mall" storefronts look pretty small on the Weingarten site map, but the storefronts are actually pretty big. Perhaps B06 and B07 could be combined if someone wanted a bigger store, but both of those are already bigger than the stores that RadioShack, Gamestop and others operate out of at North Oaks. The comic book store that is at North Oaks might be the kind of tenant that could work in the "mall" section, but perhaps the owners of that store don't want teens coming in and reading the comics if they aren't going to buy anything. That's probably more of a problem with a mall-type store than a regular shopping strip store like they have now. Maybe something youth oriented like a cell phone store, used record store, Spencer's Gifts type store, or athletic gear/hat (Lids) type store could work given the people who probably visit the theater. The problem with the theater is that a lot of their traffic is probably during the evening when regular retail stores are closed. Maybe not, but it is a tricky situation.

    In the end, I'm not sure if those stores have any realistic chance of being leased. It would be neat if they were though. I agree that any store that operates out of those "mall" spots would need some kind of signage on the outside to tell people that there are stores inside. I'm not sure if the theater would be all that willing to give up some space on their facade, but who knows.

    Anyway, hopefully the center's new owners can continue the success and perhaps even advance the center.

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  10. Sadly the best way to get stores into that part of the mall would be to limit the cinema entrance to a small hallway and have another store expanded into the mall space essentially finishing off the mall. If the other nearby stores had not expanded into the mall there may have been a chance to salvage the mall portion.

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  11. I visited the Deauville Fashion Mall (an odd choice in naming considering the major lack of fashion related stores) in Stafford on several occasions in the 80s. The only reason I visited this 'mall' was specifically for the electronics store locate there (I think it may have been a Federated). While I rarely found what I was looking for in that electronics store as well the prices were overly high considering the mall's location and clientele, it was still fun to visit and see what new things they were hawking. I don't think I ever stepped foot in any other store in that mall.

    Though, I'd say that the term 'mall' here was relative. It was more or less an enclosed strip mall and not at all well occupied. Every time I went to this mall, my overwhelming feeling was "When is this mall going to fold?" There was always plenty of unoccupied retail space in the mall each time I'd visit. It never seemed to attract any real brand name stores and never seemed to ever open more stores.

    If someone had opened an arcade in there, I might have gone down there more often just for that. Because Westwood Mall was closer and had the Tilt arcade, I'd end up there more often than not. There was also an electronics retailer just a few doors from the Tilt arcade, but not as well stocked for electronics as the store that was in the Stafford Deauville Fashion Mall.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your Deauville experiences. There are not many people who remember these short lived malls. The electronics store there was Federated.

      The Southwest Deauville has been mostly taken over by a sell us your car dealership and most of the property is gated. It sounds like they never had stores that were very popular and had most of the same stores at each mall.

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    2. Other than for Federated, I never had any other reason to go a Deauville mall. I also knew there were other Deauville locations around the city, but I never went looking for them after visiting the Stafford location (considering the stores that were there).

      Though, I remember buying a Sony turntable (that I still have actually) from this Federated when it was on clearance (possibly after the holidays). I had a vertical turntable that was stolen while in college and I recall buying a Sony on clearance there to replace that turntable. It was actually a decent price for a turntable at that time, especially considering it was Sony branded. It was like $89 or something. I believe the considerable markdown was due to the the lid plastic being considerably scratched and hazed. I never did fully understand how it could have gotten that way even as a demo unit. The turntable worked perfectly fine, otherwise. I knew that I could fix the haze and scratches with plastic polish, and I did. After I was done, the lid looked brand new.

      I believe the reason I ended up at this Deauville was due to the Federated that was located at Sharpstown Mall may have closed or was in some odd state. I never liked the Sharpstown Federated much. The staff were never helpful and the prices were overly high. So, I decided to visit the Stafford Deauville to check that Federated out.

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    3. If I could go back to the 1980's and pick up some stereo equipment, I would be very happy. Good stereo equipment is hard to find these days and the new stuff is not nearly as powerful. I have surprisingly gotten many great tips from the comments on this blog to make great sounding recordings using vintage stereo equipment.

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    4. Brian, I enjoyed reading the story about your Sony turntable from Federated. I still have my 1980s turntable as well, but that is a Pioneer from Wal-Mart of all places. I don't remember the price.

      Federated had good prices and selection, but the salesmen there did tend to use high pressure tactics. Highland was another similar type store that you might remember. Of course, those two were famous for their TV ads that can be seen on YouTube. Other similar type stores of the time were Pacific Stereo, CMC (more higher end stuff there though), Home Entertainment, Colonel Audio & Video, early Conn's stores, City Appliance Center (which I think had a location at Sharpstown Mall), and Radio Shack of course (Sharpstown also had a VideoConcepts store that Radio Shack/Tandy would later own; Tandy also owned the McDuff and Incredible Universe stores, but the latter was a 1990s thing). I'm sure I'm forgetting some names as well.

      All of the department stores at Westwood and Sharpstown Malls at the time would have had an extensive selection of audio equipment and VCRs. There was also the catalog showrooms, Wilson's/Service Merchandise, Best, Houston Jewelery, that had good selection of electronics.

      The 1980s were certainly a good time for electronics. They were expensive back then in many cases relative to today, but there was a lot of well-built/high performing electronics to be had that still work to this day. Electronics were a big part of department stores back then and obviously there were a lot of electronics stores to go drool at. That era (including parts of the 1970s and 1990s) were glory times for electronics for retailers and many consumers for sure.

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