Friday, January 1, 2021

JCPenney concept store Hurst Texas North East Mall Happy New Years 2021!

Here is a neat concept store from JCPenney in Hurst Texas at the North East Mall. 
We visited this store in August 2020 and all I can say is Wow!
This store opened in 1971 and was renovated in late 2019 to the current look as a concept store for the company.

Vey close to the entrance of the store we have shopping carts.

Fitting room just to the left of the shopping cart rack.

Women's clothing

The central information desk.

The back of the checkout counter to the left with tons of Penney's bags. The store directory is also in the picture.

Onto the second floor we go.

Culinary department

I noticed the family room addition to the restrooms.


Sadly, the building has some maintenance issues.

The coffee bar on the second level was closed. A good amount of floor space has been taken up by the coffee bar. North East Mall is a one-floor mall so there is probably not a lot of traffic up here to maintain a cafe.

The sign listed a new concept coming soon.

More views of the second floor.

The displays were neat and well organized.

The bedding department.

I really like the use of wood throughout the store. It provides a good contrast to the boring department store interiors that most retailers use. 

If you are a Cowboys fan, this is your place.

I am impressed by the detail in this area. 

Just behind the Cowboys department is the closed off Movement Studio area. Covid more than likely caused this area of the store to remain temporarily closed. 

The athletic shoe department is just okay. They could have done more here to make this area stand out.

Another wide view of the store.

The portrait studio has an interesting and attention grabbing entrance.

Here is the side of the portrait studio.

More views of the store.

The toy department has a large TV and play area for the kids.

There is even a sit down area for the adults just outside of the play area.

The view of the second floor entrance that leads to a parking garage.

Another view of the culinary department.

Electronic advertisement. There were a few of these scattered throughout the store.

Athletic department

One last look at the second floor before we go downstairs.

Back downstairs we go.

The Pearl Cup Café was also closed with a new concept coming soon sign. This café area is close to the checkout area and mall entrance. 

If you were to look at just this photo, you would not believe this is JCPenney. It looks more like a Nordstrom.

These sayings behind the register are a good way to pass the time if you are waiting in line.

Jewelry department

Sunglass department

Women's shoes to the left.

More Women's clothing.

The round decorative lights must be a thing these days. Target has them too.

Men's clothing

Now here is my favorite part of the store. Or it would have been if the games were on.

How many department stores in 2020 have tabletop arcade machines? I am not sure if these normally work or not, but it would be cooler if they did.

More Men's clothing.

The Men's fitting room.

The Barbery Men's barber shop.

The Barbery even has shoe shining chairs. 

Popping into the entryway, we have the greeting from the store manager.

More Men's clothing.

I am not exactly sure what this area is for. It is tucked away in the Men's department.

Gotta love the neon sign here.

A closeup of the directory.

These sit down areas in the center area of the store around the corner from the checkouts are interesting.

The mall entrance. It was about 5 minutes before closing time on a Sunday when this photo was taken so the doors were almost closed.

Another electronic display with a different message. Hopefully one day soon we can look back at this and say "glad that is over".

The customary Sephora.

The Ladies Salon InStyle.

Another view of the Sephora.

Accessories and purses.

A better view of the Women's fitting room area. I am glad the dressing rooms have good seating outside, that is something that is lacking at the majority of retailers. 

An up-close photo of the customized shopping carts.

One last look before we leave the store.

As an added bonus, here is the closed off Sears. Sears closed in late 2019. Nordstrom also closed their location at this mall in 2020. The mall still has JCPenney, Macy's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dillard's, and Rave Cinemas. North East Mall is one of the largest malls in Texas with over 1.7 million square feet of retail space.

A few more views of the store as we leave.



  1. You have to love the Cowboys section, even if you don’t like them. If JCPenney opens more stores like that, they should have sections like this one, where it’s dedicated to a sports team near the area,

    1. I feel the exact same way. It would be really cool to see a department like that with my preferred football team. The Cowboys are not that team for me.

  2. Happy New Year! I've been super excited to see this store. It's awesome! JCPenney put a lot of thought into the design, and the end result looks fantastic. I hope it pays off for them performance-wise as well, but 2020 of course seems to have thrown a wrench into a lot of the more special parts of the store due to their experiential nature. It's too bad to see so many of those closed off, such as the cafes (plural!) and the TV sitting areas. It's also unfortunate to see that one badly stained ceiling tile -- hopefully that doesn't translate into larger maintenance issues for this store going forward. So much of the presentation and layout is just stunning to see from a department store, and I would love if JCPenney had the resources and initiative to implement such things at all of their stores nationwide. I think that would really help their business and image. Heck, even just switching over to the new script Penney's logo I think would be an improvement! Ultimately I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens, but hopefully this will prove to be more than just a one-off experiment. I really think Penney's has something good going for them here. (Oh -- and I totally agree about the seating areas outside of fitting rooms, haha!)

    1. I really wish JCPenney had enough money to make more of these stores. The retro style cursive logo is back in style these days. One thing that I failed to mention in the post is the pamphlets that are available that show the features in the store. The bags behind the counter also had the new cursive logo, but I did not buy one.

      I was disappointed to see both Cafes closed. Maybe Starbucks will take one of them over like they have in some Macy's locations. That ceiling tile was not the only stained one I noticed, but it was the worst one and right in front of the closed off cafe.

      There are a lot of cool innovations that are in the store and the numerous seating areas are a huge plus for me. When there is nowhere for me to sit at a store, I tend to rush my wife after a certain point. If the arcade games were working, she would rush me to leave that store, lol.

    2. I agree wholeheartedly. With the news that the company's new owners have kicked out the CEO that oversaw this store's renovation, I'm afraid the concept might be dead in the water. That would certainly be a shame, if so. JCPenney really had a lot of promising stuff going on here.

      Those pamphlets and bags sound neat. It would also be cool if Starbucks took over at least one of the cafes. Or maybe Penney's will even be able to convert them into some new use in the future, like the signs suggest -- but I don't have much faith in that happening, sadly. It's also unfortunate to hear that there were many stained ceiling tiles. You'd think they would've paid more attention to that given how extensive the renovation was in most other respects.


    3. I think there will be parts of this store that will make it nationwide. The cafes seem to be a failure, but the barbershop, new photo studio, central checkout station, and wood paneling may make its appearances elsewhere.

      If you would like one of the pamphlets, I can mail you one. I grabbed a few of them to save as these are very rare for a store to have these days. Email me at

    4. That would be awesome to see!

      Wow, thanks for the offer! That's very kind of you. I'll be sure to send an email :)

  3. Thanks for checking out this store, it's certainly quite interesting! JCPenney is based out of the Metroplex and so it isn't a surprise that they would choose a store there to turn into a test kitchen so to speak. There are certainly some parallels here to the Sears test store that was in Atlanta.

    This store has an interesting mix of retro and modern features. I suppose there are a few industrial elements to this store, but for the most part, it's not industrial looking. I can only hope that as we head towards the meaty part of the 2020s decade, the industrial look will fade away and we'll get more of the woodgrains and earthtones that we're seeing in some modern concept stores. Speaking of which, I think JCPenney should look at what Rite Aid did and maybe add some planters to the store.

    You mentioned similarities with Nordstrom and I would say that I can see some parallels. It's interesting that this store has a bright, open look as opposed to the typical department store look which is usually more dark, walled-in, and somewhat cluttered at times. I'm not complaining about the typical department store look, but this is an interesting contrast. I must say that while the white vinyl tile floor is a serious upgrade over the concrete look with tile scar that unfortunately disgraced many JCP stores during the Ron Johnson era, I do wonder if things might have looked a bit better with white ceramic/porcelain tile, some wood-like flooring accents, and a bit more carpeting. Of course, adding all of that would take away somewhat from the open look of the store.

    The men's barbershop is a great addition. I don't know if it was open during the pandemic, but otherwise I wonder if they charge reasonable rates. Places like JCP and even Wards had stylists for decades, but they were mostly seen as places for women. In fact, I can remember that strong smell of the Willowbrook Mall Montgomery Ward salon because you had to walk past it to get to Electric Avenue!

    But, yeah, it makes sense to try to attract male shoppers as well. People are loyal to their barbershops so if they can attract some men to get hair cuts there, they might build a loyal shopper base. The arcade games are a nice touch as well and will certainly help in the same regard. It's too bad they weren't working. Oh, that woodgrained entrance to the barber chairs looks like something straight out of a 1970s/early 1980s mall, doesn't it?

    That is a neat neon-like sign. Maybe that'll make a comeback as well. I'm sure Boscov's is hoping so, lol. As for the stained ceiling tile, that looks worse than the usual leak in the roof. Hopefully that was from leaky clean water and not something else. That's a turn off for people wanting something from the cafe! Oh, and that "Welcome Hurst" sign near the entrance reminds me of what Sears was doing with some of their more recent signage.

    As for the giant Cowboys department, well, that might cause me to not shop at this store, lol. At least it's in the Metroplex where it makes sense. Some retailers have shrines to the Cowboys in locations nowhere near Dallas!

    1. My apologies for the delay in response. I am way behind on comments at the moment.

      The barbershop appeared to be open. My trip to the store was only about 30 minutes before they closed so I had to hurry. We covered 4 malls in across Dallas and were delayed by a few things and almost ran out of time to see this store.

      I am sure there were a lot of things I missed, there were so many things to see at the store. The Cowboys display was not for me, but it would be cool them customize similar departments in other cities.

      I really hope this store design will be duplicated to some extent throughout the chain. It is a much more well designed look that is better than the Johnson era redesigns.

  4. The Macy’s stores that are listed here are closing this year: Golden Triangle, Post Oak Mall, Rivercenter, Rolling Oaks, and Vista Ridge Mall.

    1. Thanks for the update. I was recently at the Rivercenter Mall, and Rolling Oaks Mall. Both of those malls will be featured here on the blog in the future. The Rolling Oaks Macy's had the backstage concept and I managed to get some photos inside of the store.

  5. I wonder if any former Houston Sears locations are going to do this.

    1. It would be a great idea to fill the spaces temporarily. Most locations have at least 50,000 square feet and plenty of parking. Deerbrook, Willowbrook, Baybrook, Mall of the Mainland, Greenspoint, North Shepherd, and soon to be Pasadena are sitting vacant.

  6. Was there ever a fourth anchor store at Pasadena Town Square(Macroplaza)? There is a square shaped imprint on the ground in the parking lot on the northeast side of the mall.,-95.1980224,231m/data=!3m1!1e3

    This is a view of it from Google Maps.

    1. Not to my knowledge, the square is located at the food court entrance. It is a fairly small space right next to a neighborhood. The mall has a ring road that is part city street and part mall property. It is on a small site and had many commercial buildings and neighborhoods surrounding the property which give it the odd shape.

  7. KPRC posted this article about the Pasadena Sears on the 22nd. I think it is cool that they covered the Sears closing. I wonder if they aired this story on tv on January 22 because I didn’t watch KPRC that day at all.

    1. I saw the article, I knew someone would eventually get to posting the store closing on the news.

      The article may have contributed to a rush of customers on that Saturday. There was a line outside to get in that I waited in for 45 minutes. By Sunday the line was gone, but so was a huge chunk of inventory. The store closed at 5:30pm on 1/24/2021 by the way. I was there to see the mall gate close for the final time and the ending of the store just a few minutes later.

  8. You know how GameStop and Bed Bath & Beyond’s stocks have been in the news right now. Well I remember that not too long ago, they were both struggling. I wonder if the same thing could happen to Sears, JCPenney, or any other struggling retailer.

    1. It is pretty crazy to see what is happening to the stocks for those companies, especially Gamestop. It is pretty risky for all of those involved in those stocks, it is too risky for my taste.