Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sears Shepherd Dr. Houston Tx. 2015

Here is a vintage 1950 Sears stand alone store that was rumored last year to be redeveloped.
According to the above link, the Sears which was rumored to be replaced by a large multi-use development by Weingarten does not have a deal in place for the store. Click on the title to see the other article about the visionary redevelopment of this site. This is one of the Sears stores that was part of the new REIT Seritage Growth Properties. This store has many elements of the past still in place including signage, lighting, and a Keyshop. This is also a test store for the new Sears Parts Direct counters.

You just don't see many signs like this one these days.
We will start with the interior of the store in the appliance department.
Sporting Goods
Here is one of the Sears Parts Direct counters that the company is testing out. This is located in between the appliances and the sporting goods departments.
Near the Parts Direct counter.
A better look at the Parts Direct counter. You can see the big touch screen kiosk that you can search for items to order and have shipped to the store.
Here is a very old sign at the staircase on the second floor. 
Some views of the second floor.
The lighting is definitely an element of the past.
The former portrait studio is partially covered up by signage and mattresses. 

The former hearing aid department has a home services advertisement.
Back to the first floor for some electronics and appliances.
Appliances again with the Men's Department in the background.
This is one of the stores where the major appliances have informational touch screens.
Here is the stairway entrance on the first floor with an old school sign as well.
The view from one side of the store to the other.
More clothing.
Now for some more electronics.
The electronics department has the latest color scheme.

The Hardware and Outdoor departments.

Looking from the elevator to the jewelry and Women's clothing on the first floor.
Now for the exterior of the store with the vintage red neon Sears sign.

The South side of the sign is an active bus stop. 
The more recent sign is not nearly as awesome as the neon sign.
An old school Keyshop towards the back of the lot still in business. This small business is sandwiched between the store and the Auto Center.
The new and the old signs from both sides of the building.

The detached Auto Center to the North of the store.


  1. Thanks for the photos, these are very good. The vintage street sign looks very good at night and is fortunately kept in better condition that the vintage rooftop sign at the Main St. Sears. That sign is certainly one of the highlights, if not the highlight, for someone looking at vintage Houston retail items.

    I've noticed a few things in these photos that I did not realize during my visits to this store like the stairway signs. I wonder if those were updated in the 1990s along with the other department signage or if those signs are from way before that.

    The Sears PartsDirect department does look nice. Hopefully the fact that Sears put that in this store, along with the touch screen displays in the appliance department, are signs that they're committed to the location. It would be a real shame to lose yet another north Houston Sears after the recent closures of the Greenspoint Mall and The Woodlands Mall Sears.

    Another interesting part of this store is the employee break area in the back corner of the tools department. It's not as interesting as the Westwood Mall Sears break area (though that has movie history), it is interesting nonetheless.

    The store looks pretty good. It's maintained just as well as the newer mall Sears locations in the area. Although there are clearly many vintage aspects to the store, it really does not feel that much different than a mall Sears as long as you don't look at the ceiling and the stairwells. The Main St. Sears certainly feels more vintage than this location, but the N. Shepherd Sears is a little bit newer.

    Hopefully the Sears will not be redeveloped into something else. There is some interesting news in the area that might help the Sears. Fiesta has decided to close their location in the Heights not far from the Sears. This might be a good opportunity for a retailer if they wanted in the Heights. Then again, if Fiesta is closing their store, perhaps it's not as strong of a potential grocery market as some make it out to be. Anyway, hopefully that'll help the Sears stay put. The store usually has a good number of shoppers in the area when I visit it.

    1. The stairway signs look much older. The first floor sign came out a little blurry.

      I wanted to really capture the 2 vintage Houston Sears stores. I am still hoping to pass by and see the Midtown sign lit up again so I can finish that post.
      The Shepherd store was slow on my visit because of off and on rain storms so it worked out for me to get good photos on a slow night. This store has a mix of the old and the newest Sears features.

      Sears is just on the outskirts of an area that is seeing a lot of redevelopment. Further down Shepherd towards I-45 is an area that has not had much redevelopment or interest from redevelopers.

  2. I looked at your photos again and noticed something that I didn't notice in the pictures or in person before. It looks like most of the first floor has the solid ceiling with the old style lights, but the tool department on the first floor has a traditional drop ceiling. That's interesting. I never noticed that before. I wonder why there is a difference there. It looks like the 2nd floor has a mix of drop and solid ceilings.

    I think it was a good idea to chronicle these vintage Sears stores as well as possible. Hopefully nothing will happen to them, but it's good to know that there are good pictures of them just in case. Plus, Houston isn't really a place most people think of when they think of vintage retail, but the pictures of these Sears stores might give people a reason to look at Houston retail in different way.

    Good luck seeing the Main St. Sears sign lit up now that we're on Daylight Saving Time. It gets dark now well after the store's closing time unless there is a storm or something. Perhaps the store has a few nights, such as Friends & Family sales, where they are open late, but I'm not sure about that.

    It's unfortunate to hear that the N. Shepherd store wasn't doing good business on your visit, but the weather probably had something to do with it. The N. Shepherd store has always looked busier inside than the parking lot would seem to indicate so perhaps that store gets more bus/pedestrian shoppers than other Sears stores. Of course, that would make sense since the Garden Oaks neighborhood is literally right across the street from the store.

    1. I wonder if the tool section was renovated at one point and possibly enclosed. I know that the store still uses part of their old outdoor garden section for clearance items. I also wonder if the other areas with drop ceilings were originally offices or stockrooms.

      The Main St Sears sign was off again this evening. I may have to wait until the time change again as you mentioned.

      The clothing departments on the first floor and the shoe department were the only busy areas on my visit. The same can be said for my visit to the Main St. Sears last month.

    2. I do wonder if the N. Shepherd Sears got an expansion or serious renovation at some point in time. I’m not sure. Although I’ve known about the store for a very long time, I don’t think I visited the store until more recent times.

      The clothing departments, the men’s clothing department specifically, seem quite busy at many Sears stores. This seems to especially be the case at the N. Shepherd and Pasadena Town Square Sears. I guess Sears is one of the few (if not the only) retailer where blue and white collar workers can buy work clothing. That kind of mix opens the store up to the diverse population who live near the N. Shepherd store.

    3. Sears has many differences from other retailers that they could use to their advantage such as the abundance of work clothing that they sell. The only reason why I think the store may have been expanded is because of the differences in the hardware and back side of the first floor.

  3. I looked at an aerial image of the N. Shepherd Sears on Google Maps and it looks quite possible that the tool department may have been a later addition, but it’s hard to say for sure. Hopefully one of your readers can fill us in on the details.

    There was a billboard on the North Loop near the store a year or two ago for Dickies workwear that indicated that Dickies could be purchased at the N. Shepherd Sears. Perhaps Sears should buy some billboard time themselves just to remind the community that there is a store on N. Shepherd not far from the Loop. I’m sure a lot of people who travel on the North Loop don’t even know that there is a Sears store in Garden Oaks/ since it really isn’t in a major retail area.

    I guess Sears has to be careful how they advertise their men’s clothing because they don’t want to make it seem too white collar or too blue collar. It must be a unique problem for Sears’ advertising agents because other companies don’t try to cater to both ends of the market. It’s great to have a store that serves both types of shoppers though. Hopefully Sears can utilize that uniqueness in some way to improve sales.

    1. The good thing for that location is the growth of the area. Whole Foods is going to build a store nearby along 610 near Yale which will bring a lot of new development.

  4. This store opened in 1950, not 1959.

    1. I fixed the error, thanks for letting me know.

  5. The lights, as well as the round air vents are definitely from 1950

    1. For sure, it was a great look. The building is in danger of being demolished in the near future so now is the time to drive by and see it before it goes.