Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lake Livingston Outlet Mall Livingston Tx.

Here is one of the small town outlet malls from the late 1980's/ early 1990's. Not much information is available online about this mall, but it appears to be a similar development to the Iowa La. Outlet Mall I covered earlier on the blog. This may have once been a Factory Stores of America mall, but memory does not serve me well on this property. The VF store is the main anchor and there are four other businesses that are located in the mall. The main corridor of the mall is just a straight shot which goes from entrance to entrance and has the VF store and a small section of a closed off corridor in the middle. Livingston is around a hour north of Houston and 45 minutes south of Lufkin with a population of over 5,000. There is not much information online about this property so maybe my readers can help me out on this one. 
Here is the outside of the outlet mall as seen from I-69/ US 59


  1. The Livingston factory outlet mall used to be a Factory Stores of America mall. In fact, the interior looks quite a bit like the Hempstead VF Outlet (former Factory Stores of America). I used to go to the Hempstead location quite a bit in the late 1990s on drives between Austin and Houston, but I have not been there in over 10 years now. This site indicates that both the Livingston and Hempstead locations are 63,300 square feet. Perhaps they have the same layout, but I'm not exactly sure about that. The exteriors of the two locations look a bit different, but it's possible that some sort of remodeling was done that may have also taken place at the Hempstead location. The interior of the Livingston location looks like it has had some kind of renovation done to it at some point, but I can't say that for sure.

    One thing that I remember quite well about the Factory Stores of America (aside from the Hempstead mall) is that they sponsored Todd Bodine's Nascar Winston Cup team for a couple of years in the mid-1990s. This was at the same time that Montgomery Ward was an associate sponsor for Geoff Bodine, Todd's brother. Todd would eventually drive a Kmart sponsored car several years later (he is in the blue #66 in that picture).

    1. I don't recall where the Hempstead location is at. Is it off the old highway that runs parallel to 290? There is not much space in the mall and at least half is taken by the VF store. These malls were ahead of their time and continue to survive after all these years. The VF store has good prices and reminds me of the old store Weiners that was all over this area at one point.

  2. The Hempstead VF Outlet is located on the "old" 290 that used to be the main 290 before the freeway was built nearby around the late 1990s. I believe that the old 290 is now designated as a 290 Business route. The mall is also located very close to 1488 which leads to some very northernly areas of the Houston metro area.

    I'm sure that the opening of the 290 freeway took some business away from the Hempstead VF Outlet/Factory Stores of America. I don't know if the developers knew that the freeway was coming when the mall was built, but if so, it might have been poor planning. To be honest, I don't remember that mall being busy during my visits even before the freeway was built. The parking lot was about as full as the ones in your Livingston pictures, but sometimes it wasn't even that busy. That said, the place must do enough business to stay alive since it has been operating for many years now.

    I remember buying Lee Jeans for very little at the Hempstead VF outlet. I think I got some pairs of jeans for around $13. Wrangler and Rustler jeans were available for even less. A lot of outlet stores really aren't worth the effort to shop at them because the prices aren't great and/or the quality is less than what regular stores sell, but I think VF Outlet is (or was) a good bargain even if the clothing is slightly irregular.

    The VF Outlet also took up at least half of the Hempstead mall as well. They had a couple of other stores. I think one was a Prestige Fragrance/Cosmetics store and other was a shoe store (Buster Brown outlet maybe). There may have been other stores as well, but I don't really remember. The Hempstead store had a small snack stand with a few tables out in the mall section across from the VF mall entrance, but I don't think I ever remember the snack stand ever being open. I think they may have had some vending machines there too.

    I remember Weiners quite well. Weiners jokes were quite popular back when I was in school. We had a couple of locations near here towards the end of the chain. One was in the Jones Rd. and FM 1960 Kmart shopping center (I believe that is now a King Dollar store that has been there for quite some time) and the other was in the Willowchase Fiesta shopping center (basically next to the Mervyn's there that is now a Rooms to Go). That chain, at least towards the end, was quite strange in that it was a discount clothing store that also sold premium brands like Levi's Jeans and Nike Air shoes. I remember trying out some Reebok "Pump" shoes there back when those were all the rage. Perhaps my greatest memory of Weiner's is the smell of their stores. Their stores had a very starchy smell to them. Some clothing stores/departments have that smell, but it was always particularly strong at Weiner's.

    1. I think the VF in Hempstead has enough nearby residents and college students to support the mall. In 5-10 years that exit will probably be a development hot spot.
      Weiners was a strange place, not quite a thrift store not quite a Sears. They did have some good stuff and stuff that was terrible. I had the Reebok pumps myself but they were for fashion I never hooped with them on.