Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kmart Lake Charles La revisited 2013

Looks like the Lake Charles Kmart was getting a new sign on my visit earlier this summer. The Big K sign was removed and the wall was painted over to remove any labelscar from the old sign. 

Early 2012 comparison of the front of the store. 
Not much has changed on the inside of the store as of this point, but maybe more will happen besides just a sign change. 

The electronics department, I suspect that behind the blue panels are the exact same pictures as in many Kmart stores including Lufkin.

Garden center

The checkouts and exit of the store. 


  1. I suppose that this is one of the closest Kmarts to Houston. It certainly looks like it is an older Kmart based on the entry facade. I wonder if the store got a totally new sign or if they just took the "Big" stuff off and re-centered and reused the older style Kmart logo by itself.

    This store isn't one of the worst Kmarts that I have seen pictures of, but it looks like this store is pretty indicative of malaise era Kmart. It looks like there are a lot of burned out/missing light bulbs, stained ceiling tiles, and crooked in-store signage. The coverings that they put on the electronics department signage tiles are pretty cheap looking too. OTOH, the store seems reasonably well organized (by Kmart standards at least), they have at least two checkouts open, and there are some cars in the parking lot so hopefully the store is doing a reasonable amount of business. If you compared the appearance and organization of this store to the ex-Kmart of a similar vintage Alco store in Pasadena, TX, I would have to give the edge to the Alco store. That's just based on photos though and maybe things play out differently in person.

    I do like some of the products out on the back shelf of the electronics department though. It looks like that Sony boombox is the Sony CFD-G700CP cassette recorder boombox. I actually saw one of those at the thrift store a week or two ago. It's massive and pretty ugly looking, but it's hard to complain about a modern cassette recorder boombox that is of at least decent quality. Also, it looks like this store has plenty of Toshiba DVD-VCR combos in stock. I'm not sure if those are the DVD recorder or player combos (or a mix of both), but my guess is that they are the players.

    I'm not sure if this was your intention, but it looks like you also got a photo of this store's selection of media. I certainly see packages of Maxell 6 hour and 8 hour VHS cassettes sitting on the shelf there. I believe those are both standard grade cassettes, but supposedly Maxell also sells premium grade tapes in those lengths as well. Sears (at least some locations) also sells the Maxell Standard Grade 6 and 8 hour tapes as well so perhaps it isn't shocking that a Kmart would have them as well. I wonder how the Sears and Kmart prices compare for those though. I actually found a few twin packs of those Maxell Standard 6 Hour tapes for $1 in the clearance section of a Walgreens a little while back. That was a great price especially considering what Walgreens sells non-clearance blank VHS tapes for. Some thrift stores charge more than that for blank VHS tapes. It's funny because the clerk at the checkout was asking me what they were when I checked out! I had to laugh at that one.

    It's harder to tell, but it looks like that is a multi-pack brick of Sony HF audio cassettes to the right of those video cassettes, but I suppose those could also be camcorder video tapes of some kind. Well, either way, the Lufkin Kmart Walkman woman would have been proud of the selection of vintage electronics hardware and media that this Kmart sells. It's too bad that they may have covered up her picture at this store though!

  2. I just noticed the products you pointed out in one of the electronics photos. I actually took that photo because of the Kmart sign in the background and the ceiling tile missing. Their electronics section at that time was being reconfigured but they had a good selection on the shelves. This store is much better organized and stocked than it was over 5 years ago, I am not sure if it was a change in management or just a better effort on the employees to clean up the store. The former restaurant was completely cleared out and unless you knew where it was at, you could not find it today. They also had a large appliance section in the back corner of the store, but that did not last and they extended the toys section out to that corner of the store. They still have a few display appliances near the electronics section, but that is it. I guess since there is a Sears about two miles away, they pulled that section of the store out. I also really don't see what is controversial about the TV ad, but I guess someone did.

  3. It is good to hear that this store has improved over the years instead of continuing to go downhill. They still have work to do, but perhaps things are going in the right direction at least. I actually saw that missing ceiling tile and I was going to comment on it, but then I thought that maybe it was one of those tinted security camera tiles. I guess it was just a missing tile after all. It seems like dirty, stained, or missing ceiling tiles are a norm for Kmarts. Although the burned out bulb issue is obvious at this Kmart, it isn't the worst that I've seen in Kmart pictures.

    The missing bulbs in front of the TVs was probably done on purpose to increase the quality of the image on the demo TVs. I don't know if this Kmart had one of those TV demo rooms like some Kmarts did, but do you know when they got rid of those? I never see those in Kmart photos these days so I assume that they walled those off at some point.

    It does seem that this Kmart is pretty well stocked. That hasn't always been a strong point for Kmarts and Sears even. Hopefully they are better in terms of keeping sale items in stock because it seemed like Houston Kmarts had major trouble keeping advertised products in stock. Another problem Kmarts had back then was that they didn't have accurate price tags (or any price tags) on the shelves. How does this store do in that regard? It looks like most stuff has shelf tags, but the audio equipment up on the top shelf in your electronics department picture doesn't seem to have price tags.

    I'm not sure if I totally get the point behind Kmart selling major appliances. I know it's something that they've done before long ago, but do they really sell enough of them to justify the floorspace? Maybe they have excess floorspace, but that does not really explain the tight spaces that I see in some Kmart photos. We've heard about Sears' slipping appliance sales, but I wonder if that takes in account any sales that may have shifted over to Kmart and Sears Hometown/Hardware type stores. Kmart is still a Sears Holdings company, but the Hometown type things were separated out into a different company a little while back so I don't know about those stores.

    I don't have a problem with the ads either. Some think that they are racist and others think that it makes Kmart look low-class, but how are you going to make high-class ads about layaway? The ads probably do a good job at targeting would-be Kmart shoppers. The rap lyrics aren't obscene at all and for better or for worse, rap has been mainstream amongst all groups since at least the 1990s. The Yo Mama jokes are funny but a bit odd as Kmart was a big joke target about being cheap years ago when Yo Mama jokes were big and discount stores weren't totally mainstream.

    On a completely different note, I think we discussed how retailers sponsoring racing teams ended up leading to retailers getting prominent placement on video game covers a long time back on the Lufkin Kmart discussion I think. Obviously, this was the case with Kmart as they were on a couple of video game covers including Indycar Racing from Papyrus. Well, I had totally forgotten about this, but I saw the cover of Nascar Racing 3 from Papyrus today and noticed that Montgomery Ward co-sponsored Bobby Labonte's Nascar team back in the late 90s-2000 and that helped Wards land on the cover of the game. Those Papyrus games are legendary in sim racing circles for their realism and they probably sold pretty well. Corpus Christi's Bobby Labonte actually won the Winston Cup championship in 2000 with Wards having associate sponsorship with the team. Of course, 2000 was Wards' last regular year of operation so I guess they went out with a victory lap!

    1. I remember the demo rooms in the older Kmarts before the Big K conversion, or maybe slightly after. Those older light fixtures have to be a pain to keep up with, but I have been to many Walmarts and they have the same issue. The linked photo is an extreme case though and they need to fix that issue. As far as price tags, this store is much better than I remember in the Houston area. Most products have price stickers even with a price tag on the shelf. Even the clothes had price tags or stickers on every item I looked at which makes life much easier. The store is very well stocked and even the clearance aisles are maintained well. The racing sponsor-ships are interesting and I wonder what happened to the promotional items such as signs and other items once Wards went out of business.

  4. Part I:

    That is good to hear that Kmart is using price stickers on stuff. That's not something that is seen a whole lot these days (although my understanding is that some states or areas may require such things). Actually, I earlier mentioned in this discussion that I got some VHS cassettes on clearance from Walgreens. One neat thing that Walgreens does with a lot of their clearance goods, including the tapes I brought, is that they put the original pre-clearance price on the stuff with an old school looking Walgreens price sticker. They also put another sticker then with the clearance price. That's pretty neat and I thought it really added to the retroness of the tapes.

    As far as Wal-Marts lights go, the lights that aren't on at a Wal-Mart may be intentionally off. One of Wal-Mart's strategies in some of their stores with open ceilings and skylights is to put sensors on their lights so that they don't come on (or only come on in dark areas of the store) when the skylights are providing enough light. If it gets cloudy or dark, the sensor will allow the lights to come on. YouTube user vwestlife, who typically posts vintage electronics videos that I usually enjoy watching, actually made a video of this happening in a Wal-Mart store in New Jersey.

    Now I'm sure that some Wal-Marts have truly burned out light bulbs as well. Perhaps it isn't as noticeable there since they usually have open ceilings that are higher up and don't warrant the looks that the Kmart ceilings do with their giant HVAC vents and all. Still, I'm sure the typical Wal-Mart has fewer broken bulbs on average than the typical Kmart.

    1. I have not been to a Walgreens in a long-time, so I am not too familiar with how the stores are these days. I know the company keeps their stores constantly updated, but they have high prices on items in comparison to discount stores. I have noticed many companies are adding the original price to the clearance price stickers.

      I know the Humble Walmart has the light sensors at their store because the lights are mostly off during sunny days at their store. I have seen crews on the late shift going up and changing lights in several stores I have shopped at in the past, so I know they keep up as much as they can with the lights. I am not sure if store employees or contractors take care of this work though.

      Check out my Spring Deauville post from a few weeks ago. I decided to check out the entrance farther back on the building. I added 3 new photos from that section of the mall to the bottom of the post

  5. Part II:

    The funny thing is that I totally forgot that Montgomery Ward sponsored Bobby Labonte's car during the time that he won the championship. Nascar was really, really big around 2000 so I'm sure Wards had some sort of in-store promotion centered on Labonte, but I can't really say that I remember what it was. It was probably something in the Wards Auto Express though.

    I can't say that I remember this either, but my guess would be that Wards Auto Express sold Interstate car batteries during that time. If so, I wonder if Wards got a nice deal on that sponsorship. Interstate Batteries didn't really have the retail network that they have now back then so it might have benefited them to inform Nascar followers where to buy Interstate batteries from. Thus, maybe Wards was able to get in on the deal on the cheap.

    Although I had forgotten Wards' sponsorship of Labonte, I did remember that Wards sponsored Geoff Bodine's Nascar Winston Cup team back in 1994 when Bodine won several races. Bodine's primary sponsor was actually Exide car batteries at that time so maybe Wards sold those at the time. What was perhaps more interesting was that Nascar had two tire suppliers in 1994, Goodyear and upstart Hoosier. Hoosier supported Bodine that year and I wonder if Wards was part of that team because of Hoosier because I remember seeing Hoosier tires for sale at Wards at the time. That struck me as being very odd back then because Hoosier was known as being a racing tire company and not so much as a passenger car tire maker. Perhaps Wards was part of some sort of tie-ins with Hoosier Tire and Exide Batteries at that point. I can't really find any pictures of Wards' logo on Bodine's car, but you can faintly make out the Auto Express logo on Bodine's driving suit here below the Ford logo.

    I'm sure Wards had promotional items at the time (probably in-store driver stand-up displays and stuff like that), but who knows where those are now. I'm sure some are on ebay and others are for sale in flea markets across the country. I'm sure there are a lot of die-cast models of the cars Wards sponsored, especially for Labonte's 2000 championship year, so perhaps you could find one of those with the Wards logo on the cheap. Oddly enough, Circuit City replaced Wards' signage on Labonte's car after 2000. I say that is odd because Circuit City was once known as Wards.

    I know that Papyrus (or their publishers at least) included a large poster of the box cover with the Indycar Racing game, but I don't know if they were still doing that when they were selling Nascar Racing 3. If so, that would be pretty neat to have. I probably still have my Indycar Racing poster somewhere that had the Kmart car on the cover. I don't know how common of a practice it is these days for video game publishers to include a poster of the box art with the game these days.

    1. Interstate batteries used to be much easier to find, but I think only a few stores still carry that brand. I know that they were high quality batteries in the 90's but I am not sure how they are now. I don't know if you have had a chance to look at some of my San Jacinto Mall posts, but I have a photo of the inside of the Wards auto at that mall taken through the window of the garage. It is somewhere on the below link. I also have some good photos of the closed Mervyn's store at that mall. http://southernretail.blogspot.com/search/label/San%20Jacinto%20Mall

      When you look deep into the flea markets and antique stores you can find some hidden gems. Unfortunately I am pressed for time and my children don't have any patience either which hurts my ability to find stuff in stores.
      Speaking of electronics retailers, Comp USA off of I-10 and Bunker Hill is closed. I passed by the other night, the signs are gone and the inventory is gone. I could not find out any information other than on Wikipedia where someone added that the store was closed in July of 2013 and the date of closure was unknown. I was last at that store around Christmas time last year, and I have a couple photos of the store. Sounds like I have another post in the making, lol.

  6. Part I:

    I was watching some old VHS recordings this weekend that I recorded years ago and came across another interesting Nascar sponsorship that I had forgotten. It seems that Kmart was an associate sponsor for Roger Penske's two Nascar entries in 1998. I had forgotten about this, but it's not like Kmart had big logos on either car. Both of Penske's drivers won a race each that year so I guess Kmart does have a couple of more Nascar victories than I initially gave them credit for. Here is a picture of Jeremy Mayfield celebrating after a win with the Kmart logo on his driving suit (the Kmart logo is partially covered by someone's hand, but you can tell what it is). That sponsorship isn't too surprising now that I think about it because Kmart was the co-primary sponsor for Mayfield's car in 1997, but that team merged with the Penske team in 1998.

    Car batteries are interesting because it's one product that is seemingly dominated by house brands. We know about Sears DieHard, but there is also Wal-Mart's EverStart, Costco's Kirkland batteries, and every part chain seems to have their own brand as well. Even the car manufacturers have their own branded replacement batteries that can be purchased from the dealers. Interstate is a somewhat rare exception to the house brand rule. You're right that Interstate batteries can be hard to find sometimes, but I guess one of their current strategies is to sell them through their own Interstate All Battery Center stores. I don't know if you're familiar with them, but there is one near me in the Jones Rd. and FM 1960 shopping center that Kmart used to be in. I've never been to it, but I assume it to be similar to Batteries Plus and those types of stores.

    I know that Firestone stores (company stores, not private dealers) sold Interstate batteries once upon a time. They may still do, but I'm not sure about that. I brought an Interstate battery from there probably around 2000 or 2001. Interstate may have not been able to put Firestone sponsorship on their Nascar car because of Nascar's relationship with Goodyear. That may have helped Montgomery Ward even more so in terms of getting a good deal on that sponsorship.

    On the topic of Firestone and mass merchandisers, do you remember JCPenney's lifetime batteries? Of course, Firestone took over Penney's auto centers, but I believe that they also took over the warranty replacement of those batteries. Firestone is probably still replacing batteries for a few people that still have the same car that they had when Penney's was selling those batteries. I believe those warranties were good for the lifetime of the car as long as it has the same owner.

    1. Sounds like Firestone got a raw deal with those batteries, but I am sure they lasted longer than what we have today. To be fair, cars rely on more and more electronic components to operate that cars from 30 years ago. I don't remember going to a JCPenney auto center, I just remember the Firestones, Montgomery Ward Auto Centers, Sears Auto Centers, and Penske at Kmart.

  7. Part II:

    What's even more interesting about car batteries is that while there are many different brands of replacement batteries (mainly house brands), there are only 3 companies that make almost all of those brands. Most batteries, including Interstate, are made by Johnson Controls. Exide and East Penn/Deka made some as well, but Johnson Controls really dominates the scene these days. In fact, Exide recently filed for bankruptcy and one of the reasons why is because they lost their deal to supply Wal-Mart with batteries to Johnson Controls. I'm sure that Johnson Controls and the others make multiple grades of batteries for the various brands, but it may be possible that one house brand's top of the line battery is the same as another brand if they have the same manufacturer. Granted, prices, warranties, and the ease of getting a warranty replacement vary between brands/retailers so there are still some battery retailers that are better to deal with than others. My advice would be to avoid Exide built batteries because I've had bad experiences with them and I've heard a lot of rumors of them using shady practices (at least in the past), but it's pretty easy to get a Johnson Controls battery these days.

    The nice thing about Willowbrook Mall is that both the former Montgomery Ward Auto Express and the currently operating Sears Auto Center are attached to the stores. Thus, I am able to see their auto departments whenever I go to the stores and I can see what new products, like the Hoosier tires that Wards was selling in the mid-90s, they have. I think having detached auto centers, especially ones like the West Oaks Sears where the auto center is across the street from the mall, is a major disadvantage in that respect and in other respects as well. It's probably nice to have customers drop off their car and then be able to shop in other departments while waiting without having to traverse the parking lot and stuff like that.

    That tire sale ad in the San Jacinto Mall Wards Auto Express looks quite old. That must have been in there for quite a few years even while Wards was still open. Maybe they moved it from the showroom to the garage.

    It's very interesting that you bring up the CompUSA/TigerDirect store now because I was at their website this weekend and noticed that the Houston location wasn't listed on their weekly ad finder tool or on the location finder. I was going to tell you about it in my next post (which I guess I am doing), but I guess you've already heard the news! I don't know when it closed, but it seems like the Dallas location is still open.

    1. I as well had a bad experience with an Exide Battery, it lasted about a year and crapped out on us. Luckily we were able to get it started to go get the replacement. The factory battery lasted 7 years before that one and finally gave out. I did not know that there are only a few companies that make batteries, but it does not surprise me.
      Having an attached auto center does help boost sales, because people have somewhere to go while they are getting their cars worked on. After about an hour of waiting in an uncomfortable chair in an auto shop, I am ready to get out of there.
      I wonder what other Wards items were left behind in the San Jacinto location. It looks like they boarded up the building and left some stuff behind like signs. Who knows what could be left behind in the rest of the store.
      I guess Comp USA did not pan out here in Houston, but they never expanded which had to have hurt their market share. For some reason electronics stores do not do well here unless they open up several locations and continue to grow. Micro Center is the only exception that I can think of that has bucked that trend.

  8. Part III: (My apologies about the long-windedness)

    I've been to five or six different Walgreens locations in the last couple of months for various different reasons. That in itself is kind of unusual as I don't usually go to Walgreens very often. Anyway, all of the locations I went to were freestanding stores that were opened between ~1995-~2005, but it seemed like there was a bit of variation in how they were laid out and designed. I think a couple had some carpeting, but others didn't have any. There are a couple of different forms of store lay-outs. At least one store had a large wall of angled mirrors that I guess are designed to help employees spot shoplifters. I didn't really pay close attention since most of my trips were quick, but I was pretty surprised by the amount of variation in the stores. I may have to pay more attention to this in future trips, but my future trips may be more spaced out so who knows what I'll be able to remember.

    Yeah, a lot of stores use clearance stickers that have the original price on them. Target does this. Kmart used to do that and may still do. The Walgreens ones are a bit different in that the two prices are on two different price tags. It's like the original price tag was on the item from when it was first sold, but I think they only put those on things they are putting on clearance. I found this picture online that kind of illustrates what I am talking about, but the Walgreens font on the blue original price stickers on the tapes I brought are more like the real Walgreens font instead of the font that is in that photo. Otherwise the original price and clearance price tags look the same. Every Walgreens that I went to recently has a clearance section in the back of the store on the opposite side from the pharmacy. Some stores had more than others, but they all had some stuff back there.

    Flea markets and antique stores probably aren't fun for kids. OTOH, it seems like kids have a lot of fun in thrift stores. They usually have toys, bikes, scooters, and stuff like that for sale and kids (unfortunately) gravitate to that stuff. It seems like I'm always dodging kids on bikes in thrift stores. I almost got run over last week in a thrift by a couple of kids racing scooters around the store, but at least that time an employee came in and put a stop to that. That usually does not happen though so you have to watch out in thrifts or else you may be mowed over. Some of the lower quality thrifts also have other really hazardous things like stuff scattered around the floor and even broken glass on the shelves in some rare cases. It's easy to be mesmerized by the stuff in thrift stores, but you really have to be careful or else you may get hurt.

    I'm sure that you can find a lot of racing memorabilia in flea markets. I've seen pictures (perhaps some that you have uploaded) of racing stuff in flea markets here, but Houston isn't a huge racing city so you might have even more luck in other cities if you're ever interested in that stuff. You can probably find a ton of Nascar stuff in places like Florida and the Carolinas.

    1. I also went to a Walgreens the other day for the first time in months because I needed to make photo prints. The store I went to looks different from what I remember Walgreens to look like. I also noticed that their store brand for candies, and snacks has changed and the packaging is as bright as you can make it. I didn't really see any good deals, but I was only looking to get the pictures and a writing pad.
      Target has a pattern with how they mark down prices using the last cent on the clearance price. I forgot what the number is, but the final price they will mark down clearance items ends in the same number so you can see if something will get marked down lower.
      I am a collector of football cards and memorabilia, but I have more and more trouble finding stores that carry memorabilia at most flea markets. The good thing is that old movies and video games are in abundance in the markets and I find something almost every time I go.

  9. Part I:

    There is a nice brief view of a JCPenney auto center in this old commercial. Target also had auto centers back in the day, but they are long gone now. They may have exited the auto service business before Penney's even, but it was probably at around the same time IIRC. We have not used department/discount store auto service centers very often over the years. There may have been a few oil changes at Wal-Mart in the late 1980s/early 1990s and perhaps a couple of sets of tires from Sam's Club and Costco over the years. I think we got one Exide battery installed at Kmart in the late 1980s, but that's the only time that I can recall using the Kmart auto center. I can't recall having service done at Montgomery Ward's auto center, but we would take our used oil to their garage for recycling when we would change our own oil. The only service I've had done at a discount/department store auto center in the last 8 years or so has been at Sears. I brought a set of tires from them (one advantage of buying tires from them is that they rotate your tires for free if you buy from them and you can browse the store or the mall while you wait), had an oil change, and had a battery installed on my old car. I also had Wagner Thermoquiet brake pads installed there on another car. Normally I would have used OEM pads and probably wouldn't have had a place like Sears do it, but that car was being sold within a year or so so I just chose the cheapest credible option and that was Sears. I can't complain about it though, they seemed to do a good job and the pads didn't squeak or anything.

    There are many old Sears Auto Center commercials that have been uploaded, but I like this one from 1984. Although some attached Sears garages are pretty big, I think that ad stretches the truth a little with that highway of a garage! The funny thing is that the Sears store at the end of the commercial looks nicer and more modern than most Sears stores even today.

    You might be right about batteries in older cars lasting longer than ones in newer cars. My 1990s+ Japanese cars seem to eat batteries. 4 years is about as long as they seem to last, but some don't even make it that far. My current car has a tiny battery in an obscure (and expensive) size and that certainly does not help the matters any either, but even the older ones with regular sized batteries didn't last too long either. We did have a 2002 VW that ran on it's original battery for 7 years. That was probably the most durable part on that car! It seems like our cars from the 1970s and 1980s had batteries that lasted longer, but it's hard to remember at this point. Of course, perhaps JCPenney figured they could get away with a lifetime battery back then because cars did long last too long back then. Most 1970s cars, domestic or imported, were complete garbage and people certainly didn't keep them as long as they keep cars now. The electronics on modern cars may help kill the batteries quicker, but OTOH, I remember those old carbureted cars that would take 2-3 cranks before they would start up. That couldn't have been easy on the battery.

    1. The JCPenney auto center looks interesting. I noticed that they had parts on the shelves such as shocks to look at, but I wonder if the stores were set up that way. Most auto part stores only showcase half their inventory, and the rest is behind the counter. I guess this is to reduce theft, but it takes a while sometimes to wait in line, then have someone type your vehicle information in the computer, and then for them to find the part. At some parts stores then you have to go to a checkout and wait there too.
      The colors on the auto bay walls in the Sears commercial remind me of the Kmart colors before many of the old stores were renovated into the Big K format.

    2. I once again lost a great reply due to a lost connection. I will have to reply to the rest of the comments at a later time.

    3. That Sears garage striping does look a little bit like the vintage Kmart orange stripe. The Little York and I-45 ex-Kmart still seemingly has it's old orange stripe. I'm not sure what Sears garages, especially ones that are attached to stores, look like these days. They may still look the same as they did in 1984 for all I know. It's not like there is a great need to redecorate garages. I remember watching the Sears guy mount some tires that I brought there in 2005 at the Willowbrook Mall Sears Auto Center, but I can't remember what the garage looked like. This great slightly older Cheryl Tiegs Sears commercial also shows the rainbow striping in the garage.

      The earthtones style rainbow striping was pretty popular back in the day. Perhaps the most memorable use of it was the old Caldor logo. Caldor was a pretty big discount store chain in other parts of the country back in the day. Of course, that Sears garage also somewhat resembles the Astros uniforms from that era.

      I can't really remember if JCPenney and other mass merchandiser auto centers had parts out on the showroom like that commercial showed. It's possible that they did though. They probably didn't have to sell as many different kinds of parts back then as there were mainly domestic cars then. Also, like Sears today, I think they only sold a small range of parts like shocks, mufflers, brake pads, and stuff like that instead of everything that a normal auto parts store would sell. I could be wrong about that and I'm sure there may have been a catalog where people could order more stuff. Plus, there may have been more DIYers back in that time. I seem to remember the Montgomery Ward Auto showroom being bigger than the Sears one at Willowbrook Mall, but I can't really remember if Wards had any more product lines on their showroom than what Sears had/has. Sears recently added an Avis and Budget car rental desk to the Willowbrook Auto Center showroom. Some Sears (Memorial City Mall comes to mind) used to have standalone Sears branded car rental huts back in the day, but Willowbrook didn't have that. I guess it's nice to have a car rental place at the mall now. Of course, the Willowbrook location also has the Sears Authorized Driving School up on the 2nd floor that is, or at least was, considered to be the Harvard of driving schools. I think the Willowbrook Sears Auto Center has a little metal sign by the garage entrance that still has the pre-1984 logo on it too. I'm not sure if you've noticed that or if the Deerbrook Mall location has the same thing.

      The interesting thing about stores having auto centers is that some auto parts stores used to sell general merchandise back in the day. Western Auto, which was briefly owned by Sears when they were pretty much solely an auto parts and repair center, was probably most famous for this. Firestone stores used to sell general merchandise as well. This link tells you more about that if you click on the "beyond the tire" tab. The vacuum cleaner link says a lot there.

      As far as modern auto parts stores, yeah, they keep a lot of the expensive parts behind the counter. Stuff like that is expected for NAPA and CarQuest type stores that sell stuff to repair shops just as much as they sell direct to consumers, but you also see that at places like AutoZone. There really isn't a huge difference between the AutoZone/Advance/O'Reilly/PepBoys type places as far as I can tell though aside from that PepBoys have service centers and some service only stores.

    4. I still can't believe the terrible condition that the I-45 Little York former Kmart is in from those pictures. I am not sure when that market closed but I know I visited in around 2006 and only a few stores were left. Either Hurricane Ike, vandalism or both contributed to the horrible conditions inside especially the ceiling tiles which are all over the ground in those photos.
      I have some good photos of a Wards Auto Center that presumably closed in 2001 with the company. The building still has good labelscars, I will post these photos in the future.
      As you can probably see I have taken several breaks from the blog recently. I have several articles on cue that I mentioned before, and about ten more that I added to my works in progress. The most interesting is a former Louisiana Circuit City location (Yellow logo) that still has the exterior completely intact. It looks like I caught it in time because the inside was under renovation with permits on the windows. A new to this blog Kmart location is also in the works.

  10. Part II:

    I checked Firestone's website and it seems like they still sell Interstate Batteries. That means that the old Jones Rd. and FM 1960 Kmart shopping center has two places that sells Interstate Batteries. Interesting. I don't know if all battery brands do this, but I believe that Sears and Walmart sell North and South models of batteries that are designed for each climate. Perhaps that helps if the others don't do that, but maybe they do. I know I had an Exide battery that died within it's free warranty replacement time, but I had so much bad luck with Exides at that point that I just brought a new Johnson Controls made battery. I'd rather have a battery that I can count on for a few years than one that will leave me stranded somewhere within a few months.

    Walgreens has a new brand called Nice! I believe. They use that on a lot of snacks and stuff like that. I've seen Consumer Reports rate a lot of Walgreens store brand stuff. Some stuff rates well, but not everything. I don't know how often Walgreens updates their stores, but all of the ones I went to lately looked modern even if they don't all look the same. They still have some aspects that look like the old shopping center Walgreens, but some things have changed.

    I've heard about how the cents figure indicates things in Target prices and maybe some other retailers, but I've forgotten what they mean. I usually try to look at Target's clearance sections whenever I go there, but I don't mind as much good stuff in there as I used to maybe 10 years ago or so.

    I went to Best Buy recently and had them price match an online price that I had printed out from Walmart.com. I am pleased to report that the process worked well and didn't take too long at all. Perhaps it would have taken longer if it was a non-B&M type online store like Amazon or if I didn't have the printout with me, but I don't know about that. I think that the price matching is a good option and I prefer it to ordering online.

    I think a lack of marketing may have hurt CompUSA/TigerDirect. Maybe they mailed stuff to people who lived in the Memorial area, but I never received any of their ads and I don't remember them advertising anywhere. OTOH, when Micro Center opened in around 1994, I got their ads in the mail even though I didn't live all that close to their store. I don't know if they sent ads to everyone (computers weren't all that popular in 1994) or if they got my address from some sort of 3rd party mailing list (perhaps from registering software or something), but those ads helped a lot.

    I'm surprised to hear that sports memorabilia is hard to find at flea markets these days. I remember when sports cards and stuff were all the rage in the 1990s (Willowbrook Mall and other malls used to have sports cards stores in them), but maybe that has subsided in recent years.

    On a related note, do you find any mall memorabilia in the flea markets? Stuff like mall post cards, mugs, ads, and stuff like that. I don't know how much of that stuff exists, but I'm sure there is stuff on ebay. The only thing that I have that I know about is a coffee mug from the Hot Springs Mall (Arkansas) that I got when I went to that mall in the mid 1990s. I think they had a sign saying that they would give visitors a free gift if you went to the mall information desk or whatever and I obviously took them up on that offer. I don't know how often malls give/gave out collectibles to visitors, but it was a pretty neat idea. Maybe malls gave (or perhaps still give) gifts at the information desk even if they didn't advertise it, but I don't know.

    1. There were many card stores all over town but now there are only a few good stores left. The one of Westheimer is probably the best one left in the Houston area. There are still shows every month in the area, but I have only gone to one in the past 5 years that was at the GRB convention center.
      I have not found much in the way of mall memorabilia in flea markets. I once went to an art sale at a mall and found some postcards from some old malls, but I did not get any. I wish I had saved more mall memorabilia from the past, I would always pick up the mall brochures in the past. Do you remember the strong bags that were for sale in department stores in the past for a dollar. I had a few good ones such as one from Joske's that were lost over the years.

  11. I think I remember those bags that you are talking about. I have and had some of the old gift boxes that you could get from places like Foley's and Joske's that had their old logos on them. Mall postcards seem really interesting because they are probably really cheap, they don't take up a lot of room, and they probably show some really good vintage shots of malls. Mall brochures would be interesting as well if they have old mall directories.

    Some of my friends in the past tried to get me to go to those Tri-Star sports memorabilia and autograph shows that they have at the GRB and other convention places, but I was never interested to pay to go to those things. I have some old sports cards and some old race car models, but I've never been much of a sports memorabilia collector. I'm not aware of any current sports memorabilia stores, but I had a friend who is into that stuff who mentioned a store on Westheimer some time back. Perhaps that is the same store that you are talking about.

    It's quite possible that Hurricane Ike damaged that old I-45 and Little York Kmart. Another photo of that location showed a boat sitting in the parking lot. That location isn't anywhere near water so I don't know where that came from. That said, it seems like stores rot quite quickly once they become abandonded. An older store like that one probably rots even quicker. I'm sure vandalism has something to do with it.

    Speaking of rotting former Houston Kmarts, have you ever been to the Homestead and Parker former Kmart in the North Forest area? I know you are in the NE side of town, but I don't know if you know about that location. It has been in the news quite a bit lately due to the deteriorating conditions of the place and a lot of the crime in the area. There's been talk about tearing it down if it has not been brought down already, but I'm not sure about that. The Chronicle did a story about it a couple months back and KHOU TV did a video about it that is still online back in 2010. The KHOU article indicated that the store closed about 12 years prior (to late 2010 I guess) so it's not like it has been closed for much longer than other Houston Kmarts.

    I don't know what kind of new signage the Lake Charles Kmart got, but be thankful it at least got new paint because this store that I came across didn't. AFAIK, the Portland/Corpus Christi Kmart isn't much better than that one. It's pretty pathetic looking actually and that's not even considering that they reused an old logo. Of course, I also recently came across this picture of Kmart in-store signage in an Ohio Kmart that seemingly is using the Kmart Australia logo. Odd. Very odd. Then again, Kmart is a very odd company so I don't think we can be surprised by such things!

    I'm looking forward to your new articles. There should be some good ones coming. As far as Circuit City goes, I linked a YouTube user vwestlife video a little while back about the Wal-Mart lights. He also did a video last year about an ex-Kmart shopping center near him in New Jersey that had a "The City" small format Circuit City store that never actually opened even though it has all the signage and everything. He claims that it becomes a Halloween store every year. Maybe that is what happens to some other ex-Circuit City locations.

  12. Wow that Jersey shopping center is a near worst case scenario for a shopping center. Massive chunks of dead retail space and then a Subway, then more massive dead space and a gym, then more massive dead retail space and a liquor store. I really liked the look of Circuit City's last store format, Deerbrook had a The City store for about a year before the company closed. One of the issues of the Jersey shopping center appears to be parking. It looks like there is only a thin layer of parking in front of the Kmart and Pathmark stores there. Radio Shack is alone also in their section of the shopping center.
    I have seen that Kmart center before, there are several retail spots on Homestead that are older and could use a facelift. Hopefully there will be more development in that area of town. Most of the new development in that area has occurred at 69/59 and Little York or closer to the Beltway.

  13. Yes, that ex-Kmart shopping center in New Jersey is very odd. Shopping centers that long aren't too common here in Houston and I'm not really aware of any shopping center off the top of my head that has such big gaps in between it. My guess is that the developers planned on opening other anchors or restaurants in the spaces in between the various buildings, but obviously the demand was never there for that. Also, as you mention, the parking situation at that center is odd as the majority of the parking for the ex-Kmart and the ex-Pathmark are out on the sides of those stores instead of in front of it. I guess that also at least partially explains the length of the place, but it was probably not a desirable thing especially given the foul Winter weather that can impact that part of the country. YouTube user vwestlife usually does not make retail videos (most of his videos are about vintage electronics), but I'm glad he made that one because it is an odd place for many different reasons. vwestlife posted a update to that video in the video description saying that the Discount Liquors has closed, but he says there are rumors of Costco taking over the old Kmart spot. I'm sure that would be a great boost to that center as I've never heard of an underperforming Costco before.

    The last format for Circuit City was quite Best Buyish and it is something they probably should have moved towards sooner. That said, I do have some level of fondness for the old "plug" style stores that had discrete departments and the dark interior. There's something about electronics stores (or at least viewing/listening rooms) that are dark like that.

    Although Kingwood and Humble are pretty anonymous parts of the Houston area, the NE parts of town like North Forest and even stuff further out like Sheldon and the part near where the North Beltway and East Beltway meet are even more anonymous. Of course, the NE corner of the Beltway has some newer neighborhoods that are seemingly pretty nice, but North Forest seems to be one of the poorest parts of town. Of course, there was a lot of news coming out of that area a little while back about the state having to close their school district. That seems to be a part of town that is really struggling right now. Hopefully the destruction of the Homestead and Parker ex-Kmart, if it has not happened already, will help to reduce some of the crime in the area.

    1. I guess the Jersey center would have been more successful if the stores were situated on the property like the Circuit City was. It may have required the stores to be designed on the inside differently, but the parking issue would have been better.
      The darker electronic stores were better for viewing the television displays than the wide open bright stores. Fry's has the television department darker and colder than the rest of the store which gives the area a theater feel.
      I am glad that NE Houston is not overcrowded and full of traffic like the rest of the city is, but as I have said before we are skipped by many of the up and coming businesses and restaurants. Most of the new retail districts have the same ol' same ol' places that are in nearly ever other district in the NE area. For example the NE areas first Carl's JR is going to open near Kingwood several years after they appeared here in the Houston area. Oh well, maybe once the Grand Parkway opens it will be easier to get to the West sides of town that have all of the latest stores and restaurants.

  14. One architectural design that might have helped the stores in that New Jersey shopping center if land wasn't available to build a normal parking lot would have been to put the entryway at the corner of the store (for the Valley Fair/Kmart at least and maybe the Pathmark as well) so that way it would have had decent access to both the front lot and the side lot as well. Although stores like Walgreens uses this design quite a bit these days, you don't really see it a whole lot with big box type stores. I guess Aldi, or at least some of them, design their stores this way. The Willowbrook Costco is designed this way. An older store that comes to mind is the SITE Best Products store in Sacramento, CA. Of course, we know about the SITE Best stores as we had one here in Houston across from Almeda Mall, but the Sacramento one had a movable brick wall that contained the entryway at the corner of the store. I guess they would move that wall out when they opened for the day and then moved the wall in when they would close. It probably took a lot of coordination to make sure that people weren't being crushed by the wall and it wouldn't surprise me if they stopped moving the wall eventually. Still, it's certainly an interesting design especially if you see the walls move when you aren't expecting it!

    Back in the day, many electronics stores had darkened demo rooms for electronics if the whole store wasn't dark. Even stores like Kmart had rooms like that for TVs. The dark rooms help seeing the TV picture, but it's also a nice ambiance for demoing stereos and stuff like that. One of the high selling points for 1980s era stereo equipment were their fancy (and sometimes over the top) multi-colored vacuum fluorescent displays. I'm sure you remember those. Seeing those displays light up and and having the meters dance around probably wowed a few people into buying some equipment.

    I think the first Carl's Jr. to open on this side of town opened around February 2011. I guess waiting two and a half years is a pretty long wait. It's a shame that the NE side does not get much retail variety, but at least you can say that Deerbrook Mall is the best kept secret as far as Houston malls go. It seems like only Eastsiders know about/shop there, but that is still good enough to keep a lot of good stores there. There's something to be said about a mall that has a lot of good stores but still isn't really, really crowded and hectic like Memorial City Mall or Baybrook Mall.

    1. I passed by the Homestead and Parker former Kmart today to see if there was any progress. Nothing new yet at the site, there is a business or two operating in the shopping center just a few doors down from the Kmart in the attached shopping center. They have fencing on all of the closed sections of the shopping center but not near the still operating section of the center. There was a short lived flea market that was in the Kmart spot and closed about 10 years ago.
      The Best stores were an awesome example of architecture that was not just your everyday big box store. The Almeda location unfortunately has been cleaned up and you cannot tell it had the brick holes in the building. The Greenspoint Best store was plain in comparison to those older stores, and I don't remember much of the inside. They were in direct competition with Service Merchandise but I think the stores were much smaller.
      I remember most electronics stores were dark especially some of the chains that vanished in the 1980's and 1990's. Electronics stores now for the most part are bright and the departments blend in with each other especially in Best Buy and discount stores.

  15. I did not know about the flea market at the Homestead and Parker ex-Kmart, but I'm not surprised that there was a flea market there since it looks like something was there after Kmart left. It seems like several Houston area ex-Kmarts turned into flea markets at least for a while including the Spring Branch, Little York, and near Sugar Land Hwy. 6 ex-Kmarts. It'll be interesting to see when that Homestead Kmart comes down as it has become one of the more famous (or infamous) ex-Kmarts in the area.

    I believe that the Almeda Mall area Best facade was converted into something normal around 2005 or so. I may be wrong about that, but I think I remember seeing it still around that time. I believe the building is now fenced in and used as a warehouse or depot or something like that. I think a discount furniture store was using it the last time that I saw it with the SITE facade. I believe Colonel Video & Audio used that building as a store as well during the 1990s. I brought some audio and video equipment from them in around 1995, but that was at the location that was near I-45 and FM 1960.

    There was a Best near me at FM 1960 and Jones Rd. in the old Target shopping center, but I believe that store opened for a while, then closed, and then re-opened for a very brief time before Best exited the area. I may be wrong about that, but I think that was correct. Hobby Lobby (another popular occupant of former Houston Kmarts) took over that location for a while before moving from that shopping center along with Walgreens to the ex-Kmart across Jones Rd. that was partially torn down to make room for the freestanding Walgreens. I can't say for sure what is in that Best spot now, but I think it might be Fallas.

    Due to the transient nature of the local Best, the Best across from Greenspoint Mall was the Best that I went to most often. It may have been smaller than some Service Merchandise stores, but I really can't remember for sure. We brought some stuff from there, but we certainly did much more buying at Service Merchandise than Best. Still, I used to love to go through the catalogs for those two places as well as the then similar Houston Jewelery store.

    I can understand why Best Buy went for the brighter stores. They probably wanted to emphasize their lower prices and low-pressure sales tactics with a low-frills discount store type decor relative to the fancier demo room type electronics stores that usually had high pressure salesmen and higher prices. Circuit City and Incredible Universe took a different approach than Best Buy, but obviously that did not work so well. That said, Best Buy did go a bit more upscale with their decor eventually.

    1. I did not know there was a Best on 1960 at one time, I must have missed it. The Greenspoint store has not changed much over the years, the front of the building still looks the same. I forgot what is there now, but it has been mostly occupied since Best closed. It is interesting that every former Kmart that I know of in the Houston area has been converted to another use for at least some time. I wonder if Kmart marketed these properties for sale or rent when they moved out.

  16. That is an interesting point about former Houston Kmarts being converted into something. I can't think of any that hasn't been converted into something even if that means that only a small subdivided part was reused. Granted, not everything was converted into retail and it took some locations many years to get reused as something. Sometimes the conversions did not work out for long and the ex-Kmart became and stayed vacant. Perhaps there are some locations that have not been converted into something, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.

    As far as Kmart marketing the properties, it made me think of a picture I recently saw of a Kmart in Illinois. According to the photo description, it seems that Kmart leased a former store there to Menards (a Midwestern home improvement chain), but they ended up suing Menards for not maintaining the property. That Kmart has been torn down now. So, yeah, perhaps Kmart did look for other non-Kmart uses for their properties. Perhaps one of the reasons why they left most of Texas is because they figured that some of their stores here were more valuable than some others in the country that would have stayed vacant, but I don't know about that. The interesting thing about Menards is that their owner was quite involved in Indycar racing in the 1990s. His team won the pole for the Indianapolis 500 in 1995 and 1996 with a Menards branded engine that was really a stock block turbocharged Buick engine. Menards brought Tony Stewart into Indycars and they won the championship with him in 1997, but then Tony Stewart moved over to Joe Gibbs' Nascar team (the former NFL coach) that was sponsored by Home Depot where he was a teammate to Bobby Labonte's team that was partially sponsored by Montgomery Ward for a while. I don't know if John Menard is still involved in racing or not, but I think his son races in Nascar now.

    I believe that the old Greenspoint Mall area Best was converted into an Aaron's Rents center. I don't know if it is still that or not.

    1. The store in the link looked like it was in poor shape and looked like only Kmart had operated there. I am sure Menards did not invest much into the property. Closed Kmart locations don't seem to hold up very well, but most of those were in business for a long time before the closed. Kmart stores in business for over 20 years to find are easier to find than a 20 year old operating Walmart.
      Follow the link to see a cool Kmart store conversion where nearly every trace of the Kmart has been removed. It reminds me of the Windsor Park Mall Mervyn's office conversion.

  17. Yes, I was surprised to read that a major retailer set up shop at that Illinois Kmart since it retained so much of the Kmart look. I guess there might have been some signs out on the left front side of the building, but it is hard to tell. It's a little surprising that Kmart would lease out a store to a competitor (Kmart was still involved in the home improvement store business at that time with Builders Square), but I guess that is what happened.

    On the topic of home improvement stores and Kmart reuses, I'm sure you remember that deal Kmart made to sell some stores off to Home Depot about 10 years ago. AFAIK, most of those reuse projects wiped away the Kmart look off those stores. This Home Depot in Pennsylvania, however, most certainly still looks like a trapezoid facade Kmart. This Pennsylvania ex-Super Kmart still looks like a Kmart as well.

    One of the more interesting ex-Kmart reuses that I have seen is this one in Massachusetts. They subdivided the Kmart into four relatively well-known national chain stores. That in itself isn't that shocking, but they kept the trapezoid facade. In fact, I wonder if they enlarged the facade when they subdivided the place because it looks really big, but some trapezoid facade Kmarts did have oversized facades. Also, it's odd that the TJ Maxx and HomeGoods stores aren't next to each other given that they are owned by the same company.

    Some Kmart/ex-Kmart locations, including some in Houston, are over 50 years old now so they may not be in the greatest condition. Also, a lot of them are in areas that have declined over the years. That may help to explain why so many ex-Kmarts stay abandoned or get taken over by C-list (or worse) companies.

    That ex-Kmart Comcast office in Jackson does not look like a retail building at all. That is an impressive conversion job.

  18. On the topic of former Houston Kmart locations, I came across an interesting story from today discussing the future retail plans of the NAM Thrift Store operations. It seems like they are planning on leaving their store on FM 1960 West near Walters Rd. in the former Wal-Mart at the end of the year since that building has been sold. I don't know what the new owners for that building have planned if they aren't planning on renewing the lease for the thrift store, but hopefully it won't sit vacant again. Perhaps there are plans to raze the building, but I don't know. The distinctively styled abandoned Chinese restaurant next to that ex-Walmart was torn down a couple of weeks ago, but I don't know if that has the same owner as the ex-Walmart building.

    Anyway, back to the NAM Thrift, it sounds like they plan on building a new building on or near Kuykendahl Rd. They have a small thrift store already in an office building on Kuykendahl near FM 1960. In the meantime, it sounds like they plan on operating a thrift store in the old Hoffer Furniture store that is in the old Kmart on the corner of FM 1960 and Kuykendahl. I'm pretty sure that Hoffer Furniture site was part of the old Kmart when it was open. I would imagine that the Hoffer Furniture site is smaller than the ex-Walmart thrift location that they have now, but we'll see I guess. We'll also have to see if the small thrift store in the Kuykendahl office building closes since they will have a store so close to that.

    The NAM people say that rents will continue to rise on FM 1960 so it makes sense to own their own building. That's interesting given a lot of the retail blight on that section of FM 1960. I know we've discussed that before elsewhere. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see some new retail arrive (even if it is just a temporary thing) at that Kuykendahl and 1960 intersection and it'll be interesting to see what happens to the old Wal-Mart building now. And, of course, thrift store news is always interesting news IMO.

    1. Raising rents on 1960 might be what is killing off some of those shopping centers. I guess it must be beneficial to raise rents and drive away all of your stores and lose the value of the property. If retailers are going to pay a premium rent, they will just go to the newest areas. The perception of the crime near 45 and 1960 and several vacant anchors in these shopping centers should have the landlords doing everything they can to keep businesses.
      Update on the above post, the sign is now up but all they did was put the Kmart portion of the Big Kmart sign back up. The Bossier City location had the same change made to their logo. I wonder why Kmart would waste their money putting an old sign back up instead of replacing the sign since they took it completely off to remove the "Big" portion and paint the wall.
      Since I do not agree with both of the above business decisions is the reason why I am not a CEO of a company.

    2. Also I went to a few thrifts on 1960 West earlier this month. I only found some movies and not much else. I also went to a few in Pasadena and found more of the same. I guess I have to go more often to find the cool stuff because I have not had much luck yet.

  19. I think a lot of amateur CEOs could do a better job than what the Kmart leadership have done over the last 25 years at least. Discussing all of Kmart's silly decisions could take several posts to list, but I guess it is a good thing that the Lake Charles store at least got new paint during the sign semi-change because Kmart does not always do that even. I don't know why Kmart goes through the trouble of removing the "Big" part only to leave the old Kmart logo. Maybe it saves them money from having to change out bulbs and it probably saves them money on the power bill too. I can't imagine those savings are too drastic though. Perhaps they figure that partially changing the sign will fool shoppers into thinking that the store is remodeled. It's not like the current Kmart signage is all that different than the ~1991 Kmart logo, but I doubt that will fool too many people. Anyway, I'm not surprised that the Lake Charles Kmart got the old logo put back on it because a lot of Kmarts have had that treatment instead of truly getting new signage.

    It's hard to say why FM 1960 W. landlords are raising their rents especially near the Kuykendahl Rd. area. Perhaps they are hoping to attract businesses or medical facilities instead of settling for lower grade retail? Who knows. I know that it is sometimes beneficial to landlords to keep buildings empty if a renter signs a long, expensive contract and then leaves with years left on the contract. Sometimes the value of that rent is more than what it would be to rent that out to other retailers even if leaving the space vacant has residual effects on the rest of the center. Of course, I'm not sure if any of this is relevant to the 1960/Kuykendahl area, but perhaps some of those landlords are still collecting rent from retailers that relocated/closed long ago.

    I did go to the 1960 and Walters Rd. NAM Thrift last week. Oddly enough, they did not have any electronics at all (well, they still had their video game case, but no electronics aside from that). That thrift normally doesn't have a lot of audio gear and VCRs anyway, but they usually have TVs. They didn't have any of that last week. I don't know if someone brought out all their stuff or what. I don't think they are moving right away so I don't think it is because of that, but who knows. They still have a lot of VHS videos, audio cassettes, and records as usual though. I also had a chance to peek inside the doors of the old Wal-Mart entryway and it still looks like whatever was there before. I saw a pizza stand or something.

    As far as 1960 thrifts go, which ones did you go to? It seems like the Goodwills on 1960 W (I believe that there are 3 of them) don't have the most amount of electronics especially compared to the Louetta Rd Goodwills, but they do have some. You may have to make several trips to find something you might be interested in though. That's thrifting though. The 1960 W. Goodwills do have a lot of music,VHS movies, and early 2000s era video games though.

    That is unfortunate that you didn't find much at the thrifts in Pasadena. What kind of stuff were you looking for? It's hard to judge a thrift store on one visit, but I visited the Value Village thrift on I-45 and Edgebrook a few weeks back and they had a lot of VCRs and a ton of VHS movies. They had an overfilled rack of tapes as well as an overfilled cart of tapes. I think they were 5 tapes for $1.15 or something like that.

    I'll have more on thrifting on the Alco thread.

    1. On the 1960 corridor there are many 10+ year vacancies in these shopping centers and I can't see why the landlords keep these centers as is. The former Fiesta shopping center on Kuykendahl is a prime example of a property that is just scraping by with less than 25% of the center leased for the past 10 years or more.
      I was just mostly browsing at the movies and looking for video games. If I would have found some stereo equipment I may have purchased it but there was not much.