Friday, November 14, 2014

North Oaks Mall Houston Texas

North Oaks Mall and Westchase Mall are twin shopping centers that were both developed with small mall corridors. The malls were developed in either the late 1970's or very early 1980's. Both malls were very small corridors that had a few small shops between the Target and center entrance to the mall. 

Today we will feature North Oaks which is located at FM 1960 and Veterans Memorial. 

A few former big-box stores at the mall were. 

Drug Emporium
Pic N Save
Solo Serve Stores

North Oaks has been through many changes over the years but still remains very successful. Several nearby shopping centers have struggled to retain tenants, but North Oaks is nearly full and continues to fill empty shopping center spaces relatively quickly. Very little information about this mall is available online so as always comments are appreciated. 

Here is the rest of the shopping center across the street. 

A look into the remaining mall corridor which is the entrance to the North Oaks 6 Cinema. All of the small shops have closed or were absorbed into a large retailer space. At Westchase this area has been completely absorbed by larger stores.

A MacFrugal's sign on the Big Lots entrance to the mall shows the age of this corridor. 


  1. Wow, thanks for this post. I've been waiting over a year for your post about North Oaks Mall since we initially discussed the place last year. I was really excited when I saw that this was posted. The pictures are great.

    The remaining mall corridor that leads to the theater is terrificly retro. The theater looks retro, but the tile, ceiling, dark lighting, and wood paneling add to the retroness too. The MacFrugal's sign does not hurt the retro feel either. I wonder if this is the last MacFrugal's sign in the Houston area. In case anyone is wondering, the mall entrance to Big Lots has been closed for many years now. I think the mall entrance was still open at some point when it was still called MacFrugal's, but I don't remember exactly when it closed.

    Anyway, the mall corridor may look decently lit in the photos due to the proximity to the doors, but the inner part of the corridor was very dark looking if I remember correctly. Of course, that was common back in that era and the colors of the tile and such contributed to that.

    There have been so many stores that have come and gone from this shopping center over the years, but I'll try to put down what I can remember. The area that is now Staples and Hobby Lobby was Target up until around the mid 2000s when the FM 1960 and Cutten Target opened. The Target had a mall entrance up until around the very early 1990s. I probably brought a lot of things at that Target over the years, but one memory is getting Wonderboy in Monsterland for Sega Master System there. That ended up being my favorite SMS game.

    The Ross was formerly Solo Serve and has been at the center for around 20 years at this point. The theater area used to have a popular arcade back in the day. The Big Lots/MacFrugal's was I believe a TG&Y before. It may have been a Pic-N-Save too like the FM 1960 and Jones Rd. Big Lots, but I can't remember. The TJ Maxx has also been around for a long time and I think it was a Weingarten's grocery store before, but I could be wrong about that. There was a Wyatt's Cafeteria at the far east end of the center. That part of the center has a couple of eateries in it now. The center also has many stores in outparcels. One former outparcel store that I remember very well is Egghead Software that eventually relocated across Veterans Memorial.

    As for the part of the center across Breck, the Anna's Linens used to be a Handy Dan and eventually Drug Emporium. The Mardel used to be a Marshall's. AAA used to be a Klein Bank I think. There used to be a Godfather's Pizza on the FM 1960 side of the center.

    Although the center is not a mall now, it has a more eclectic mix of stores than many malls. Half Price Books and the Bedrock comic book store are certainly two interesting stores that compliment each other well. The mix of stores and the discount theater all add up to this center remaining a hot spot after all these years even though few people probably remember or know about it being a former mall.

    1. Thanks for sharing more of the history of this center. I missed getting pictures of the outparcels and there are a bunch there that add to the mix of stores at this center. I have been back twice since taking these pictures just to go the Half Price Books. One thing that I forgot to mention is that the mall corridor is blocked off just past the entrance to the cinema where is led to Target. All that is left is the area I photographed and a small area that leads to the back exit of the mall and more parking.

  2. Wow, even more mini-malls in Houston than I originally thought. Here's another one, in Webster, not sure if you have it or not--noticed remains of an interior corridor just south of Bay Area Blvd. and Interstate 45.

    1. Are you talking about the shopping center where Bed Bath and Beyond is located or the one where Marshall's, Sun and Ski Sports and DSW is at? The Bed Bath and Beyond center one was a Deauville Mall featured here

  3. This was the mall of my youth during the late 70s and early 80s. In addition to the North Oaks 6 theater where I saw Return of the Jedi at least 10 times in new release, there were a number of other businesses that catered to the kids and teenagers in the new subdivisions nearby. I remember a Shannon's Sun Shop, an Iron-on T-Shirt shop, B. Dalton books, a candy store by the theater, an Aladdin's Castle arcade, and a D&D game shop of some kind. Many hours spent there. There was a Weingarten's grocery, and Eckerd's Drug, and a Wyatt's Cafeteria down near the Steubner Airline side of the mall. We only got into trouble a few times, once at the Target, and once across Breck at Godfather's Pizza we were asked to leave. All of this was long before North Oaks 6 became a dollar movie, and way, way before Half Price Books or any of the other businesses moved in.

    1. Thanks for your comment about the inline tenants at the mall. Not many people know about the history of this mall. Shannon's is still in business in a shopping center near Willowbrook Mall.

    2. This is spot on and exactly how I remember it as a kid as well. Oh, and I guess my reply is a few years late as you posted this in 2016. But yeah, great memories of the movie theater, Shannon's, Alladin's castle, the D&D store, etc.

    3. No worries Anonymous, thanks for the reply!

  4. North Oaks brings back fond memories from my youth. This mall was at a perfect location between Greenspoint and Willowbrook malls, and a good alternative to those. After the mall shut down the "mall" part, it was never the same. But I think in general, malls were a cultural phenomenon of the 70s to 90s much like the drive in theatres and diners were in the mid-twentieth century. I think it has been a change in our culture's concepts of social interaction with one another. In the days of mall popularity it was exciting to go there just because that was where everyone was. Today people (especially the youth) are much less interested in physical social interaction with their peers. Case in point is the once popular Games People Play complex about 2 miles east of North Oaks mall on 1960 that is an abandoned overgrown jungle today.

    1. Malls like North Oaks just did not last in the US. I am not sure why in Mexico and Canada, small malls are still alive and thriving in many cities. Here in the US they are few and far between. I am glad a part of North Oaks still exists to take a peak into the past.

    2. I remember North Oaks Mall when it really was a mall. I agree that it's most certainly not as special of a place as it was back then. Having said that, it is still unique for maintaining at least a little bit of the mall corridor by the theater. Also, there aren't too many retro theaters left like the one at North Oaks. I will also say that there are some unique stores at the current North Oaks center, like Half Price Books and the comic book store, which make it a bit more unique than the average power center.

      Of course, calling the current North Oaks a power center might be pushing it a bit. Staples closed a year or two ago and the spot is still vacant. Oddly enough, the Office Depot across the street, which I'm remembering may have opened when the mall part of North Oaks was still alive, is still open for business. Also, I'm not sure if the TJ Maxx in the old Safeway/Weingarten is still open at North Oaks, but it might be closing soon if it is still open because I saw a coming soon sign for TJX down the street in the Champions Randall's shopping center next to the Stein Mart. I think that spot was a golf store before and, of course, the Stein Mart and future TJX complex used to be Wilson's/Service Merchandise back in the 1980s. I have many fond memories of that building from that period.

      Anyway, the North Oaks center is still quite packed during the weekends even with the current state of things. The theater still seems to maintain a pretty high level of popularity. Fortunately, the retail on that intersection has not completely fallen apart like the retail over at Kuykendahl and FM 1960.

    •The Staples store actually closed sometime during the fall of 2018. The space is currently being re-purposed for an as-yet unnamed retailer.
    •TJ Maxx will be moving a few blocks down the road to a larger space at the Champions Village Shopping Center.
    •The space formerly occupied by Mardel is now a Planet Fitness
    •The AAA Travel Center was abandoned early in 2018 is as has yet to be occupied.

    Retailers still active at the shopping center:
    ●Ross Dress For Less
    ●China Star Seafood Buffet
    ●TJ Maxx
    ●Ace Cash Express
    ●Batteries Plus
    ●Planet Fitness
    ●Hobby Lobby
    ●Pro Cuts
    ●Honeybaked Ham
    ●Half Price Books
    ●Edible Arrangements
    ●North Oaks Dollar Cinema
    ●Alwadi Mediterranean Sandwiches
    ●One Stop Tax
    ●Cici's Pizza
    ●Payless Shoes
    ●Dyna Nails
    ●99 Cents Only
    ●Taxes USA
    ●Ashley Stewart
    ●Willie's Grill
    ●Freeway Insurance Experts
    ●Matsu Japanese Cuisine & Sushi Bar
    ●Metro PCS
    ●Sprint Wireless
    ●Papa John's Pizza
    ●Taj Mahal Imports
    ●Shoe Expo
    ●FM Nails
    ●Kelley's Salon
    ●Jersey Mike's Subs
    ●Modern Eyes Vision Center
    ●Bedrock City Comics
    ●Summit Dental
    ●Salima Beauty Salon
    ●Springleaf Financial
    ●Beauty Emporium

    1. Thanks for the update Kellybee. Losing TJ Maxx is a big loss, but the center still has a lot of retailers and a great location.

  6. I worked there when it was brand new, all through High School. I worked for Craig's, a local womens "Ready to Wear" store chain. I remember working there before it was open, getting all the fixtures set up and stocked. I loved that place.

    1. Thanks for sharing your memories of the mall.

    2. What color was the mall originally?

    3. How do I post pictures? I have a picture of the old Target mall entrance that no longer exists

    4. Hello Anonymous, you can send photos to
      Just make sure to give your permission in the email to use your photo on the blog. We appreciate any and all vintage photos of retail places featured on the blog.

  7. How do I post pictures? I have a picture of the old Target mall entrance that no longer exists

    1. Hello Anonymous, you can send photos to
      Just make sure to give your permission in the email to use your photo on the blog. We appreciate any and all vintage photos of retail places featured on the blog.

  8. I emailed photos of the Target mall entrance which doesn't exist anymore, and the inside of the Aladdin's Castle arcade which was located right by the theatre area where there is now a turquoise wall. They were taken sometime during the 1980s. If you look at the pictures of the wall above, you can see where they plastered sheet rock over the entrance to Aladdin's Castle and another store front. Please post them in this blog!

    1. Excellent, I sent you a reply email. One more question and I will be happy to post them. Thanks

  9. Good times at the mall, I worked at the Target, Arby's, and Tj Maxx back in the day. I used to skate the docks on the Breck side of Target

    1. Thanks for sharing your memories with the blog. By any chance do you have any old photos of the place we could add to the blog? If you do please email me at

  10. UPDATES:
    China Star has closed.
    Half Price Books has closed.
    Starbucks has closed.
    One Stop Taxes has closed.
    Payless has closed.
    Taxes USA has closed.
    Willie’s Grill has closed.
    Infuzion has closed. Replaced by Cricket.
    Taj Mahal Imports has closed.
    Shoe Expo has closed.
    Kelley’s Salon has closed.
    Salima has closed.
    Springleaf Financial has closed. Replaced by OneMain, which then closed.
    Perfumes has closed.
    Hurricane Grill has closed. Replaced by Juicy Crab.
    Quiznos has closed. Replaced by LA Insurance.
    Sprint has closed. Replaced by T Mobile. This is the 2nd T Mobile store at the shopping center.
    Smoothie King has opened.
    La Reyna has opened.
    Krazy Ape Vapor has opened.
    Ace Cash Express
    Batteries Plus Bulbs
    Planet Fitness
    Hobby Lobby
    Honeybaked Ham
    Edible Arrangements
    Alhadi Mediterranean Sandwiches
    Cici’s Pizza
    Dyna Nails
    99 Cents
    Ashley Stewart
    Metro by T Mobile
    Papa John’s
    Baskin Robbins
    FM Nails
    Jersey Mike Subs
    Bedrock City Comics
    Summit Dental
    Beauty Emporium
    Please let me know if I forgot anything or if there was something wrong.

    1. Excellent update, the center has certainly changed quite a bit since my post. I drove by Saturday night and a good bit of the center was dark. I hope they get the lights working again because this place looked very unappealing.