Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas everybody! Quick update post

Here is a quick post to give some updates. These are some of the projects in the works for 2023. I will get to updating the comments later on today. I hope everyone has a great holiday week!

Almeda Mall December 2023. 

For now the mall is doing great, but there is trouble on the horizon. Burlington is building a new store just across the road and is rumored to be leaving the mall early next year. The building that Burlington is currently in is really showing its age. The building will more than likely need to be demolished if a new department store wants to move into the mall.

Center court was all decked out for the holidays.

Neon signage in the food court.

Macy's court.

Sears Hometown store closings

Pasadena closed in June 2022. Opened in November 2021.

Grand opening signs in the already closing store.

Willowbrook Closed in August 2022, opened in January 2022.

As of mid-December this store is now closing along with the last Sears Hometown stores.

University Mall/ University Plaza

The old Peanut Shack menu board!

San Jacinto Mall demolition and aftermath.


Food court


Macy's court


Macroplaza Mall update

The church next to the former Dillard's was the only place open in this section of the mall. Only 8 businesses/church was still left at this point in November.

Nothing is left in the food court, but a couple of TV's are still on.

Crickets on this Sunday afternoon.

Boarded up windows at the food court entrance.

Sears Auto Center long gone......

Sears Hometown shutters are down and signage posted.

The former Macy's loading dock appears to have had some kind of recent fire. I also saw some remnants of people living next to the other side of the store (not pictured).

These are my more recent retail visits. I have a few more Fiesta stores as well to post in 2023. Stay tuned!


  1. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and all your readers! Almeda Mall is looking quite nice in those photos. I see that 365 has moved into the old Palais Royal spot. I think they used to be in the old Steve & Barry's spot, but maybe I'm thinking of someone else. Anyway, the Palais Royal spot is probably the biggest junior anchor spot at the mall so it is good that it was filled. Filling the Burlington spot will be a tougher task. I suspect you're right that they might have to tear the old JCPenney building down to really do anything there, but maybe some sort of trampoline park or something will want that space without rebuilding it. The building is over 50 years old though so who knows what kind of work it'll need.

    I have not seen the Nacogdoches Sears Hometown Store before. It's too bad the plug was pulled on those last remaining Hometown stores. Are those old 1970s appliances sitting on the salesfloor? Were they for sale or were they just displays?

    Ah, yes, the infamous Eddie Lampert Parkway at the Willowbrook Mall Sears Hometown Store! I'm guessing that is the auto center garage where the delivery truck and inventory were parked. I'm glad that you and Mike were able to properly document that Sears Hometown Store during the short time it was open. I'm looking forward to seeing those photos are remembering the very short time it was open. As for Macroplaza Mall, well, it's basically the mall version of TransformHoldCo, lol. It's a rotted out mess that is somehow just barely holding on.

    I've seen that Macroplaza Sears Hometown going out of business banner before and it really confuses me. The logo they used on there is very similar to the secondary logo Sears used around 1983 until Sears got a new logo in 1984. You can see it on the 1983 Sears catalog I'll link below. I wonder if it is just a coincidence that they are using a logo that looks like the old Sears logo of it they intentionally used that logo. Sears and Kmart has used odd logos before for their signage. I think one of the Kmarts you captured, maybe the Pineville one, had a Kmart Australia logo and one of the Louisiana Sears your captured had Sears Canada logos. Here's that 1983 Sears catalog with the similar logo:

    I'm not sure if you check out the Northwest Retail Blog, but NW Retail's most recent post has some recent images from inside the Southcenter Mall Sears in Seattle which is still open. The store isn't looking too bad. I thought it would look worse. Link:

    Those are some surreal photos from San Jacinto Mall. It's pretty crazy to walk around in the outdoors where the mall fountains were and such. Were you able to relive mall memories while standing in those areas?

    That Peanut Shack sign from University Mall is a good find. In some ways, the board looks more retro than it really is, but I suppose the high prices on the menu kind of indicate that it was in use relatively recently!

    There's clearly a lot of interesting stuff left to post in 2023. I'm looking forward to seeing all of this and the Fiesta Mart posts. I know you have some interesting Fiesta stuff to post like the Willowchase store. It looks like the blog is about to surpass 1,250,000 views. That's really impressive considering it just went over a million views a couple of years ago. On top of that, you're only about a year away from the blog's 15th anniversary. It's hard to believe it was that long ago!

    1. Part one

      Merry Christmas as well Anonymous in Houston. The old JCPenney store at Almeda is a huge building. Maybe they could tear the building down to extend the mall corridor slightly and add a new junior anchor or cinema. There are a lot of ideas, but the JCPenney space will more than likely have to come down.

      The Nacogdoches Hometown store was pretty good and had a better selection than the Cleveland store had a couple of years back. The old appliances looked like displays, but they are probably for sale now.

      Yes, the garage with the truck was the old auto center. It was about the time when the sales associate let me know not to take photos inside of the store. At this point, the store was already in liquidation mode, so I was surprised she cared. I have a lot more and some video of the Fast Eddie tarp parkway.

      It is funny that you noticed the logo on the Pasadena Sears closing. That is the same logo that one of my shopping baskets has. When I was buying the blue basket there during the store closing sale, the sales associate asked if I wanted another, older one. He went into the back area and came out with the older basket. It is amazing that it not only survived the move from the old Pasadena location but was still being used up until the store closed.

      That San Jacinto Mall visit was strange. Not only did I get to walk on the old site, but I also was able to park just like when that side of the mall was still open. I walked around for a few minutes before I caught the attention of a construction worker in the active construction zone area that was fenced off. The portion of the mall site I walked was wide-open with no keep-out signs or fencing. Even the parking lot is wide-open to drive in and around the North and West sections of the site. Since I know the mall well, I was able to find the arcade and the food court stalls fairly easy.

      University Mall/Plaza was pretty much the exact same as last time. Doors to the mall were open and the old corridor door was open to just walk right in. There were some arcade games in the space where I noticed that sign. With prices going through the roof since 2020, this is a way to compare prices from the late 2010's.

      One of the reasons I filmed the Kirby Fiesta that night is that a nearby SW side store we went to had already been fully converted. Willowchase and Kirby have been my backup stores lately. I am glad that we have video footage now of that awesome store.

    2. Part two

      I didn't even think about the anniversary coming up, that is crazy to think about. I should have enough of a backlog to push me over that mark. A lot of Youtube creators are struggling at the 5-year mark and I have to say we had enough material to come this far. A few are still running strong though, like Doomie Grunt. I estimate his back log of weekly videos at well over 2 years. He has been doing weekly videos for 5 years now with very few repeats of malls, it is a huge accomplishment. He made it to Texas in 2022 so we will get to see his take on some local malls. Another thing with Youtube is that some malls are getting documented to the point of overkill. Cincinnati Mills (especially Cincinnati Mills), Stratford Square, Century 3, and a few others are just way overdone. Very few retail creators can film or say something that hasn't been done already at these places. I had to pare down my list of retail channels on Youtube because of this. There are a lot of dead malls that have little to no coverage on Youtube. There have even been some videos where one creator documents a place, then another creator shows up and makes fun of or bad-mouths a previous creator/creators. There has even been talk of creators trying to get other creators in trouble with Youtube. Either way, I don't understand the issues people are having with a hobby. Nobody is going to get rich while doing this, so why bother trying to bring others down.

      Even so, I have been thinking about another DFW and first-time Laredo area border trip. Nothing concrete, but I may try and squeeze these in during 2023 pending my work schedule. Looks like the blog is getting about 100,000 views per year, not bad for a small blog.

    3. Part I:

      Wow, that is interesting that the Pasadena Sears Hometown Store had that old inventory from the old Sears store which wasn't even in that building. That was a good find, I'm glad the clerk mentioned it to you. I'd love to see a photo of that old Sears basket on the blog if you have a chance to photograph it. That is even neater than the Sears Hardware baskets that the Willowbrook Mall Hometown store had.

      I'm glad you were able to relive some mall moments at San Jacinto Mall before the construction workers spotted you. It sounds like you were in space that was wide open though so I don't know if they would have said anything. Anyway, it is kind of neat seeing parts of a mall as if they are ancient old world ruins or something.

      In reply to the comment about Discord over at the Mission Bend Fiesta post, it's a shame there is discord in the dead malls community. I'm really not sure why there would be much arguing. It really does not make sense. This shouldn't be a hobby with internal bickering. Fortunately, I think most retail bloggers are quite friendly with one another, but most modern retail blogs except for yours and Mike's don't really cover malls all that often since I think the modern retail bloggers are all younger and they probably didn't grow up going to malls and department stores like we did.

      I wasn't familiar with Doomie Grunt's YouTube channel. I watched a few videos of his today. This is pretty good. Doomie seems to have a pretty good handle on how to make good videos. The videos are short and there isn't shaky footage of his feet, lol. The information in the video is basic, but good enough to have some understanding of the history of the malls he is covering. I'll have to keep an eye on that channel especially when he starts posting Texas malls. That said, I'm interested in malls all over the country so this is neat.

      I noticed a few years ago that there was a lot of bickering on retail YouTube videos and maybe it has gotten worse. It is a real turn off. I'm not interested in these people's personal battles, I just want to learn about some interesting retail.

      In the earliest days of dead mall coverage online, it seems like everyone wanted to cover Dixie Square Mall. There were good reasons for that, but after that, some other malls like Rolling Acres and Randall Park Mall, both in Ohio, became popular topics. This was years ago though so it is a shame that there is still excessive focus on certain malls. I think a lot of the Kbloggers/dead mall enthusiasts live in the Rust Belt and so those malls get more focus than most of the rest of the country. It's a shame really because there are some interesting dead malls in certain states which get almost no coverage at all.

      It's not unusual for bloggers to lose interest after a few years once they've covered everything they intended to cover. That's what is so remarkable about this blog staying fresh for so many years. You've covered so many different types of retailers in this area over the years that things have remained fresh.

    4. Part II:

      In many ways, DFW has more oddball retail than we do in Houston. A few things worth covering there, aside from the numerous malls, might be Nebraska Furniture Mart (though I think that would be hard to photograph), the Target near Valley View that is one of the earliest Targets in the whole chain and a sister store to the early Houston Targets that are all now closed/relocated, and the Half Price Books flagship store near NorthPark Center that used to be the Sterling Jewelry (Houston Jewelry's sister store, you may remember my HHR post about them earlier this year) catalog showroom.

      Also, near that HPB is a really odd retail area. There are two Targets on the same street, Skillman St., less than a mile and a half from one another. One is a SuperTarget (or former SuperTarget, I'm not sure) and the other in Medallion Center used to be a local department store called Medallion department store. That Target still has an entrance on the backside like a department store. According to the center's website, the first ever Blockbuster Video was in the Medallion Center. In between the Targets is a Sam's Club built on top of a Wal-Mart (or the other way around). It's strange seeing the two stacked on top of one another with a parking garage for both. Next to the Wal-Mart was a freestanding JCPenney that didn't last and was turned into an AtHome. So, yeah, there's a lot of interesting stuff all in the same area near NorthPark. Here is a link to the Medallion Center history page:

      This may not be so interesting to you, but to me this is quite odd. Not far from there is a Tom Thumb (Randall's) in an old Safeway that is about the size of a Walgreens. Even with that, the store still has service departments! Such a small modern chain supermarket is quite strange:

      They also recently opened a new urban Tom Thumb in Ft. Worth next to the Montgomery Plaza. This is the old, iconic Montgomery Ward distribution center and showroom that was turned into apartments/condos after the Wards store closed when the plug was pulled on Montgomery Ward on Dec. 28, 2000 (a date I will likely not forget). I'm not sure if you've ever been in that area.

      There are also the two Fiesta Marts across the street from one another in Dallas. I don't think those stores are as interesting as Houston Fiesta Marts, but two Fiestas across the street from one another is really strange by itself.

      The Lancaster Kiest Shopping Center in Dallas, also anchored by Fiesta, is really strange. It is an early mall, presumably an outdoor mall, that probably started becoming dilapidated in the 1970s, but is still around and still has major chain stores even as the center has become more and more dilapidated. There is a road running through the middle of the center, which is really strange, but the views from the street really show how bad the place looks especially on the back side. The Fiesta itself is not interesting even if it is probably the best looking store at the center.

      Not far from there is the Wynnewood Village, an early example of a powercenter that is still around even though the former Montgomery Ward anchor was demolished in the 1990s. I don't know for sure, but that might well be the earliest Texas Kroger which is still in operation. It looks really ancient. Here is some history about the place:

    5. Happy New Year Anonymous in Houston. I emailed you the photos of the basket from the Macroplaza Sears. I had to get the photos in front of the store after I bought the baskets.

      Our generation did get to see the world pre and post Internet. What seemed like an entertaining waste of time has turned the world into a much different place. We had to read books, watch TV, or go see something in person. Now you can just get on a phone or computer and look things up. Stores were the only place to get things in the past, now we can order everything and stay at home while things are delivered. We can remember the excitement of a new mall opening.

      Doomie's channel has slipped below the radar and has a fraction of subscribers for some odd reason. I really like his style of mall documentation. I think any video more than 15-20 minutes unless it is a massive property is overkill. Another newer channel I just found is Charleston Pinball Arcade, he has made several mall videos recently. The videos are great quality, and he keeps the videos at a good length as well. I hope some of these Youtube squabbles will fade away in 2023.

      If anything, this blog still has a lot of material left to show. If the economy slows down this year, we may see more closures with chains like Bed Bath and Beyond and Big Lots. Big Lots by the way is closing their decade's old Humble location.

    6. Anonymous in HoustonJanuary 1, 2023 at 11:08 PM

      Wow, I just saw the photos of those vintage Sears shopping totes. That is an amazing collectable! I'm glad the employees of the Pasadena Sears Hometown Store let you know about those. Those baskets have to be from 1984 or before. They probably did make the move from the old Pasadena Sears or maybe some other Sears like perhaps the old Harrisburg Sears of Thunderbolt Engines & Transmissions fame. In all likelihood, the baskets are probably from around the time Pasadena Town Square was built, but obviously Sears was not at that mall until years later.

      It is great to see the blog has made it to another year and has now surpassed 1,250,000 views. I think you and Mike are the only bloggers who regularly check out old malls. I know a lot mall coverage has moved to Facebook and YouTube, but it's great to see someone still writing about them and, of course, you're still getting a lot of readership. This is great to see as we start to move into the middle part of the decade of the 2020s. That almost seems hard to believe!

      That's very odd about the Humble Big Lots closing. Some people out west are reporting Big Lots closures out in California, Nevada, and such, but if anything, Big Lots has been adding more stores in Texas rather than closing them. I know one was supposed to open at Palestine Mall in 2022, but I'm not sure if that ever happened. It's taking stores a long time to open these days after they start construction. The GFS Stores around here started construction in June or July and they still have not opened yet. GFS is attributing this to them having a hard time getting appliances and registers. That seems like a very plausible problem.

      I looked at the Big Lots website and I don't see any signs of any other closures in the Houston area. Hopefully that store is just relocating, but I don't know. That location is in an old Handy Dan and it still very much looks like a Handy Dan.

      I think you're familiar with Vampire Robot's videos on YouTube since I've seen a reply or two from you in his videos, but if you have not seen all his retail videos, it might be worth checking out. There are a lot of vintage retail shopping experience goodies in there including extensive coverage of 1992 Kmarts and such. Link:

    7. Part two comment

      Sorry about the delay, I ran short of time yesterday to finish my thoughts.

      Dallas does have a lot of interesting retail developments. I think I went to that double decker Sam's Club Walmart on one of the trips we went to the Flagship HPB location. I believe the Walmart is on top of the Sam's club. There was also a Del Taco location in front of that center or a block or two away. It has been a while since going down there so I can't remember for sure. Dallas also has some reconfigured Academy stores with the departments arranged differently than the stores along the Gulf Coast. In the hunting department for example, the layout is similar to what you would see at Bass Pro shops with lower shelves and a wide view of the gun racks. That center certainly has a great history with the ability to continually stay relevant. Thanks for sending over that blog post.

      I am interested in that small Tom Thumb location. That is such a small space for a grocer to operate in and have full-service departments. I wonder how their product mix is in comparison to a normal sized store. Some compromises had to be made, much like the small Lyons Ave. Fiesta. The Tom Thumb is probably about 2/3 the size of that Fiesta, really small.

      With the mention of Fiesta, the Kirby Fiesta is indeed in the beginning of the dreaded remodel. I went last night, and some neon signs have been removed or turned off. The red-light fixtures in the frozen foods area have been taken down along with all of the wood lattice panels under the fluorescent light fixtures. I took a few photos and more video to add for a future post. I still wonder how two Fiesta grocery stores at the same corner can exist.

      Dallas is certainly a robust retail city. There is so much to see and do there. I still have yet to visit all of the existing malls in the city.

    8. Sears had so much history in this area, it is crazy that they are almost completely wiped away. I wonder if the Willowbrook Mall entrance sign has been removed. Macroplaza Mall still has the interior signage in place for now, but the exterior signage is gone.

      I was really excited to get those shopping baskets. It is crazy how much the Sears basket from the 80's looked like the Walgreens baskets. Those baskets are not very comfortable to walk around with so I can see why that design did not last.

      I am glad that the retail blogs still have some traction. I like the format of the blogger system and I keep my social media accounts for friends and family. Blogger runs a lot faster now since we were able to get fiber internet in our area. Youtube is great as well, there is so much to keep you busy there. I am a better photographer than video creator so I will stick to what I do best. There are still a few places I recorded, but I prefer the still shots. I really like what Mike is doing on his blog as well. It has helped to fill in the gap that Swamplot left when they shut down.

      I didn't realize Big Lots has been struggling financially. As we were driving through Humble last week, I noticed the sign on the store. The closure is very under the radar. I haven't seen any new construction work going on nearby centers, so I am not sure if it will move elsewhere. That location has been an off-and-on stop for us over the years. Maybe Ollie's is moving into the area in the near future.

      I saw the article Mike published about GFS still under construction. There hasn't been much buzz about them coming to town so we will see what kind of advertising they do once they open. Houston is such a challenging market for a newcomer, so they are going to need to be really special to survive here.

      I do remember the Vampire Robot channel. I have spent a lot of time watching their vintage retail clips. You really get to see how things were back in those times, I am glad they are publishing those videos.

    9. Anonymous in HoustonJanuary 2, 2023 at 9:21 PM

      That is a shame that our fears are correct that the Astrodome Fiesta Mart will be getting a remodel, but thanks for the confirmation. That Fiesta has some competitors nearby with Kroger, Target, and Sprouts at the very least so I suppose Fiesta's owners felt the need to make that store competitive. I don't blame them, but it's a shame that it and Mission Bend are losing their signature look. I'm glad you were able to document the changes.

      There were three big retail news stories out of Galveston County last week. One is that the Texas City Food King, the old Marina-shaped Weingarten with circa 1980 Grand Union decor still in use, has been sold to Foodarama and Foodarama will continue to operate the store in retro fashion. Mike has covered this news pretty extensively. Also, an announcement was made that GFS will open a new store in Galveston and it'll be their first new construction store in the Houston area. The site the store will go on used to house an old Piggly Wiggly/Gerland's Food Fair that was built in around the 1930s. The building became dilapidated in recent times and finally collapsed after a storm a few years ago. It's great that GFS chose a spot with such a long supermarket history to build their new store in Galveston. In fact, even in Houston, they've picked a lot of shopping centers to open in that could use a boost like North Oaks. Credit goes to GFS for trying to revitalize some of these shopping centers.

      The other news is that Premiere Cinemas and Jerome Karam made an announcement that Premiere will be operating a cinema at the old Mall of the Mainland Movies 12. It does not sound like it'll be a dine-in theater, which was the initial goal, but it will probably be a nicer theater than the discount Cinemark that was there. They say it'll have new projection technology. I don't know if that area can support a full-price theater since they didn't in the Cinemark era, but at least the Mall of the Mainland is getting another new tenant. Now, I believe all anchor pads will be in use there. Even Baybrook and Willowbrook Malls can't say that.

      On the topic of the Willowbrook Sears Hometown, I'm not sure if the signs are still up. The only times I've been around there recently, it was after dark and I couldn't see things well.

      There must have been a basket supplier near Chicago who made those baskets for Walgreens and Sears. Sears had those baskets, but then they got rid of them and I'm not sure if they replaced them with anything up until around the time that Sears started using carts. The idea of mall stores having carts (not counting malls with Kmarts and such) was a pretty strange idea, but I must admit I found the carts to be very useful when I shopped at Sears. I have a lot of memories of loading up those carts when buying Christmas presents at Sears, an old tradition which obviously I cannot continue now.

      I am an occasional Big Lots shopper. I think some of their loyal customers are upset that they aren't really a closeouts store like they used to be back in the MacFrugal's days and such, but it must be hard for a big chain like Big Lots to survive on inconsistent closeout inventory. I think Ollie's must have the same issues, though perhaps to a lesser extent, because some of their shoppers are reporting that their deals aren't quite what they used to be.

      I didn't realize you've been to the Flagship Half Price Books or that stacked Walmart/Sam's there in Dallas. Those stores are certainly unusual. That Tom Thumb would be exciting to see as it is some attempt at putting a full supermarket in something the size of a Walgreens. I believe Tom Thumb once ran that store as a Simon David upscale grocery store before they eliminated the Simon David banner. Tom Thumb has another small store with service departments near that area, but it's not quite as small. It's still small and it is also a former Safeway:

    10. I will probably check up on the store one more time in the next month or so to how it is progressing. Just as a reference, we visited your nearby Willowchase store to see if things were about to change there as well. I got some more photos and video for the future post on that store. I also noticed the Sears Hometown signage on the Willowbrook Sears anchor has been pulled down. We stopped by Randall's for the first time in about a year and were shocked by how high the prices have gotten there. A few items had a buy one get one free sale, but we only bought about $20 worth of items on the stop. I also noticed the nearly completed GFS down FM1960.

      It is hard to believe that the closest Sears of any kind is now in El Paso Texas. The few Hometown stores within a reasonable drive of Houston are more than likely closed by now. Even the Sears Layoff page is quiet with the exception of some "joke" posts to make people angry.

      Coincidentally, we took a trip down to Cabela's and went down to see the progress on the Mainland City Center property. It looks like the cinema is under renovations with lots of construction equipment outside. Sadly, it looks like the Texas Entertainment Experience is closed, the website says it is undergoing a makeover. The restaurant row appears to be doing well along with the rest of the property. I am glad that the Galveston area is getting a new grocer. Not a lot of new businesses seem to open in Galveston due to a lack of space and stagnant population growth.

      The carts at Sears were one of the few good ideas that Fast Eddie had for the Sears stores. I wonder where we will see the carts from the old stores pop up. I know at least a couple of Sears stores that closed had their carts purchased at the store closing sales.

      I did not get to the Big Lots closeout sale in Humble. As I was driving home from work last week, they had a crew painting the freeway sign black to cover up the logo. The signs on the front of the building were removed so it is gone. One of the spaces that Ollie's could have moved into in Humble has been spoken for. The former Bel Furniture location is being taken over by JoAnn Fabrics. It is good to see development in Humble still going strong even with heavy competition in the New Caney area. Then again Ollie's could take over the former Big Lots space.

      It is hard to see how those Tom Thumb stores make a decent profit, but they seem to have it figured out. Maybe they charge a bit more than their normal sized stores or carry more expensive items. Maybe the selection of goods they carry forces people to use to more expensive full-service departments to get staples like cheese and meats.

    11. Anonymous in HoustonJanuary 31, 2023 at 10:01 PM

      Just to combine a topic from another reply here, I actually randomly found DieHard alkaline batteries for sale at another Houston retailer. I was at Micro Center the other day. It was my first visit to the new Micro Center location that opened way back in 2014. While I was browsing the store, which was as packed with customers as any B&M store I’ve seen in a long time…it reminded me of Fry’s Electronics in the early 2000s, I came across the battery aisle and it was full of DieHard batteries that looked like the ones Sears sold. I thought maybe they were old Sears stock, but I looked at the back of the packages and it said Dorcy instead of Sears Brands like the ones Sears sold. Dorcy made those batteries for Sears so I’m not surprised to see them continue to use the valuable DieHard name to sell batteries. These should be the same batteries that Sears sold since Dorcy is involved.

      My understanding is that Sears Hometown was being completely liquidated and so I’d be surprised if there are any that are still open that are not having a liquidation sale. It’s possible some independent owners may re-open those stores, but if they do, they probably won’t use the Sears name.

      That’s odd that the Texas Entertainment Experience is closed. Perhaps they are simply retooling before the busy summer season. We’ll have to see about that. I’ve heard from some locals that the restaurants at the Mainland City Centre don’t get very busy, but there sure are a lot of them there so they must be having some success.

      I have heard some news about the Humble Big Lots. It seems that it is not closing permanently, but rather it is moving to be over near the Sam’s Club on FM 1960 by Deerbrook Mall. I believe this was an old Wal-Mart at one time. I’m not sure why there is a delay in between the closing of the old store and the opening of the new one, but there might have been some hang ups with the leases. But, yeah, it seems Humble will not be without Big Lots for very long. I’m not sure what the plan is for the old Big Lots building, but Ollie’s would be a good use for it. JoAnn Fabrics is a good new retailer for Humble. I’m not sure if they were there before, but their store by the Willowchase Fiesta is usually busy.

      I’m sure you’ve heard about the Bed, Bath & Beyond store closing list. So far, it seems Houston isn’t losing any more stores than what we already did a couple of years ago, but it seems the Dallas area is losing some stores. Things aren’t looking good for the chain so we’ll have to see if they follow The Home Front, Anna’s Linens, and Linens n Things into extinction. I think the company that owns RadioShack does own the rights to the LnT name and they might be using it for an online store, but we know that’s not quite the same as having a B&M store.

      I think the service departments at those Tom Thumb stores must do well. The profit margin on those items are usually better than regular grocery items. Randall’s/Tom Thumb’s delis have a pretty good reputation and I can see office workers and senior citizens stopping by there for lunch.

      Randall’s prices are certainly not the best in town here in Houston. The key to getting good deals there is to use the online coupons. They do have some good sales through there, but of course, then you are limited to what is on sale. Nonetheless, I’m actually shopping at Randall’s more often these days since Kroger’s sales lately have not been quite as good as they used to be. I’m usually drawn in by good sale prices on certain staple items.

      Some breaking news related to the Champions Randall’s is that Lowe’s is opening an outlet store in the old Stein Mart/Service Merchandise/Wilson’s next to the Randall’s. I didn’t even know Lowe’s had outlet stores, but I researched it and they are pretty boring stores that mostly only sell open-box appliances and maybe mowers as well.

    12. Microcenter is a really busy place. I have never been there when there wasn't a lot of customers. Even close to closing time, they still have a decent amount of business. I can't say the same about Best Buy stores which usually only have a handful of customers these days.

      The last I read about the Sears Hometown Stores is that the company converted their bankruptcy to Chapter 7. I guess the Lafayette Home & Life store is the closest we can get to a Sears Hometown store. I need to visit that store since it is truly the last Sears store within a reasonable distance to Houston.

      The new Big Lots will have to be in a new building unless a store is moving out of the old Walmart shopping center. I drove past there the other day and all of the spaces were filled. Ollie's recently opened in Cleveland Texas so I hope Humble or New Caney will be next.

      JoAnn was in a tiny space in the corner of a small shopping center on FM 1960. Their new space is a lot larger and visible than their old location. For the first time in a while, all big store spaces will be filled in that shopping center. Bed Bath and Beyond and Buy Buy Baby are now the question marks at the center since that company is failing.

      The company that owns the legacy brands like Radio Shack is in financial trouble as well. It sounds like the websites for Linen's and Things and a few others they own have little to no merchandise. Radio Shack seems like their only business that still has a good online presence. Lets hope that the company survives another challenging financial position.

      I wonder if the upcoming merger of Kroger and Albertsons will cause the Randall's name to disappear. Kroger is much more recognized and could use some of the Randall's locations for expansions. I think the Randall's name may be too far gone to be a competitor these days.

      I didn't know about Lowe's Outlet stores either. It seems like more and more retailers are getting into the closeout business. Best Buy and now Lowe's are getting into the game. Since most closeout retailers focus on clothes and necessities; hard line and electronics retailers had to open up their own stores.

    13. Anonymous in HoustonMarch 8, 2023 at 10:03 PM

      I was at the Willowbrook Mall area Best Buy store a month or so ago and I think they had a fairly decent crowd of shoppers there. It wasn’t remotely as busy as MicroCenter, but they probably had enough shoppers to make money. I know I made a purchase there so at least there was that. MicroCenter is a rare B&M store these days that has high-quality service and good prices. With that combination, it is no mystery why people would rather shop there than online where the prices are often more expensive than at MicroCenter. That said, the poor location of the store and the busyness of it might be a turn-off for many people. The old location had a spot that was easier to get into since it was on the West Loop.

      I had not heard about RadioShack’s owner’s problems, but I’m not surprised to hear about that. I know the company is involved in cryptocurrencies and they even tried to make a RadioShack Coin type thing. Given the problems in the cryptocurrency business, I’m sure the company’s ambitious retail plans are crashing down. I can’t imagine the Linens-n-Things name and some of the others have much value here in 2023, but RadioShack might still have some value since they have the franchised dealer stores. Hopefully RadioShack can find a new owner who is more interested in retail than cryptocurrencies.

      I’m not sure exactly where the Big Lots is going in the old Wal-Mart, but they do have a permit for construction at that site so there should be some activity on that happening soon.

      You might have heard the news, but it seems that Sprouts is planning on closing the Astrodome Toys R Us location. Some other locations might close as well. That TRU Astrodome location was probably ambitious for Sprouts given the number of competitors in the area. On the good news front, the Gordon Food Service stores must be closet to opening now. I saw a billboard for them on the Gulf Freeway recently.

      It’s hard to say what will happen to Randall’s with the merger. It is possible Randall’s will be spun off into SpinCo since surely some of the DFW Tom Thumb stores will have to be divested due to competition concerns. Kroger will probably want to rename Austin’s Randall’s stores into Kroger so they can expand the use of the Kroger name there since Kroger has not had stores in Austin since the late 1970s. Even that was a very small presence with a couple of Kroger Family Center stores. Perhaps Kroger will want to keep the Randall’s name and use it as an upscale format, but that seems unlikely. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kroger does put the Kroger name on at least a few of the remaining Houston Randall’s stores if they aren’t spun off. Of course, that all assumes the merger happens. A recent airline merger was nixed by the government so the environment for a supermarket merger might not be so friendly right now. We’ll have to see what happens there. That’ll be a big story later in the year this year and into 2024.

    14. I am not a fan of the way into Microcenter at all. They need an alternate entrance to Westpark, badly. I am glad you got to finally see the new location.

      I think Radio Shack is definitely their strongest brand and still has some value. I think they need to figure out a way to get the concept back into department stores or even some mall locations. I am sure some malls would be glad to cut deals to fill store space these days.

      I didn't know Sprouts was having issues in the area. We don't have one anywhere near us, so I haven't been to one. With inflation out of control right now, people have no choice but to shop for groceries with a strict budget. Sales, coupons, and overall low prices are really what wins customers over in 2023.

      I wouldn't be surprised if the Kroger/Albertsons merger runs into some issues before it is allowed to go through. Another possible casualty is the few remaining old school greenhouse stores. Just to get the numbers down in some of the areas like Houston where both chains exist. Either way, I am not a fan of less competition and more sameness between grocery stores. I know I remember when Albertsons took over Safeway/Randall's and eliminated several products that I could only find there. That is one of the reasons why I go to HEB mostly now, great products with decent prices. A lot of local products that can only be found at HEB keep me coming back. Randall's no longer carried a lot of local items once Albertsons took over.

    15. Anonymous in HoustonMarch 9, 2023 at 9:55 PM

      The MicroCenter shares a design that many Fry’s Electronics locations had where there is no easy way into or out of the parking lot. I suspect Fry’s did this for security reasons, but I don’t know if that is why MicroCenter has that design. The neighboring Walmart also seems to have an access problem. I would probably go to MicroCenter more often if they had a better location like they used to have. If nothing else, if they put a signal between Walmart and MicroCenter, it would help a lot. It’s rather shocking there isn’t a signal there as it is.

      As far as I know, HobbyTown still has RadioShack Express locations in some of their stores, but we don’t have a HobbyTown in Houston anymore. I think combining two niche hobby stores into one is a good idea, but I suppose HobbyTown’s franchisee just couldn’t make it work here. Maybe someone else will try it at a better location. West Oaks just isn’t a great location these days even if that powercenter does far better than the mall itself does.

      Mike at HHR has a new blog post today addressing the Sprouts rumor. You might want to check that out. At least as far as the Astrodome location is concerned, it is already confirmed that location will be closing. I think natural foods grocers generally do poorly in Houston. Sprouts has done better than others because they sell non-organic produce as well and sometimes advertise it at competitive prices, but Sprouts isn’t a place where someone can buy all their groceries and so I think it struggles competing head-to-head with traditional supermarkets. The two Sprouts near me are not on the closing list and are not rumored to close so at least there is that. The stores near here don’t have a ton of nearby competition so I think that helps.

      It'll be interesting to see what happens to the Champions Randall’s, merger or not. The lease on that location is expiring in early 2024 according to some sale documents the shopping center published before it was sold last year. By all accounts, the new owners of the center want to keep Randall’s, but Randall’s is paying well below market rent at that location since they’re probably still on Handy Andy’s 50 year lease. If Randall’s keeps that location, and there is a merger, the Greenhouse Kroger on Veterans Memorial could close as it is very close by. Then again, the Randall’s itself might close since there is a Kroger Signature store nearby on Champions Forest as well. It’s hard to say, but with so many stores in that area, at least one will probably close if there is a merger.

      Randall’s has some remaining locations in upscale parts of Houston where there isn’t a Kroger nearby. I suspect Kroger would like to keep those locations going, but we’ll have to see what name and format Kroger would use for those stores. Randall’s/Tom Thumb is still building new stores in Dallas. In fact, they just announced a new location that is going up here recently and they had another announcement about a new DFW store a few weeks before that. Kroger, OTOH, has not built a new location in Texas since about 2018 or so. I’m not sure if Kroger is getting cold feet about the Texas market. With HEB moving into DFW, Kroger and Tom Thumb are sure to see some sales declines there. At least Tom Thumb/Albertsons seems to be fighting back, but I don’t know about Kroger. Here in Houston, as we know, Randall’s gave up building new stores a long time back and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. I suppose things could change if Randall’s is spun off, but I don’t think anyone wants to compete against the powerful HEB and Walmart duo in Houston.

      Speaking of Kroger, Mike and I launched a new series at HHR starting in January called The Year of Kroger. We will spotlight a different Houston-area Kroger each month. We’ve posted three of these so far, including the aforementioned Veterans Memorial Greenhouse store, and will continue to do so for the rest of the year.

    16. I didn't even think about the parking lot setup that Fry's had to slow down potential criminals from quickly escaping the property. Maybe that is why Micro Center is setup that way. I agree, a traffic signal is desperately needed somewhere in front of that shopping center.

      Speaking of lost retailers, the Blockbuster social media and website were recently updated to indicate that some kind of revival is possibly on the horizon. I can't think of any revival of a brand that has worked out recently besides a few mall clothing stores that have come back. Radio Shack, Circuit City, Mervyn's, Comp USA, and several others have had little to no success in reviving those brands.

      I wish I had more familiarity with Sprouts. As I get older, I may need to seek out healthier and farm fresh grocers like Sprouts.

      I didn't realize Kroger hasn't opened up any new stores since 2018 in Texas. That is a surprising find. It is almost like they have been awaiting the merger for several years now. It is becoming as important as ever to keep your grocery chain growing in the Houston area if you want to survive here. Kroger is certainly catching up with Albertsons/Randalls with their increased pricing. It is good that Albertsons/Tom Thumb is expanding in the Dallas metroplex. Now that HEB is setting up shop, they will need to get ahead if they want a chance to survive.

      I really need to catch up with the HHR blog. I am sure there is a lot to see, Mike does a really good job keeping up his content. It will be interesting to see some older Kroger stores that are still going.

      I plan on getting a bit of 2023 retail content possibly as early as this weekend. I think so far in 2023, I have only covered Fiesta stores. I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but the Fiesta #8 on Wirt Rd. was completely remodeled inside with the finishing touches being put on the store in late February. Yes, they took all of the remaining neon down, and put-up new ceilings. The paint scheme is the same as they have been putting up all over town. The biggest change is that you have to bag your own groceries now. The cashiers send the goods down a second conveyor belt that leads to a carousel of bags for you to load up. There is signage to let you know about the change as well.

    17. Anonymous in HoustonMarch 24, 2023 at 8:18 PM

      There was some Texas Kroger news which made the press earlier in the week. It seems that Kroger is finally deciding to compete in the newest suburbs, but only in DFW for now it seems. A report said that Kroger is planning on opening three new DFW stores, all of which will be Kroger Marketplace stores. One will replace an existing Signature store in Plano and the other two will be completely new in the new suburbs which are popping up all over the Metroplex. There's still no word about Houston where Kroger has gotten seriously behind in putting stores in the new suburban developments.

      It is probably harder these days to put new stores in the hot suburban developments as so many of them are master-planned communities so retailers have to make plans with developers to install new stores instead of just buying land and building a store as was the norm in the past. That said, these developments want supermarkets and so I don't think that is an excuse for a major supermarket like Kroger, but it might make things more difficult for smaller, more independent grocers as these master-planned developers want to market major-name retailers and not independents.

      I saw that news article about Blockbuster. There has also been some speculation about some Coming Soon type signs at the closed Burbank, CA Sears store that were put up a couple months back. Some Kbloggers are wondering if Sears might come back there, but the local media contacted the mall's developers and they say they have no clue what is going on either. The mini-Kmart in Florida did open recently in a downsized portion of a regular Kmart that was mostly subleased to At Home, but it seems Kmart's lease required them to keep a presence there. The new store looks like Dollar General, but probably not as nice, and the photos clearly show a complete lack of customers. At least the store has inventory though, but it's kind of an odd mix of stuff.

      Anyway, as for Blockbuster, I can't imagine they will be opening video rental stores. It might be some kind of online streaming platform, but I hear the streaming business isn't going so hot these days with the amount of new subscriptions really leveling off and people becoming wary of paying for more subscriptions. The last remaining Blockbuster store in Bend, OR is still going strong. I looked at some photos of it and it looks like they have some neat souvenirs for sale in their store.

      Yes, it has been a while since we've seen a successful retail reboot. Montgomery Ward seems to be doing well, but that is not new. It's too early to say about Macy's TRU departments. Many of these retail names get bought up by people who have little retail experience and so they don't know what to do with these names.

      I'm glad to hear that you'll be getting some new content for the blog! I know there have been some challenges lately, but I know there is still a lot of interest in the blog. As for the Wirt Fiesta, I did see some photos from December showing that store with polished concrete floors. Of course, given the age of that building as a former Fed Mart, the concrete looks absolutely terrible in spots. I didn't know about the self-bagging policy though. Are all Fiestas doing that now or just this one? I know Fiesta has been reluctant to install self-checkouts so I suppose this might be viewed as a hybrid self-checkout, we scan, you bag. Customers wanting a traditional supermarket experience will not be pleased with that so hopefully Fiesta reconsiders. Mike from HHR and I were looking at some of Chedraui's stores in Mexico and they are, probably not surprisingly given what we know about Mexican retail, a lot nicer than the average Fiesta or other US store under Chedraui's umbrella.

    18. You are right about the developments in the area. HEB especially seems to have first dibs on the developments in the area. It does seem like the independent grocers need to reuse old locations to grow. Food Town is one example of that. Dallas/Ft. Worth seems to be the new hot spot for grocery development with HEB and Brookshires opening new concepts in the area.

      As much as I would like to see old retailers come back, it seems like the reboots are not the same. I don't know why the investors of these brands want to change their old business model, but it always seems to happen. Many of the legacy retailers failed because of bad deals which put huge burdens on their debt load. Toys R Us is a major example of this. The brand was still very strong until the debt payments became unbearable.

      I must have passed by some of Chedraui's stores in Mexico but never noticed the brand. I am sure that Fiesta will make the change to self-serve bagging stations across their chain. As it is most checkout stations don't have baggers anymore. I started noticing that in early 2022 when I started making my Fiesta blog visits.

      With all of the attention that the Kmart in Miami got, hopefully the store gets some more customers. They have a Facebook page that is updated frequently. It is crazy how they were able to fit most of their remaining merchandise in the small garden center area. I guess this store is a vision of what could have been for Kmart. Instead of closing all of their massive stores, they could have moved into these smaller stores. Sort of like their mini Kmart inside of the Sears In New York. It is hard to believe that there are less than 25 total Sears and Kmart locations in 2023.

    19. Anonymous in HoustonMarch 29, 2023 at 2:19 AM

      Toys R Us is still going strong as a big box store in Canada where the Sunrise Records people, who own FYE now, bought the chain. I think TRU could have been salvaged as a big box operation in the US under the right ownership who could have navigated the debt situation, but TRU likely would have needed to have dumped some locations that weren’t performing as well as they had in the past. Oh well, I guess for now, the TRU departments at Macy’s are the best we can hope for and I know that is only a fraction of the real TRU experience. At least those departments to give Macy’s stores a bit of a boost. They do need it as I hear Macy’s stores are looking kind of trashed out these days with all the Last Act and Backstage stuff. At least the Macy’s Backstage departments in their normal stores don’t look nearly as bad as the standalone Backstage stores which look like a Ross, but maybe even worse.

      I heard on the radio that the new Almeda Burlington in the old Woolco area has opened and that the Almeda Mall Burlington has closed. Supposedly, the new store isn’t quite done yet, but they’ve decided to open anyway. We’ll have to see what Almeda Mall can do to fill that spot, but with Almeda being under the ownership of Kohan, I’m not expecting anything great.

      I’ve seen some of the business proposals for these attempted reboots, such as that plan to reboot Foley’s, and they look like the kind of business plans that introductory business class students make at college, lol. I guess it is cheap enough for people to buy those names that it doesn’t matter if the people buying the names don’t have retail experience or much of a plan. Radio Shack’s current model probably works because their retail stores are franchised and run by people who understand what each community wants in an electronics store. The online store probably has some level of demand from people looking for electronic parts. Other reboots are just severely lacking. Either the stores are online-only or their retail stores are much smaller and more basic than what they used to be. Either way, customers of the old chains will be disappointed.

      I don’t blame master-planned developers for going after HEB. HEB drives a lot of traffic to their shopping districts….almost too much at times. There are a growing number of complaints about HEB’s parking lots and stores just being too full. HEB likes building large stores in regions rather than smaller neighborhood stores so that could open up opportunities for someone like Kroger to take advantage of shoppers more concerned with convenience than price, but it seems Kroger is not so interested in building neighborhood stores in Texas anymore like they are elsewhere in the country. Perhaps the smaller stores just aren’t profitable enough here.

      The new upper-middle class neighborhoods in DFW are doing really well and are attracting a lot of retailers who seem to be less optimistic about Houston. DFW’s economy is a bit more diverse than ours I think and so that might make it a stronger, more reliable market. With HEB not being established yet in DFW, I think other grocers are a bit more optimistic about DFW as well and so grocers like Brookshires, WinCo, and Albertsons/Tom Thumb are more eager there than they are here.

      Food Town and Fiesta have thrived on opening stores in older, abandoned supermarket spots in areas where big chain grocers don’t want to be. This is a good opportunity for them and it provides groceries for areas which are often struggling a bit. Unfortunately, neither has opened a location in a number of years…probably since before Grocers Supply Co. got bought out by C&S. Foodarama did buy the very nice Texas City Food King supermarket in an old Marina Weingarten location recently (Mike has done some posts about this) so at least one independent grocer was able to survive.

    20. Macy's stores could use a boost. I am not a fan of the Backstage area at all. If anything that concept should be in a separate store space. Deerbrook Mall has a perfect spot in the old Palais Royal for Backstage. A lot of the Backstage merchandise winds up being dropped in other parts of the store and the cleanliness of that area is not good at all. I really hope we can see larger Toys R Us stores in the future. I need to check out the Memorial City TRU location since it is one of their flagship stores.

      I drove down I-45 South yesterday and saw the Burlington anchor vacant. It is a huge blow for Almeda Mall to lose Burlington. Burlington seems to be leaving traditional malls at a rapid pace these days. I guess it is only a matter of time before they leave their PlazAmerica's Mall location as well.

      I think getting the product selection right at a smaller grocery location is a lot more challenging for chain stores. I know the small Kroger near me does not have a lot of the products you can find at the bigger store down the street. I guess convenience stores fill in the gap these days since they seem to be popping up everywhere. Especially the 7-11 stores going up all over town.

      Another local grocer that seems to survive under the radar is Arlan's. I have seen their locations in spots like Seabrook, Crosby, Galveston, and even a short-lived Woodlands location. They seem to pick smaller locations for their stores and have a more local vibe. I am not sure if they are associated with any other grocer. They have found their niche and continue to survive in this era of grocer consolidation.

    21. Anonymous in HoustonApril 3, 2023 at 11:40 PM

      Department stores back in the day like Foley's used to have bargain basements (Last Act) and Budget Departments (Backstage), but the bargain basements were usually at big downtown stores and they were hidden away from the rest of the store. The Budget Departments were tastefully done to not look cheap. I'm not sure if Macy's has managed to replicate that experience. I would say that maybe Macy's should move the Backstage departments to their own stores, but Mike from HHR found some photos online of standalone Backstage stores and they look absolutely terrible. They look like a Ross, but even worse. Macy's is really trying to sully any kind of reputation they may still have as being a nice store. It's hard to believe those fancy 1980s Willowbrook/Deerbrook Mall Macy's which used to amaze me carried the same name as the current Macy's which only amazes me in bad ways. At least the Macy's TRU departments look classy even if they have some issues as well.

      Burlington seems to be repositioning themselves with smaller stores and so some of the older mall-type stores might be on borrowed time like the Almeda Mall location. I have not seen the new Almeda Burlington, but I know Burlington is trying to give themselves a better image. Burlington's image at one time was about as low as a retailer can get, but I think their newer stores are supposedly a little nicer and they've been playing Mozart's music in their commercials to try to appear more upscale. I think people will still view Burlington as being Burlington, but as long as their prices are competitive, I suppose people will shop there. The old 290 & W. 34th Burlington in the old subdivided Venture/Kmart has recently reopened as a Crazy Boss. Crazy Boss probably does make Burlington, and Kmart for that matter, look fancy.

      Arlan's has a few locations on the edge of town. Some, like the Clear Lake/Seabrook location, are close enough to the city to have real competition. Arlan's stores do have real service departments and are run as mid-tier supermarkets rather than discount supermarkets like Food Town. I have not been to an Arlan's, but Mike has posted photos of a couple of their stores and they look like nice stores with designs more like traditional 1980s supermarkets like a Safeway. For those who want a retro supermarket experience without going to a store that has seen better days, Arlan's might be a good option. Certainly in Santa Fe, the Arlan's is a lot nicer than the HEB Pantry Foods store which is somehow still open there.

      I'll reply to the comments you had about Greenspoint and West Oaks Mall in the other post here. It sounds like the situation in West Oaks is truly dire and the mall will probably close soon if the 'anchors', if you even want to call them that, are not opening their mall entrances. It's been a while since I've heard about Greenspoint and the news is not promising. I know that the apartment development near the old Sears is progressing. I wonder when someone will do something with the rest of the property, but yeah, those two malls and Macroplaza Mall are probably not going to survive very long. Greenspoint might outlast the other two, but that's not saying much.

      I think WSS might be Foot Locker's best option for appealing to the discount shoe shopper. Foot Locker can keep locations at premiere malls for fancier shoes, but I think even Foot Locker prefers standalone locations these days since it is easier for them to handle shoe launches and such at standalone locations. Here lately, so many mall stalwarts are opening non-mall stores, but they really don't have much of a choice with the lack of mall construction and with less successful malls losing relevance ala West Oaks and company.

    22. I remember when the oversized clearance areas at department stores were truly separated from the rest of the store. The Greenspoint Foleys comes to mind with their separate room on the second floor away from everything else. Sadly the part of the building where that clearance room was is now falling apart. Even the traditional clearance racks were in the back of the departments away from the rest of the merchandise to keep the displays looking good. Now it is all mixed up in the Macy's locations.

      Burlington management is doing what they can to better separate themselves from the pack. Their stores were once an attempt to revive malls, now they are moving into better shopping centers for their continued success. A lot of the malls where Burlington opened up at have failed completely, leaving Burlington as the last retailer standing. Crazy Boss has been popping up all over town, they have a store at PlazAmericas Mall as well. The West Oaks location is the only one I have been into, and it is pretty much the same as a thrift store.

      HEB Pantry stores are very rare these days. As for Arlan's, I think they have a good business model that holds up to the big chains in their established areas.

      Greenspoint management has at least consolidated the stores that were in the now closed off wings to the middle of the mall. The residential development right next to the old Sears is something that must be seen to be believed. For the residents of the Northwest side of the building, their outside view will be of the old decrepit Sears. It is a strange development that will probably be tough to rent out initially. From the mostly vacant state of the mall to the loud vehicles that take over the parking lots at night, the new development is just not a desirable place to live right now.

      I have seen a lot of Foot Locker stores relocate outside of malls to newer shopping centers. PlazAmericas and West Oaks being recent examples. Finish Line is upgrading their image with the JD store concept. Deerbrook Mall has the JD store concept which is a larger and bolder store design than the old Finish Line look. It is similar to the newer Shoe Palace designs we have seen at malls.

    23. Anonymous in HoustonApril 14, 2023 at 1:08 AM

      There is some major news out of Red Bird Mall in Dallas that the redevelopment has secured Tom Thumb as a new tenant. Tom Thumb will be receiving a sizable subsidy/benefits package from the City of Dallas to open that store. The developer seems to be thrilled to land a grocer of the quality of Tom Thumb and I think this should really help the redevelopment:

      I was recently talking to someone from the south side of Houston about Greenspoint Mall. I shared a Google Street View of the Foley's in 2021 or so and he couldn't believe the deplorable state of the building and surrounding property. To some degree, it was even worse than what I was expecting.

      That apartment complex by the Sears really doesn't make sense to me. Having an apartment like that is really going to hinder any chances of redeveloping that property into something desirable for businesses. While I agree that there needs to be new affordable housing options for those living in flood and crime prone areas along Greens, I'm not sure if building a large complex like that next to a decaying mall was really the answer. There have been some good examples of successful affordable housing efforts around town, the Palms Center Montgomery Ward comes to mind, but the Greenspoint one seems like a typical Houston situation where logic went out the window and something was built for the sake of building something. It's pretty disappointing to see that.

      I found a Houston Chronicle article from 1991 discussing the struggles of Northline Mall where they included a comment from Foot Locker saying that their Northline location was their best-performing location in Houston at the time. With that, perhaps it isn't a surprise that Foot Locker and other shoe stores are one of the last holdouts at dying malls. It also isn't a surprise why Foot Locker put a location at the Northline powercenter redevelopment many years ago.

      I will say that the FM 1960 W & N. Eldridge WSS is having about the longest grand opening celebration I've ever seen. The store still has a giant balloon and banners up saying "Now Open" even though the store opened over a year ago. The store does well from what I can tell, but maybe they ought to take down the banners by now!

      I'm not sure if you are into retail books, but I saw something potentially neat the other day which I think you might be interested in. Raymond Zimmerman of the founding family of Service Merchandise recently published a new book about the Service Merchandise story. I have not read it so I can't tell you anything about it, but it might be a good book for Service Merchandise fans like ourselves. The book is called I Never Worked a Day in My Life: The Service Merchandise Story: A Half Century Building a Retail Dream Together.

    24. That is great news for the Red Bird Mall redevelopment. I am also glad to see they still have the Sanger-Harris storefront intact. I hope that the new Tom Thumb does well at that location and other expanding grocers like HEB also invest in the area. A 15-year lease is a bit shaky though; it makes it easier for them to close the store if it doesn't live up to corporate expectations.

      Greenspoint Mall Macy's you can kind of see the chunk of the building that has fallen off on the Southwest side of the building near the entrance. I will do a 2023 update on the mall with better photos from my trip earlier this month. I really want to get into the former Sears wing of the mall to see how that part of the mall is faring. I might try to see if I can get permission to enter from mall management.

      I think the infighting with the mall property owners and the holdup on the projects caused this weirdly situated building to get built. Meanwhile the majority of the mall structure continues to rot away. I am beginning to wonder if the Macy's building may be too far gone at this point to redevelop. A Youtuber went into the Macy's corridor a few months ago and there was a lot of standing water on the floor with graffiti on the walls. At least one of the windows to the Macy's mall entrance was boarded up. You can only imagine how the inside of that store looks now.

      The redevelopment at the former Northline Mall was very successful. Shoe store retailers are difficult to compete with online. Nothing beats trying out a pair of shoes in person and seeing how they feel. Since the online stores like Nike, Adidas, and Reebok keep the prices of shoes at a standard price, the in-store retailers can compete. Even sales on certain shoes are usually similar from the brand store online to in-store at the retailers. Getting a new pair of shoes and breaking them in at the mall is also a feeling you can't replicate with an online purchase.

      The year-long Grand Opening at WSS is pretty funny. I guess they are milking the new factor as long as they can.

      I really need to check out the Service Merchandise book. I really enjoyed the books I have bought about former retailers, the behind-the-scenes information at these former retailers is always interesting. Thanks for letting me know about the book.

  2. Unfortunately Kohan has now purchased the Lufkin mall. They recently bought struggling Mall St Vincent and Pierre Bossier as well.

    1. Damn, Kohan is really going after these struggling malls. I didn't know he had bought the Shreveport and Bossier Malls as well. Kohan will turn these malls into dead malls before you know it. Lufkin Mall barely escaped the JCP bankruptcy with their store almost closing. It is crazy that Shreveport does not have a really good mall anymore.