Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Buyer's Market Mall North Houston Texas

See the bottom of the article for the October 2014 update.

Here is the first full blog article with the new and much improved camera.

Buyer's Market Malls were a failed attempt to capitalize on the Outlet Mall craze of the 1980's. The malls were developed by Bramalea Ltd. of Toronto Canada. The Buyer's Market Malls (and the Deauville Malls) gained attention from opening on Sundays when the blue laws of Texas made it illegal for retailers to open on Sundays. Some of the stores faced lawsuits from their violation of the blue law. The three Deauville Malls which were similar in concept and built at around the same time were bankrupt after less than two years in business, but stayed open longer. The Buyer's Market Malls both closed within a little more than only a year of being open. This market at 236,000 square feet is located near I-45 off Airtex Rd. The mall opened in October of 1984 and the mall was closed in January of 1986. Both Buyer's Market Malls were also converted into Garden Ridge Pottery stores soon after closing. The Katy Mall is still a Garden Ridge.  
One side of the sign had an old Garden Ridge slogan but it has since been covered up. 
The building still retains the same architectural features from the original mall design.
Stores in the Buyer's Market Mall were
Draperies Etc. (One of the last two stores left in the mall)
Lavenders (The last store to close)
If anyone knows what any of the other 34 stores were comment below. 

By October of 1985 a year after opening only 4 stores were left from the 36 that opened with the mall. The mall was officially closed in January 1986.
The north side of the mall corridor is still intact with storefronts. The rest of the mall has been gutted and opened up for the market spaces with movable dividers to expand or decrease store space.
Entrances to the East and West sides of the mall. One of these entrances was to the former Lavenders anchor. The walls have been removed that separated the anchors from the rest of the mall.
The food court opened as a food court, was still a food court (mostly snacks) in Garden Ridge, and remains a Food Court in the Armadillo Flea Market/ Marketplace development. 
Some images from the hallways of the market. For now most of the stores are on the main walkways of the market. There are some interesting stores at this market that are not usually found at most Houston area flea markets. At one point 

Update 10/14 the mall was closed in February and subsequently demolished for more warehouse space. There is a building under construction on the Southeast corner of the property. As you can see from the photos the mall is completely gone. All that remains is this sign on the Southwest corner of the property. The Facebook page is still up here.


  1. I have not seen inside this building since it was a Garden Ridge. It actually looks more intact than I thought that it might be after I heard that the Armadillo people gutted the place. Some places are clearly gutted, but others are not and the mall storefronts remain. The food court looks very similar to the old Garden Ridge one. In fact, I think I remember seeing those same arcade games at the Garden Ridge 10 years ago or so!

    I would be curious to compare these pictures to the Fry Rd. and I-10 ex-Buyer's Market Mall that is still operating as a Garden Ridge. For those who never shopped at these as Garden Ridges, I can tell you that they still looked very much like a mall inside. You could have been fooled into thinking it was a mall if they had different looking signs above each store stall instead of stall numbers since they tried to put different products in each former mall stall. Some, but not all, of the stalls had small openings to one another. Generally you had to hop around each stall like you were going to multiple stores at a mall though. It felt weird doing that if you had a cart because the notion of using a cart at a mall is a bit strange even though I know some malls have mini-carts. It was certainly one of the oddest big box stores around. I've heard that the Fry Rd. Garden Ridge still looks like how this Airtex one looked as a Garden Ridge so I guess people can still see what I'm talking about.

    1. Yes most of the design is still intact. The floors and the storefronts on the north are still mostly intact. The ceilings still have mirrors near the skylights. One cool thing about the Armadillo Market is that many of the store signs are neon which is cool. I would like to see this place at night.

  2. Holy crap! I've been trying to figure out for the life of me what the Garden Ridge on I-10 was for the longest time. Thanks for finally solving the mystery! :)

    1. I have a post coming soon at the I-10 location that should be up in the next few weeks. I have a few store names from that mall, but it was a very short lived mall that failed in a year.

  3. I drove by Airtex on I-45 today and I took a quick peek at the former Garden Ridge. Well, at least I tried to, but I didn't see it. The big street sign for the flea market is still there, but I didn't see the building. Maybe it's there and I just missed seeing it, but do you know if the building was demolished?

    I tried to find some information about a possible demolition online, but the only thing that I found was this article from late April saying that the building will be demolished to make room for a new warehouse. Perhaps then it was demolished. Maybe this isn't new news, but it is news to me unless you or someone else said something about it earlier and I missed it.

    Anyway, it is a bit sad if the building was demolished. At least we still have the Fry Rd. and I-10 Garden Ridge/Buyers Market Mall that Mike was talking about just the other day. Of course, it is good news that the building won't rot and that someone wants to build something new on the land. I guess there is a lot of action on the North Freeway between this possible demolition and the demolition of the Little York Kmart that we discussed the other day on the Blockbuster post.

    1. If they did demolish the structure, things must have rapidly taken a turn for the worst at the mall. I had not been there since late last summer, but it seemed as is the mall was gaining new stores and working to fill all of the spaces. The website is down, so this place is probably gone now. I will have to stop by and confirm, but the mall owners must have gotten a great deal to sell. The only Yelp reviews are from 2011, Foursquare has a tip from January, and the Facebook page has a 2 posts who said the market closed in February. I guess my timing was very good since I was able to document this mall in the final months of existence.

  4. So I wrestled a grizzly bear there Dec of 1985, do you have any pics, billboards, or anything I can see just for the memories? They said the bear was on the Grizzly Adams show but who knows

    1. I don't have anything further in my archives. You could always check the Houston Chronicle archives that are available through the Houston library. Those have helped me with some of the research that I used for this article.

  5. Thanks I have, man I wish they would have offered a picture.