Monday, May 27, 2013

Drug Emporium Lafayette LA

Drug Emporium was a large chain of drugstores similar to Phar-mor that flourished in the late 1980's and early 1990's with over 300 stores. The company had many franchises as well as company owned locations. Many stores were sold off in the early 2000's and the last corporate chains closed in 2003. Less than 20 locations remain under independant ownership under the Drug Emporium name. The Houston, San Antonio, and Austin markets lost their stores in 1999 according to this link.. Drug Emporium in Lafayette is located in a prime location near the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus and centrally located in the city. The store is slightly larger than a Walgreens or CVS stand alone store, and has a large vitamin and health section called Vitamin Plus that takes up about half of the store space. Going to this store is a nice change from the corporate chains and worth a visit if you are in the area. Here are a couple views from inside of the store. The store was busy so I was not comfortable taking too many photos.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Palms Center Montgomery Ward

The Palms Center Montgomery Ward was actually across Southpark (now Martin Luther King Blvd.) from the Palms Center shopping center. This store opened in 1959, closed in early 1986, and later became the King's Best Market which uses the entire two levels of the former Wards for shops and a few eateries. The market is open 7 days a week to walk and shop inside of a mostly preserved Montgomery Wards building. The Shaver and Spencer Rd. flea market that is also located in a former Montgomery Ward is another example of a good reuse of these buildings. As you can see from the photos below, the labelscar from the Wards sign is still on the building many years after the signs were taken off. Look at my images below and click on the below link to see what the store looked like in 1961. There are currently two former Montgomery Ward locations in the Houston area that are still abandoned at Greenspoint Mall and San Jacinto Mall. The Greenspoint Mall store was used as a Worksource location for a while, but now it is closed again and the remaining mall corridor to the former entrance has been blocked off (by small line dividers). The San Jacinto store has been vacant for over 10 years and the whole mall corridor to that store has been walled off. To find out more about Montgomery Wards click the above title to read about Wards in the 1960's. Click here to check out this image on the Pleasant Family Shopping Blog from the same exact side of the store from around the time the store opened. 

Here are a few views from around the store. As you can tell the labelscars are still visible from these two sides of the store.

A few views from inside the store. Most of the walls of the store have been covered up by booths from the market. It looks like the original Wards colors are still present in the staircases on the sides of the store. The middle of the store has stairs instead of an escalator. Did this store originally have an escalator?

The elevator sign, I cannot tell if it was original or new to the store. 
Coming soon, a visit across the street at the former Palms Center Shopping Center.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Macy's downtown Houston closing sale part 2

Part two of the Macy's downtown Houston closing sale. Here are photos from my last visit to the store 3 days before the store closed. Several people were taking photos inside of the store. A couple more views of the first level cosmetics and men's store. The jewelry section on the first level. The Men's cologne section on the first level. Well, this was the best I could do with my camera to get a picture of the escalators. Maybe someone out there has a better view that I could get. Here are a few more photos for sale that I found, the first one is another view of the new Memorial City Foley's. The second two are of the regional map of Foley's stores from probably the early 2000's. Now the former Foley's at Sharpstown Mall, Mall of the Mainland TX City, Prien Lake Mall Lake Charles, and Downtown Houston are gone. Speaking of Mall of the Mainland I am working on an article for this mall and I am looking for photos from 1991- present, stories, and comments about the mall to add to the mega-article that I will post in the future. I have many new articles on the way from Lafayette LA, Austin TX, and Houston TX. Stay tuned and keep the comments coming, I appreciate all of the feedback and information.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Macy's (Foley's) downtown Houston going out of business sale part one

The Macy's formerly Foley's in downtown Houston recently closed after more than 60 years in business. This was the last major department store left over from the days when downtown Houston was a major retail center. The closing of this store marked the end of an era for Houston. Sure Houston has the Shops at Houston Center and the Forever 21 at the new Houston Green Street as well as several tunnels with small pockets of shops and restaurants. But this was a relic of the past, a store that had survived when others vanished or moved away. If Macy's comes back to downtown Houston as is rumored the shopping experience just will not compare to the history of this store. This 10 level store in the final years of business only used 5 levels for retail, and not much changed when Macy's took over the Foley's chain besides the signs. Look for part two soon and as always comments are appreciated. The title above has a link to a brief history of the store. Here is a link to the ABC 13 story about the store closing. This is part one of a two part post of my last two visits to this historic store. One of the ways to enter the store was by the tunnel system. The store also had street level entrances on all four sides. This was the only image of the first level on this trip. More to come on my final visit to the store. The fourth floor was only halfway open and had a few fixtures and rugs for sale. There were a bunch of employees walking around so I was only able to get this photo of that floor. By the time I made it to visit this store the 5th and 3rd floors were closed off to the public. The 4th floor had rugs for sale and I was able to get a this picture of the 3rd floor as I passed going down the escalator. This store had class, from the solid wood panels to the lighting fixtures pictured below. The elevators and escalators were also mostly unchanged throughout the life of this store. The second floor of the store was reduced to selling fixtures by this point. I could have bought this store directory that was available, but for $200 no thanks! A photo of the Memorial City Mall Foley's that was on sale with the fixtures. There were several pictures like this one that were for sale that I found on my last trip to the store, stay tuned.