Friday, April 24, 2015

Kmart Kileen Tx

Here we are at the Kmart in Kileen Texas. The fact that this Kmart store is still here is interesting. This store is about 3 hours away from the nearest Kmart store in Abilene Texas. There is a nearby Sears store at the Kileen Mall, but no other nearby Kmart. Kileen is a growing city with significant population growth over the past 50 years, but Kmart left several other growing Texas cities in 2003.
This is the electronics department view from the seasonal section. Halloween and Christmas were out filling most of this side of the store. 
Now into the electronics department. DVD's and music sections very well stocked. 
A view outside of the electronics department into the rest of the store. 
Camera cards, no display models to test out anymore.
The video game section was being cleared out company wide. These game cases have probably been removed by now.
Some scary fun going on this time of the year. 
The back aisle of the store near the garden shop.
The back corner of the store near the seasonal stuff with the electronics at the end of the aisle.
Grocery department near the pharmacy.
Towards the middle of the store near the groceries.
Garden shop.
More of the Garden Shop.
The back corner of the Garden shop was being used for clearance items. Check out this register in the Garden Shop which looked like it had not been used for years. 
Looking out the Garden Shop window, you can see the former Auto Center.
The road sign as seen from the Garden Shop window.
Now back to the store, here is the entrance to the Garden Shop.
A price scanner.
This section of the store is interesting, furniture, bathrooms, and a hidden clearance section. 
But first let me interrupt with a picture of the one of the main middle aisles of the store near the sporting goods. 
Here is the clearance section view of the furniture. 
Here is the hidden clearance section. 
More of the furniture section and another middle aisle that goes to the pharmacy.
The open area to the right is where the hidden clearance section is. 
Here are some views of the Men's department and some of the newer signage you will find at some Kmart stores these days.
The front of the store in Women's clothing. At the end of this aisle was the former restaurant. This was my first visit to this store, so I don't know if it was a Little Caesars or a typical Kmart Cafe.
NFL fan gear for about 10 different teams. Since people from all over the country move here for military training, Kmart brings in a wide variety of team sports products.
The checkouts.
The view from the checkouts across the front of the store. 
The DVD section was one of the better one's in a modern Kmart. 
New release music, from the early 2000's maybe. This display is often overlooked in Kmart stores. 
And yet another view of the electronics department. 
Housewares near the Pharmacy.
This store by the way did not have an old-school blood pressure monitor. It had a much newer model from probably about 10-15 years ago.
Now some better views of the outside of this Kmart. This store still has a labelscar from the Big Kmart logo that was previously here.
The roadsign.
One wide view of nearly the whole store.


  1. Thanks for the detailed photos of this Kmart. I have a particular interest in this Kmart since it is the closest Kmart to where I live (it's a slightly shorter distance to this Kmart for me than it is to the Lufkin Kmart). This Kmart is also from a similar era as the Houston ~1978-1997 Jones Rd. and FM 1960 Kmart that used to be my local Kmart.

    The layout of this store isn't exactly the same as the Jones Rd. Kmart, but there are some similarities for sure. The mansard slice facade has been modified at some point at this Kmart. The labelscar looks pretty bad just like the labelscar at the Corpus Christi/Portland Kmart. This Kmart certainly has some vintage Kmart features like the big HVAC vents, but the store is in pretty good condition for it's age. The store is also pretty well organized it seems. There are some negative things like the mismatched vinyl flooring tiles in some sections, but that's not uncommon for Kmarts. The fitting rooms sign seems kind of cheap, but I've seen similar stuff at other Kmarts too.

    I'm guessing the clearance room used to be either the old cafeteria or the old TV viewing room. It's more likely to be the former rather than the latter though. The electronics department photos are interesting. I have not seen the CD display board like that before in Kmart photos. The 250 pack of Maxell CD envelopes certainly would have been a great find for someone who likes to burn CDs or DVDs.

    Anyway, the store seems to be doing decent business based on the parking lot photo. I wonder if the store's location near a military base accounts for the store's success. A lot of people who live near the base are probably from other parts of the country and maybe they expect a Kmart to be in the area. Maybe they have a lot of people from California based on the excessive amount of Oakland Raiders gear they have for sale. I don't know, it's hard to say. At least the store is seemingly doing well.

    1. This store was really busy compared to what I have seen at other Kmart stores. Kileen has some very busy intersections much like you will find in Houston or Austin. Hopefully I can make it the the Portland Kmart store sometime this year, but I can't promise that.

      I think that the clearance room was probably the old TV room. I remember a bunch of Kmart stores had electronics in the back of the store. Some still do, but during the Big K renovation era a lot of electronics departments moved to the front of the store. The electronics department at this store is actually small in comparison to Kmart stores of this size.

  2. I'd love it if the Midwestern chain Meijer entered the Houston market to take the place of Kmart (which neither Walmart nor Target have quite filled, I think). Also, the home improvement chain Menards could enter to make up for the loss of Builders Square (originally owned by Kmart, but sold to Hechinger, which had plenty of problems of its own, that went out of business and took Builders Square down with it). And the BJ's Wholesale Club chain would be a nice addition to Houston... it would give some healthy competition to Sam's Club which has a near monopoly, and is cheaper (and with slightly smaller, less-overwhelming stores) than Costco.

    I also must ask... why is the Rite Aid drugstore chain not in Houston? They exist on both the East Coast and West Coast, and are very big in New Orleans, thanks to buying the local chain K&B there in 1997. And Rite Aid bought the scraps of the once-great Eckerd chain in many states, both in the South and North, but not in Texas, Louisiana, or Florida where Eckerd had a huge presence.

    As for supermarkets, I seriously suspect Randalls/Tom Thumb will die by 2020, thanks to being neglected and ruined gradually by the awful Safeway (many of whose original Houston stores ironically ended up as H-E-B Pantry Foods, which paved the way for H-E-B to eventually unseat Randalls as Houston's biggest regional grocer.)

    And I know this sounds ridiculous, but I seriously predict Kroger will eventually retreat from Houston. They've closed stores that seemingly were doing very well (such as the one on Sawdust in The Woodlands, which was small and obsolete when it closed, but had several opportunities to relocate over the years that Kroger wasted), and the one at Antoine and Tidwell that was a very nice former Albertsons, and whose closest competition was a really beat up Food Town that used to be a Safeway.

    I think Kroger as a whole will stay around a long time, but will eventually retreat to states like North Carolina, Virginia, and their native Ohio, which all are states where they have little or no competition. Houston would seem to be ripe for the entry of more modern chains from the East Coast like Wegmans, Publix, ShopRite, and one of the many American chains owned by the Dutch company Ahold (which includes two TOTALLY DIFFERENT chains called "Giant", that coincidentally were both bought by Ahold, and before that had to stay out of one another's territory) and includes Stop & Shop farther north, which used to have its own big empire: not only supermarkets, but it owned Bradlees (a major competitor of Walmart and Kmart in the Northeast) that now is out of business, the Medimart drugstore chain (sold to Walgreens long ago), Jewelcor (a jewelry catalog warehouse chain much like Service Merchandise, which also is now out of business), and was even a franchisee of Valero stations in New England for a short time.

    1. It would be nice to get more variety here in Houston, but I don't see them coming down here anytime soon. Rite-Aid has grown mostly by acquisitions since the late 1990's. There was a rumor they were going to enter this market, but they never did.

      I noticed a recall sign at Randall's the other day that had the Albertson's and Randall's logo together. I think Safeway merged with Albertson's so that brings up the question, will Albertson's make a comeback here in Houston? Kroger is always doing strange things, but they are the second largest grocery chain behind Walmart. Kroger has shrunk in several markets, but I think they are just going to focus on their larger stores. If Kroger falters though, this would be an easy market to unload to a competitor.

    2. I’ve heard a lot about Meijer and Menards. In fact, I know quite a bit about Menards through their Indycar team back in the 1980s through the early 2000s back when I used to watch racing. Meijer used to sponsor Indy 500 teams as well. It seems like Midwesterners are very loyal to these chains, but that Midwesterners have traditionally been loyal to chains from their region. Target and Kmart, two Midwestern chains, both expanded to Houston early on so there is some precedent for those chains to come to Houston and have some success, but Venture had a lot of trouble in Texas in more recent times. It could be said that their expansion to this region lead to their ultimate demise. Obviously Texans aren’t going to have the same level of loyality. Anyway, both Meijer and Menards seem to prefer to grow slowly so I don’t expect either chain to come here any time soon. I think Menards may have more success than Meijer if either came here though. People like Home Depot and especially Lowe’s, but I know Menards is price competitive so they may be able to carve out a niche for themselves. People here don’t have a problem shopping at Wal-Mart it seems so I think Meijer would have a harder time breaking in the market especially since they would also have to compete against HEB and Kroger.

      I’ve heard a little bit about BJ’s Warehouse, but I don’t know as much about them. Price Club tried the Houston market in the 1990s, but it didn’t work out I guess. There have been a lot of membership club attempts in Houston actually, but Sam’s and Costco seem to be the only ones that have stuck around.

      I don’t know why Costco has grown so slowly in the Houston market, but they must have their reasons for being as selective as they are. We’ve had a Costco in my area since the early 2000s and we do have a membership. I find Costco to be virtually identical to Sam’s in terms of products being sold, store size, and layout. Some of the products are different brands, but the items are more or less the same for the most part.

      I think Rite-Aid would have a hard time breaking into the Houston market at this point since Walgreens and CVS are so established. It’s not like Rite-Aid can find a part of town where drug store coverage is deficient, but maybe there are pockets somewhere. I suppose Rite-Aid could make a name for themselves if they were ultra price competitive compared to the big 2 drug stores, but I’m not so sure if they are since I’ve never shopped at one.

      It wouldn’t be shocking if Randall’s/Safeway left the Houston market in the next five years. Their presence is already quite scaled back compared to where it was a few years ago. Then again, maybe they have a small network of profitable stores. Who knows. I really can’t imagine the Albertson’s name coming back to Houston since the Randall’s name has more and better quality recognition. Randall’s may have a reputation for being expensive, but so did Albertson’s unless the thought is that people would forget about Albertson’s first attempt in this area.

      I would be surprised if Kroger left the Houston market any time soon. I’m sure they have closed some stores over the years, but that’s not surprising for a retailer with such a large presence. Sometimes they probably take a chance on some areas and other times they probably realize that their own stores are competing against one another instead of the competition. A lot of Albertson’s were put in questionable locations so it’s not surprising to see other grocers abandon some of those locations (some of them were never even picked up by other grocers even though they were just a few years old and quite nice). There are some areas where a grocer like Food Town is more likely to succeed than Kroger. I think Kroger will continue to see stiff competition from HEB, but I think Kroger holds their own. Kroger has retreated from markets before when things aren’t going well, but I think they’re still very successful in Houston.

    3. I really don't know much about Menards or Meijer. I will have to read up on those companies. I have passed by one BJ's warehouse that I know about, but I did not stop in. Costco recently opened a store in the Woodlands and there is a very strong rumor that they are prepping a site in Humble at Townsen Blvd across from the Target Supercenter. They are always very secretive about new locations until the foundation is started. I have never been to a Costco store and I have only had a Sam's membership for a short time. I find that when I load up on products I tend to use more, so I try to buy as needed.

      Rite-Aid is expensive like CVS, so they would probably not do well here. I don't see a good way for them to break into this market. Like you mentioned CVS and Walgreens are everywhere and probably on purpose to keep any other chain out of the area.

      Randalls and Albertsons are a good match for each other. Both chains have older stores and higher prices than most mid market grocers. I don't see Albertsons making a comeback either, but it was interesting seeing the sign. HEB seems to be the second strongest market in Houston and really competes with Walmart. I would rate Kroger third and Fiesta a distant fourth. After that there are not any other major grocers that have more than a small percentage of market share. There are several local and regional chains, but they have failed to grow enough to really compete. Aldi is growing fast in the area, but they do not offer the amount of products that a larger grocer has, so I don't consider them a major player in the market. If Aldi would offer more products with larger stores, I would go there more often. I can't fill up my house with just a trip there like I can with other stores. Some of their products only have one brand and if you don't like it, you have to go somewhere else to get a different brand.

      Kroger is building new locations around the area, but some are replacing older stores. Kroger still has a few older stores around the area, but those are slowly going away. What really surprises me is how most Fiesta stores have not had any significant renovations in many years, but the company continues to do well. Their prices are also not very competitive, but a lot of their stores are in areas where Kroger and HEB will not go. Fiesta does have a bunch of unique items which makes it a destination trip, but I would not be able to afford to shop there as my go-to place.

      I sent you a couple of images of the Homestead/ Parker former Kmart location. Nothing has happened at the site yet.

    4. Price Club disappeared because Costco bought it (and for a time the company was known as Price Costco) but for some strange reason closed a lot of Price Club stores, exiting markets (not sure about Houston, but Greater Philadelphia is one definite example) only to return a few years later with brand-new Costco stores.

      Kmart also had wholesale clubs called PACE that ironically were sold to Sam's Club (yes, that means Kmart sold a division to Walmart) in 1993 or 1994. Most Sam's that were once PACE have since relocated, often to be next to totally new Walmart stores. A lot of the PACE/Sam's had Kmart as a neighbor, which I'm sure Walmart/Sam's after buying PACE wasn't too happy about.

      I also have thought Target should buy Costco. It seems Costco has a reputation for being "upscale" (as far as wholesale clubs go) just as Target does compared to Walmart and Kmart. And Kmart, instead of buying PACE (originally independent) would have been more successful buying BJ's (a chain which broke off from Zayre, a major competitor of Kmart on the East Coast). Zayre itself was sold to Ames, another competitor of Kmart on the East Coast, but Ames went out of business in 2002. TJ Maxx is also a former Zayre subsidiary.

      And as for Target... they've been in Houston since 1968 (very early in Target history) but I wonder... why are there so few SuperTarget stores in Houston, but there are plenty of Walmart Supercenters in Houston, even though Walmart only entered Houston in 1983? Also, why was the Target Greatland format never used in Houston or New Orleans even though most new Target stores on the East Coast in the 90's were that format?

      As for drugstore chains, Greater Philadelphia once had Walgreens, Eckerd, Rite Aid, CVS, and Drug Emporium in large numbers all at the same time! Eckerd and Drug Emporium are now gone but the other three are still around. So I think Houston can support those same three.

      Fiesta and Food Town/Food Fair both ought to be bought by the New Jersey chain ShopRite. Each and every ShopRite caters to the ethnic group(s) that dominate the town surrounding the store.

      My suspicion is that Randalls/Tom Thumb will be bought by Rouses, a really nice Louisiana supermarket chain that bought the A&P stores in New Orleans last decade. Rouses would be especially good at making the Randalls/Tom Thumb "Flagship" stores great again, like they were before Safeway took over.

      The failed Albertsons experiment in Houston is very, very similar to the failed Super G (a Baltimore/DC grocer) experiment in Greater Philadelphia. Super G was known up there for picking strange locations to put stores, though they were trendsetting stores. Most (they only lasted 1994 to 1998) are still supermarkets, but not all. At least one was never a supermarket again once Super G closed.

      The Genuardi's chain in Greater Philly made a lot of the same mistakes as Albertsons and Super G, but was a family-owned chain with exceptional stores. Then Safeway bought the stores and ruined them. Once the chain closed, their ultimate rival Giant bought them. These stores today look mostly the same as when they were Genuardi's (both before and after Safeway) but now have Giant prices and are once again competitive on price. Also, for a non-family chain, Giant is way better than Safeway.

    5. Target did not enter the New Orleans market until the early 2000's if I remember right. I think that was right around the time that Target was focusing only on Super Target store expansion.

      The Clearview Mall Target (former Maison Blanche) is a very unique store with two floors and an escalator to bring shopping carts up and down. The third floor of the Target store is still unused.

      I would like to see Rouse's here in Houston, but with their closest stores in central Louisiana that may take a while. If Randall's is put on the market, I would like to see them take those stores instead of an existing Houston area grocer. Rouse's has a bunch of cool products that I have not seen in any other grocer and the store layouts are nice.

      I think Fiesta has survived because of their knowledge of the demographics where the stores are located. Each Fiesta store is different in layout, product selection, and pricing. I am not sure that a company outside of the area could keep the chain going as strong as it has been all of these years. I think of a similar situation happening in New Orleans when Schwegmann's was taken over by an out of state company and it closed within less than 2 years. Schwegmann's was not in the best financial shape at the time of the sale, but I think the sale killed the market advantage that they had. The sale also came at a time when Winn-Dixie was building marketplace stores and Walmart was building the first area Supercenters.

    6. There was at least one Target Greatland in the Houston area. The Target across from The Woodlands Mall started out as a Target Greatland when it opened in the mid-1990s. As for why there are so few Super Targets in Houston, well, I'm not so sure. There isn't one anywhere near me in NW Houston even though we have a lot of 2000s era built Targets. Perhaps Target knows that the grocery business is highly competitive here in Houston so maybe they don't want to take any big risks. I really don't feel that Target is all that price competitive on groceries so maybe they wouldn't do well here.

      As je says, every Fiesta is a bit different based on the neighborhood/area that it is in. Some large chains may be able to manage that, but I think local/regional grocers do well throughout most of the United States so perhaps there is some sort of advantage to being local. Obviously there are national powerhouses like Wal-Mart and Kroger, but local/regional grocers like HEB, Publix, Giant Eagle, Wegmans, and so forth are all able to carve out a strong hold of the grocery business in their respective markets.

      As for the drug store wars, CVS and Walgreens both went on a building binge a few years ago here in Houston (and many other markets as well). Perhaps Rite-Aid could have made a bigger impact here before there were CVS/Eckerd and Walgreens stores on almost every corner it seems as was the case about 20-25 years ago, but now it's going to be a lot tougher to gain a hold of any significant market share without truly superior pricing and/or service. From what I can tell from what others have said, Rite-Aid is not superior in either category for the most part.

    7. Speaking of former chainsnowned by Ahold, how about their former Ohio area chains? I know the Dead and Dying retail blog has some information about Ahold's Ohio chains (Finast, Tops Friendly Markets, etc.) However, I do not know if Tops either spun off from Ahold or remained owned by the company. Any information would be greatly appreciated!

    8. Don't know too much about those, but Tops was in PA at one point (and in the early 2000s was building big, modern stores identical to the Giant/Martin's/Edwards stores of the time) but has since been sold to someone other than Ahold. The Tops in Wellsboro, PA is really neat, with a long history. It started in the 70's as an Acme, then became an Insalaco's (local chain) before being sold to Bi-Lo (a Carolinas chain that was the first Ahold USA division), but when most PA Bi-Lo stores were sold to Price Chopper, this one stayed Bi-Lo, but eventually ended up Tops... and I THINK due to now being Tops, it may have spent a short time as a P&C (New York state chain) or just maybe a GU Family Markets store, successor chain to Grand Union.

    9. To Anonymous... are you sure that Target in The Woodlands was a Greatland? I remember buying plants at that store once around 1995, and clearly recall the store NOT being a Greatland. The first time I ever saw the Greatland name was on a road trip in the early 2000s. At the time, Falls Church VA, Baltimore MD, Wilmington DE, Philadelphia PA, and Mt Laurel NJ all had Target Greatland stores.

      What did the anchor of the old, mostly empty strip center (NOT the old fashion mall) in Spring across from the current SuperTarget used to be? I know this sounds strange, but it looks to me like it could have been either an 80's Target OR an 80's Walmart (both a SuperTarget and a Walmart Supercenter are nearby) but I can't tell which. Any help with this mystery would be much appreciated.

      Regardless, I'm a bit surprised Linens N Things had a store (built new as a Linens N Things) in the SuperTarget plaza, instead of taking the former Albertsons (now a Conn's appliance store) across the street. The Albertsons on Westheimer was split into Linens N Things and REI once it closed. I'm not sure what, if anything, is in the former Linens N Things portion today, but if still empty it would make a great Whole Foods (returning the building to its supermarket roots) if there isn't one already too close, or maybe a Spec's.

      Anyway, Pinecroft Center in The Woodlands (across from Woodlands Mall) has changed quite a lot since opening in 1993. Target, Toys R Us, and Marshalls (which wasn't always a Marshalls MegaStore) are still open last I checked, but two tenants have closed as the chains went under: Service Merchandise and then Linens N Things. And there used to be a perfectly good Barnes & Noble at Pinecroft, but it moved to the "town center" addition to Woodlands Mall in the early 2000s. I was surprised around 1999 or 2000 when a second (after the one at Barnes & Noble) Starbucks at Pinecroft opened, but within five years the Barnes & Noble moved.

      I wonder... if JCPenney closes their store at Woodlands Mall, perhaps Target will move to that site? Target stores in malls and otherwise in old multistory department store buildings at one time were very strange, but now I can name several: Target in Abington PA is a former Sears, Target in Newark DE is a former Lord & Taylor, Target in New Orleans is a former Maison Blanche, a Target in New Hampshire (I forget what city) is a former Lechmere, and guess what: Target has TWO stores open at the same time in Springfield PA, and both are former Strawbridge's stores. Ironically, the 1950s Strawbridge's that became the first of these two Targets in 1997 (Bed Bath & Beyond also is in part of the building) closed because Strawbridge's moved to the former John Wanamaker/Hecht's at nearby Springfield Mall, which now is the second Target, opened in 2010. Most Strawbridge's ended up as Macy's in 2005 (when Macy's swallowed their huge competitor May Company, which also included Foley's) but this one closed and was torn down for Target because there already was a recently-remodeled Macy's at this mall, its only other anchor.

      The newer Target in Springfield is overall the nicer TARGET (has a Starbucks unlike the other one, and a number of other bells and whistles not found at 90's Target stores), but overall I like the older Strawbridge's/older Target better because Target kept the Strawbridge's building intact in this case (perhaps only because Bed Bath & Beyond wanted part of it, or because it was attached to a warehouse in the parking lot that Target still uses). The later Strawbridge's was completely bulldozed by Target, but the John Wanamaker/Hecht's/Strawbridge's at that site was architecturally boring (not quite ugly I would say, but close) compared to both the John Wanamaker and Strawbridge's stores of the 50's, which were really fancy but would be very obsolete today both to shoppers and physically as buildings.

    10. Yes, I’m pretty sure that the Target across from The Woodlands Mall was a Target Greatland for a while. I could be wrong about that for sure, but I have a pretty strong memory of it being a Greatland store. As for Target moving to the old JCPenney at The Woodlands Mall if the Penney’s were to close, well, I’m not sure if there would be a huge incentive for Target to move at this point. The current store has a good location. Plus, the mall may want to get a more premium name for the spot if it ever opens up.

      The Memorial City area Target did move to Memorial City Mall some years ago, but the old Target was quite a bit older at that point and Target was closing a lot of their older stores for new ones at that time. I’m not so sure if they still care about replacing old stores now.

      I’m not really sure which shopping center you are talking about in Spring. Are you talking about the one that is next to the former Deauville Fashion Mall on Holzwarth near Cypresswood? That center was anchored by a cinema (which may still be open, it was as of a couple of years ago) and a Builder’s Square. There may have been another couple of tenants, but I can’t remember who off the top of my head.

    11. Thanks for the info. I know am thinking the Target at Pinecroft started as a Greatland, but after a very short time dropped that name (at a time when Greatland stores were still being built in other parts of the country, and would be for at least five more years) perhaps because most if not all 80's Target stores in Houston (several of which lasted until at least 2000 without any major updates) didn't have the Greatland name, nor would any new Target built in the area in the late 90's, thus this lone Woodlands store was alone.

      And yes, you are thinking of the same Spring shopping center as me. I'm glad to know the anchor was a Builders Square! I wonder... could it have been a Kmart (or maybe a Kmart-owned PACE Membership Warehouse, most of which were sold to Sam's Club in 1994, a major blow to the ego of Kmart as it succumbed to Walmart) before that though? Also, could the Builders Square in The Woodlands (now split between Jo-Ann Fabrics, Golfsmith, and one other store that I forget) have been a relocation of the Builders Square in Spring?

      Despite its relatively short life, Builders Square relocated a number of its early (mid 80's) stores in the 90's to bigger stores, often in more prestigious locations. And surprisingly, I can name at least one early Builders Square store that closed in 1995 because it had tried to relocate but was denied the right to by city authorities, and here's the really shocking part: neither Home Depot nor Lowe's were anywhere nearby to pressure the store to close. Sort of ironically, a Sears Hardware (which eventually closed in 2002) was its closest competition, and an Ace Hardware store (which surprisingly is still open, having outlived the much larger Sears Hardware) was in a strip of stores in the SAME parking lot as the Sears Hardware! But nowadays, Ace stores (and Kmart at some locations) sell Craftsman items anyway, even though those once were exclusive to Sears.

      Making the story of this particular Builders Square even stranger is that the early 70's Kmart also in town closed in 2004, but reopened in 2005 as Sears Essentials, even though Kmart closed maybe a dozen stores around the country (this included both small 70's Kmart and huge 90's Super Kmart stores) that ended up as Home Depot right away.

      Also, I know of a 70's Kmart that closed in 1988 when Kmart bought a former Caldor (that closed almost 13 years before the chain went out of business) and ended up as a Builders Square, but Builders Square closed this store in 1997 when Hechinger bought the chain, because Hechinger already had a bigger store nearby.

    12. I think you might be right that The Woodlands Target Greatland only had the Greatland name for a short time before changing to just Target, but I can't say off the top of my head when the change happened.

      I don't think the Holzwarth Builders Square was anything before Builders Square, but I certainly could be wrong about that as that area was not my area of retail expertise back in the late 1980s. There was a Kmart owned Designer Depot store at the Spring Deauville Fashion Mall though.

      A Builders Square II opened up further north in the mid-1990s. I think the Holzwarth store closed then, but, again, I can't say that for sure. Builders Square II stores were an interesting attempt to make home improvement stores more friendly to women shoppers compared to the very warehouse-like Home Depot and old Builders Square stores. Lowe's has had significant success appealing to women shoppers even though their stores aren't as different looking compared to Home Depots as Builders Square II stores were. Nevertheless, those changes weren't enough to keep the chain viable. We shopped at Builders Square and later Builders Square II quite a bit so I can't recall the stores having any major issues (the original Builders Square was pretty cramped) that would hold them back, but it is what it is I guess.

      Having an Ace Hardware and a Sears Hardware in the same shopping center is quite interesting. I wonder where this was. Then again, there are a few instances of Home Depot and Lowe's building stores next to one another (Copperfield is an example of this) so I guess it isn't unprecedented.

    13. Hechinger from what I've read appealed more to both women and high-income shoppers during the 80's when the chain was at its peak. Unfortunately, their stores were a good bit smaller than the typical Home Depot/Lowe's size. Hechinger built a series of stores from 1990 to 1995 that were much bigger, then in 1997 bought Builders Square, but these attempts to be more competitive failed.

      Home Depot certainly has come a long way since their early years. The area around Willowbrook Mall has quite a lot of Home Depot-related history. The Burlington Coat Factory on 1960 west of the mall used to be a Home Depot from 1985 that moved around 1995. Movie Tavern and one or two other tenants now are where the second Home Depot in the neighborhood was (not sure which current Home Depot replaced this one, but it must have been either the one by the Target at 1960 and Eldridge, OR the one close to the old Walmart at 1960 and TC Jester).

      The Lowe's at Cypresswood and 249 opened around 1997, along with the Albertsons (now Kroger) across the street. Home Depot has a store about a mile west on 249 across from the Target between Jones and Louetta on 249. This Home Depot opened in 2000 or 2001, so it overlapped with the 1995 Willowbrook Home Depot. What now is the Stein Mart at 1960 and Louetta has been FOUR supermarket tenants in the past, none of which lasted: Safeway (built in 1984 as perhaps the last new Houston Safeway), AppleTree, Randalls (which closed before Safeway bought the chain), and H-E-B Pantry (which surprisingly closed at least five years before the current H-E-B across the street opened). Also, the tiny Goodwill store by the Stein Mart is a former Eckerd that closed no later than 2000. There also was an Eckerd by the now-closed Randalls at Jones and Grant (now a Habitat for Humanity ReStore) that hung on until 2004 but never became a CVS. There also was a circa 1995 drive-thru Eckerd on Jones near the Albertsons at Jones and Bridgedown. Not sure but I suspect this Eckerd was originally next to the former Randalls (now an H-E-B, ironically) at Jones and West. I would guess the Eckerd would have been where Family Dollar now is.

      Home Depot made an effort in the late 90's/early 2000s to cater to rich customers, but this effort failed. They had a small chain of home decor stores (each about the same size as a regular Home Depot!) called Expo Design Center. This chain went out of business around 2006. There was one at 1960 and 249 across from Willowbrook on the same corner as the Costco and AMC 24 cinema. Now it's a Finger Furniture.

      Also, the Sam's Club at 1960 and 249 (next to Willowbrook Commons) is a former Builders Square.

    14. Thanks for the information about Hechinger. It sounds like Hechinger and Builders Square both had the right idea to try to attract women, but there were execution problems elsewhere that caused them to go down. Two other major hardware store chains we had in Houston were Furrow and Handy Dan. Furrow was quite popular for a while, but they ended up closing up shop around the time Lowe's came to town. Handy Dan left town around the late 1980s.

      I'm thinking that the two Home Depots you mention, plus the 249 and Louetta one, replaced the 249 Willowbrook area Home Depot. The Home Depot that is now Movie Tavern had a clerk that was murdered (by an ex-boyfriend I think) that may have tainted the reputation of the store. Then again, maybe ease of access was a problem too.

      The Jones Rd. and Fallbrook Eckerd was a new store. I don't think it replaced any other location. I don't remember a drug store being in that Randall's shopping center in Steeplechase. Anyway, it's nice talking about Willowbrook/FM 1960 area retail as that is certainly my area of expertise.

  3. I was wondering... since that Kmart/Kroger/Weiners plaza at Jones and FM 1960 in Houston opened in 1978-1979, could a Two Guys have been at that site earlier? It would have taken up the spaces of all four main tenants there now: Walgreens, Hobby Lobby, Big Lots, and King Dollar.

    1. There were only three anchors at the Kmart Jones Rd. and FM 1960 shopping center until after Kmart closed. After Kmart closed, the west end of the Kmart was demolished (the area containing the Garden Shop, Auto Center garages, hardware, and departments like that). The rest of the former Kmart became Hobby Lobby and a freestanding Walgreens was built on the demolished area.

      je, thanks for the update about the Homestead and Parker ex-Kmart. I figured that the location would have been demolished by now, but I guess those plans fell through once again.

    2. You are welcome, I was in the area avoiding a traffic jam so I figured it would be a good time to capture the store.

  4. Could either the former Super Kmart in Humble (now Academy and Burlington Coat Factory) or the former Walmart on Beechnut near Highway 6 (was later "Sugarland Furniture" and "Party & Craft Warehouse" but I believe is now empty again) be at old Two Guys sites?

    1. The Kmart in Humble was built on land that was previously an undeveloped wooded area. I lived close to that store in the late 80's and early 90's. The store opened in 1994 and I almost applied there because they were paying $2 an hour above minimum wage to work there which was big at the time.

  5. I learned something new from this document:

    The Target at North Oaks Mall opened in 1976. I had assumed before though that the Target and mall opened in the early 80's. Would the Target have had a major remodel in the 80's? I seem to remember it as of 1997 being a twin of the 1982 Target at 1960 and Jones.

  6. Thanks for the link.‭ ‬That list has some interesting information on it.‭

    The North Oaks Mall Target and the FM‭ ‬1960‭ ‬and Jones Rd.‭ ‬Target were pretty similar,‭ ‬but there were some key differences.‭ ‬The exteriors of the stores were quite different.‭ ‬The Jones Rd.‭ ‬store had the stone pebble walls.‭ ‬I don’t think the North Oaks Target had the stone walls.‭ ‬Also,‭ ‬the North Oaks Target had a bigger facade.‭ ‬The two stores also had two different orientations with the Jones Rd.‭ ‬store having the entrance on the left and the North Oaks store having the entrance on the right of the store.‭ ‬The North Oaks store was also darker inside than the Jones Rd.‭ ‬store.‭ ‬There were probably other differences too,‭ ‬but those are the ones that come to mind.‭

    As for Target renovations,‭ ‬I’m not sure if the North Oaks store received a major renovation or not.‭ ‬It seems like Targets seem to evolve slowly rather than have major renovations at once.‭ ‬One of the biggest changes has happened in recent times with the introduction of P-fresh groceries and the change to put electronics in the back of the store instead of to the side opposite the entrance.‭

  7. You're welcome for the link! I was amazed to find out from it that a certain Target (which has since closed) in Detroit opened in 1987. The store was in a really bad area of town (and trust me, Detroit's as bad as they say it is) and due to the neighborhood being very old, I was assuming at first that the Target would have been an early one, perhaps from the 1962-1967 era.

    Also, I meant to tell you before that the shopping center (or really, the parking lot with two shopping centers at different ends) where Ace Hardware coexisted with Sears Hardware was in Cherry Hill, NJ. I'm under the impression that the strip with the Ace (which is a small Ace, surrounded by other very small stores including a liquor store), which is right up against the street except for a small parking lot (the Sears Hardware center is set back much farther), was built in the 1950s. The Sears Hardware building was built around 1970 as an Acme supermarket. Acme closed this store around 1993 and it became a Sears Hardware right afterwards.

    I just found out this week that the former Clover department store (Clover was a chain very similar to Target that went out of business in 1997) next to the Acme/Sears Hardware (the former Clover was more recently an Oskar Huber Furniture store, but that chain went out of business in 2008) is becoming a Kohl's clearance store, the first such Kohl's in the nation.

    Ironically, at least a dozen former Clover stores became regular Kohl's stores back in 1997 when Kohl's entered Greater Philadelphia. Kohl's originally rejected the one in Cherry Hill though because they both built a brand new store from scratch in Cherry Hill close to the famous Cherry Hill Mall, and took over the former Bradlees department store in Marlton (just a few blocks east of the former Clover in Cherry Hill). The Kohl's in Marlton was originally built in 1973 as a Two Guys department store.

    Two Guys went out of business in 1980 and most of their stores (after major remodeling) soon were replaced by Jefferson Ward, a Montgomery Ward big-box concept, but Jefferson Ward was a massive failure (partly because Montgomery Ward itself wasn't in Greater Philadelphia where most Jefferson Ward stores were, almost all of which were former Two Guys stores). Jefferson Ward went out of business in 1986 and after a lot of repainting but not remodeling, Bradlees took over most of their former stores. Sadly, all three chains (Two Guys, Jefferson Ward, and Bradlees) are all long gone today.