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The Galleria Mall History


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Hey guys, this topic is started in one form or another every year or so, but I was strolling through the mall today, and figured I'd give this another shot. I'm wondering if anyone has any old pictures or information about stores in the galleria in the 1980s, or the 1970s. Specifically, I'm trying to recall what this "prank" store was called, that used to be located near the post office in the 80s, down the hall from where the haircut place Visible Changes is now. It was against that far wall though. I remember buying a "fart machine" there when I was in elementary school, but they had all sorts of crap like that - they specialized in it!

Anyways, I more or less grew up in that mall in the 80s, yet I have very few memories of the actual stores. I do remember the old carpeting, and I do remember ash trays fixed to the old school railing throughout the mall. I remember the old movie theaters. Yes, there were two. I remember the old wing of the Galleria that housed McDonalds across from the movie theater.

Anyone have any information on a store list from back in the day, or possibly photos of this era. I've seen the few that exist towards the bottom of this page ... http://mallsofamerica.blogspot.com/search?q=houston+galleria ... but someone out there must have better ones, or at least some memories of the 1980s in that mall. Thanks!

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Hey guys, this topic is started in one form or another every year or so, but I was strolling through the mall today, and figured I'd give this another shot. I'm wondering if anyone has any old pictures or information about stores in the galleria in the 1980s, or the 1970s. Specifically, I'm trying to recall what this "prank" store was called, that used to be located near the post office in the 80s, down the hall from where the haircut place Visible Changes is now. It was against that far wall though. I remember buying a "fart machine" there when I was in elementary school, but they had all sorts of crap like that - they specialized in it!

Anyways, I more or less grew up in that mall in the 80s, yet I have very few memories of the actual stores. I do remember the old carpeting, and I do remember ash trays fixed to the old school railing throughout the mall. I remember the old movie theaters. Yes, there were two. I remember the old wing of the Galleria that housed McDonalds across from the movie theater.

Anyone have any information on a store list from back in the day, or possibly photos of this era. I've seen the few that exist towards the bottom of this page ... http://mallsofamerica.blogspot.com/search?q=houston+galleria ... but someone out there must have better ones, or at least some memories of the 1980s in that mall. Thanks!

And do you remember the bowling alley, pool hall and games up neart the top? Nobody seems to remember them but me.

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Spencer's Gifts?

Nope, spencer's had all the dragon posters, blacklights, and lava lamp type crap. This place was just pranks, inappropriate t-shirts, and maybe some magic tricks.

And do you remember the bowling alley, pool hall and games up neart the top? Nobody seems to remember them but me.

Amazing! I didn't know about these. Any idea exactly when/where they were located? What's in their places now?

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Hey guys, this topic is started in one form or another every year or so, but I was strolling through the mall today, and figured I'd give this another shot. I'm wondering if anyone has any old pictures or information about stores in the galleria in the 1980s, or the 1970s. Specifically, I'm trying to recall what this "prank" store was called, that used to be located near the post office in the 80s, down the hall from where the haircut place Visible Changes is now. It was against that far wall though. I remember buying a "fart machine" there when I was in elementary school, but they had all sorts of crap like that - they specialized in it!

I think it was caled "Archie's Joke Shop".

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It was The Fun Shop.

Hah, that's great. I remember getting a La Fartier at The Fun Shop. Good times.

There must be some photos out there of the Galleria at during this time period. I am going to visit the mall management office some time (tentatively) and see if they can provide me with any leads, store lists, or better yet photos. It may be a week or so before I can get down there, as they're M-F 8-5, but I'll keep HAIF posted if I come up with anything interesting.

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And do you remember the bowling alley, pool hall and games up neart the top? Nobody seems to remember them but me.

I must say I'm amazed. Bowling alley, pool hall, movie theaters, shops selling cheap gag gifts...It sounds like the Galleria's roots are far less "upscale" than their current image. ^_^

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For what it's worth, I'll second the Fun Shop name. I know it wasn't a Spencers gifts for sure. I bought a tail pipe whistle from there that got me in a lot of trouble.

Now I do remember the bowling alley and pool hall. Which was on 4th level of 2 near the glass elevators, back when you could go all the way up without a card key. I even remember going in these places before they were completed, still under construction and thinking they were crazy at the time. I mean who's going to the mall to go bowling, especialy the Galleria?! Well......... We did, just once!

Seemed like the next time we thought about going back, it was already closed down. Not sure how long it lasted there, but doubt it was much more than a year. As for a year, it's a complete guess but I'll say 1979.

Oddly as much time as I spent in here, it's hard to recall individual store names. The one place I'll never forget as long as I live was Ferells ice cream (mentioned in numerous other threads), which was incidently the scariest place you could take a little kid for their birthday. They made you stand on the table, while every siren, horn and drum was played as loud as possible. What memories those are!

I think the kiosk that sells watches has probably been there since the day the mall opened. I've seen nearly every store in there change at least once in 35+ years, but that place has never changed. "It's about time" I believe is the name.

Question,

Are there still appartment/condos at the Galleria, or was this all converted to office space?

Regards,

Rhino

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here is a couple of 80s Galleria stories for you :lol:

in about 83-84 you could wander the Galleria at any time of the day or night.....some crazy girls I knew had snuck their moms car out and came and picked me up and we would go hang out there.....you could sit in the different tiers and not be seen very easily

once one of the girls named Vanessa went into the back door of one of the restaurants of the Westin and took a bowl of mustard and chunked it down on the ice.....we had to haul ass after that

a few years later me and my friends would get bored and go around spraying people with a fire extinguisher full of water and the Galleria bus stop was always a winner about 9:30-10 pm

the people would be lined up 20 long or more.....you would see the ones at the far end looking down with this WTF look on their face right about the time it sprayed them

80s Galleria.........pretty crazy place :lol::oB)

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Oh yes, I do remember the Fun Shop. it satisfied much of my fake vomit and garlic gum needs for many years.

There was also a terrific newstand streched out along the wall of one of the offshoot corridors on the ground level of the Galleria. It carried a ton of stuff including foreign magazines and newspapers as well as regional sports magazines and newsletters. it closed it the mid-to-late 1980s. My friend's sister lived in an apartment across the street from the Galleria and, yes, I was surprised to discover that you could easily enter the place and wander around a bit after hours.

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another story

a girlfriend I had in the way back was a mall survey taker or a "mall hassler" as we called her in the Galleria

she was blonde and about 5-10 so she could get people to stop

she would tell me and my friends when the good ones were coming up and we would go up there and take them and then usually eat at Antones

the best one I think we got 5 or 10 bucks for

some of the others you would get to taste food or drinks (non alcoholic) and I think a couple you got coupons

not all of them gave anything of course.....most she just had to stop people and ask them 5-10 dumb questions....I think she got a bonus for the number taken so we would go just for fun sometimes

she could really blab too so she was perfect for the job

man I had forgotten all about that (i still remember her :rolleyes: )

more great Houston (Galleria) memories

Thanks Houston and HAIF :lol::D

Edited by TexasVines
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These are all really great stories. I remember how you used to be able to walk around inside the galleria late at night. Although I was very young at the time, so I couldn't really make the best of that. Can you imagine if you could still do that? You'd have to have a pair to want to walk inside such a place now a days. I guess that shows you how much Houston has changed in the past 25 years alone.

Here's an 80s memory from the galleria. I remember downstairs, in the Ice Rink level, on one side of the rink or the other, there was one of those make-your-own-80s-karaoke-tapes booths you'd see in malls back then. It was purple and black, with all sorts of blacklights and stuff. It sat underneath one of the staircases.

I remember vividly, having to walk by this booth while people were singing their hearts out, and it would play LOUD out of speakers. I don't know if people thought they sounded good or what, but it was always pretty horrible sounding. Once you paid your money and sang your heart out, I guess they'd give you a cut of your terrible song on a tape. HAHA. Man -- I can just picture the leg warmers.

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One of my favoriote places to go, as a child, in addition to those already mentioned, was the pet shop. It was located on the ice rink level at one of the corners, either where Radio Shack or FYE(closed) is today.

We would also frequent the Oakridge Smokehouse for free samples of their beef stick and handfuls of sesame sticks.

Edited by neuman
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One of my favoriote places to go, as a child, in addition to those already mentioned, was the pet shop. It was located on the ice rink level at one of the corners, either where Radio Shack or FYE(closed) is today.

We would also frequent the Oakridge Smokehouse for free samples of their beef stick and handfuls of sesame sticks.

Oh jeez yeah! The pet shop!!! I had completely forgotten about that place. It had a white and blue interior, with cages all over the place. Dogs, cats, birds, a ferret cage, you name it. That memory would have been lost to history had you not brought it up.

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I remember getting a turkey caller and a bird caller from the fun shop. Drove people crazy looking around for the bird. Also got a Stormtrooper mask from there. Bought a Bichon Frise from the Petland at the Galleria in 1987. Good dog, he past away in 2001.

Edited by TJones
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I wasn't there in the 80s but I sure spent alot of time at the Galleria from when it opened in fall of '69 until about '75. In it's early years it was more of a neighborhood mall that attracted neighborhood families and their kids. It was very similar to Sharpestown Mall in that respect. The ice skating rink was the first one most of us had ever seen. I can vividly recall going skating there in the early seventies and there being dozens of kids in the mall all playing with their clackers which was a very popular toy at that time. There was a constant noise of a low roar made by these clackers in the mall.

At this time there was only the Galleria...no Galleria II yet. On the bottom floor was Disc Records and a shoe store The Wild Pair. On the second floor was the twin movie theatre. There was also The Gap...one of the first Gap stores in Houston I believe.

There were always teens and tweens hanging out there but I don't believe the 'mall rat' culture among young people had really emerged in Houston by the early 70s--at least at the Galleria. It wasn't really a 'hang out' where I would run into other kids I knew. Sharpestown Mall had a better rep for that..particularly as a place to 'pick up chicks'.

For several winters around Christmas time in the early 70s I worked as a Galleria Auto Host. These were high school boys like myself who helped direct parking traffic during the busy holiday season--mostly on weekends. We all wore bright orange windbreakers and hard hats. Wish I still had them. We were paid a low wage and if we were lucky made the occasional tip. We also goofed off and partied while on the job.

When the economic boom hit Houston in a big way in the late 70s the Galleria began to change. It became much more upscale and attracted more foreign visitors with money.

Edited by icepickphil
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I missed the carpet in Galleria II, made it really nice and quiet to stroll around on.

The old classic car on the turn table of Record Town was pretty cool at the time as well.

Here is a photo from Galleria II around Christmas 1983 or 1984.

Can you guess which one is me?

1goc5h.jpg

Edited by Pumapayam
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I missed the carpet in Galleria II, made it really nice and quiet to stroll around on.

The old classic car on the turn table of Record Town was pretty cool at the time as well.

Here is a photo from Galleria II around Christmas 1983 or 1984.

Can you guess which one is me?

1goc5h.jpg

I don't know which one is you, but that's the 4th Doctor on the far right!

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I don't know which one is you, but that's the 4th Doctor on the far right!

I am the littlest runt on the left. I have more photos, just none of them online. Even have some old Town and Country photos from the 80's too.

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This dates me, but I saw the first Star Wars in first release at one of the Galleria theatres.

Me too. I saw it with my dad at the 2 theaters in Galleria II. He talked the ticket seller into letting us in after it started. I still think it works better if you start with R2D2 and C3PO on Tatooine.

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I missed the carpet in Galleria II, made it really nice and quiet to stroll around on.

The old classic car on the turn table of Record Town was pretty cool at the time as well.

Here is a photo from Galleria II around Christmas 1983 or 1984.

Can you guess which one is me?

1goc5h.jpg

Oh man this is great! I'd love it if you could scan more and post them. This is exactly the type of thing I was looking for. You know, I'd forgotten about those white globe-like lights. I also miss the carpeting and how it made it a quiet place to stroll around in.

If there's any way you could scan more of these, that would be awesome. Also, the photos of Town & Country mall would be solid platinum when it comes to HAIF fodder. I know both of these sets of photos would make tremendously appreciated threads. Thanks a million for posting this.

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Oh man this is great! I'd love it if you could scan more and post them. This is exactly the type of thing I was looking for. You know, I'd forgotten about those white globe-like lights. I also miss the carpeting and how it made it a quiet place to stroll around in.

If there's any way you could scan more of these, that would be awesome. Also, the photos of Town & Country mall would be solid platinum when it comes to HAIF fodder. I know both of these sets of photos would make tremendously appreciated threads. Thanks a million for posting this.

Ha, I will email you the "high-res" version.

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I was a rink rat at the Galleria for a period. I bought my first hockey skates (Bauer) at J. Rich Sporting Goods where the food court is now. I remember the small food and drink stand at the end of the rink called the Pacesetter Jr. There was the larger Pacesetter restaurant at the other end of the rink. I used to buy pistachios and other nuts at Morrow's Nut House. There was a health food store down by the Pacesetter restaurant. I can't remember the name of it, but that was the first place I ever bought Dr. Bronner's Magic soap (Teach the moral ABC that unites all mankind, free!)

There was the Sam Houston bookstore, which was a decent bookstore, next to the Hickory Farms and next to that was Disc Records. I knew and hung out with a lot of the people that worked at the record store. The manager of the record was named Skip (can't remember his last name). Skip and most of his crew left that gig to become the first crew of Cactus records when it opened up on Shepherd. Knowing people in the record store business meant that you got into a lot of shows and after-the-concert parties. You also got some of the pickings of the Comp records that the record companies would give to the stores to promote the record. One member of that original Cactus crew, Louis Karp, moved to Austin to open Waterloo Records.

Someone mentioned that they didn't think the Galleria had mall rats, but during the time I was hanging out there, all the regulars of the Galleria knew each other and hung out together. I went on a backpacking trip to Colorado in 1975 with a group of about 10 that was exclusively comprised of Galleria mall rats.

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You know, I'd forgotten about those white globe-like lights.

Me too. Remember that textured yellow tile that was in the non-carpeted areas? I remember all the stores had similar storefronts with a black glass signage band. All of the letters were white, but the fonts varied.

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Those are some great memories, isuredid. My Galleria 80s were spent at a pretty young age. I'm about the same age as Pumapayam is on the left side of that photo, so I never got into the mall rat culture that must have been this mall's nostalgic glory days. But I still remember a lot of these things, even if observed from gradeschool eyes.

Remember that textured yellow tile that was in the non-carpeted areas? I remember all the stores had similar storefronts with a black glass signage band. All of the letters were white, but the fonts varied.

Yep. I remember that stuff. I remember how the store front window panes & railings in the mall were that brown hollow aluminum material, and so were the ashtray/trashcan things bolted to the railings about every 50 feet.

Edited by Bengiann
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There was the Sam Houston bookstore, which was a decent bookstore, next to the Hickory Farms and next to that was Disc Records.

I haven't thought about Sam Houston bookstore for a long time. That wasn't just decent; it was amazing. I found Aleister Crowley's "Magick in Theory and Practice" there, which surprised me beyond words.

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This dates me, but I saw the first Star Wars in first release at one of the Galleria theatres.

I'd almost be embarrassed to tell you how many times I saw that movie in that theater. Remember those circular bench things with the planters in the center? My friend & I buried an R2-D2 toy in there while waiting in line and then when it was time to move along, we couldn't find him.

I know I have pictures taken in the mall, but I think finding them will prove difficult. I'll start the search!

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The photo Puma is in is just a few feet away from where Hanover Shoes used to be on a corner circa 1978-79. Got several neat boots and disco shoes there. :ph34r:

Several films I clearly recall seeing at the theater (timeline) were Jaws, Animal House, Poltergeist.

I always like the echos of fun and frolic the skate rink. Every girl wanted to be the next Dorothy Hamill it seemed.

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When the Galleria first opened, there was a chic home accessory store owned by the same company that operated Cargo Houston in Westbury Square. I don't remember its name, but it carried all sorts of high quality items from other countries. It closed after a year or so, due to being in the wrong location at the wrong time. People who shopped at the Galleria back then weren't likely to be looking for Japanese screens or Indonesian carvings.

There was a good bit of excitement among local fashionistas when the Galleria expanded and Lord and Taylor became an anchor tenant. It was the first New York based department store to open in Houston. For the first few years of its existence, it even had a furniture department.

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Man you guys have great memories. I remember all those stores you mentioned but could not have come up with them on my own. Of course my favorite spot was Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor.

Was Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor the store in the background of the photo Pumapayam posted? The place with that coin-op merry go-round?

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I always remember celebrity watching. Either my parents would drop us off, or we would ride our bikes, depending on the weather, to the Galleria with our stack of baseball cards. We would wait all around the entrance to the Westin Galleria, and would get autographs from every player we could identify. I don't know if the teams all still stay there or not, but all the teams playing the Astro's would stay there and we would all sit around with pockets of sharpies, waiting for autographs. Oh, and sneaking up too the health club to smoke on the patio and look in the windows on the track to the ice rink. And snagging some food from the meeting rooms in the hotel when you didn't bring enough money to last you past the arcade and candy store.

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There was a good bit of excitement among local fashionistas when the Galleria expanded and Lord and Taylor became an anchor tenant. It was the first New York based department store to open in Houston. For the first few years of its existence, it even had a furniture department.

There is something about that specific dept store that just makes it stand out from all of the others. The ceilings seem to reach the skies and the whole interior makes you feel as if you are in NYC. The only one that rivals it is the one way on the other end (name?) very expensive of course. A simple mens tie is about $300.00 thats all :blush: .

Just walking thru L & T makes you feel like a million $$$, just an dillusion of course. They need to make more dept stores with very high ceilings, decor etc.

Can't forget elevator Muzak of course! I love it!

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I started a search program into the recesses of my brain...the health food store in Galleria I was called Dottie Marlin's Health Food. I also remembered that Nan's Toys used to be in the Galleria, but the rent was too high to make a profit and she moved to SW Frwy. There was a mexican restaurant over by Farrell's called El Felix or El Fenix that I figured was only for tourist because it was not good mexican food. There was also another restaurant called The Coquery. There really weren't that many stores that would be of interest to a teen in Galleria I. I did buy shoes at the Wild Pair and Brass Boot. I had a summer job right after high school working on the dock at Joske's. One of my jobs was to carry bags of merchandise back to the hotels in the Galleria for the, mostly, Mexico City women that would come to Houston to shop at the Galleria. It still trips me out to go into that building that is now Dillard's.

Edited by isuredid
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There is something about that specific dept store that just makes it stand out from all of the others. The ceilings seem to reach the skies and the whole interior makes you feel as if you are in NYC. The only one that rivals it is the one way on the other end (name?) very expensive of course. A simple mens tie is about $300.00 thats all :blush: .

Just walking thru L & T makes you feel like a million $$$, just an dillusion of course. They need to make more dept stores with very high ceilings, decor etc.

Can't forget elevator Muzak of course! I love it!

That other store would be Neiman Marcus, a Texas (Dallas) chain. Oooh La La.

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I also remembered that Nan's Toys used to be in the Galleria, but the rent was too high to make a profit and she moved to SW Frwy. T

I had no idea Nan's originated in the Galleria! I spent quite a bit of time at Nan's growing up, but see - I grew up in the 80s and 90s - so I spent time at Nan's Comics & Games on 59 @ Shepherd. Thanks for the info!

Edited by Bengiann
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I had no idea Nan's originated in the Galleria! I spent quite a bit of time at Nan's growing up, but see - I grew up in the 80s and 90s - so I spent time at Nan's Comics & Games on 59 @ Shepherd. Thanks for the info!

I bought my first D&D books at Nan's in the Galleria. It was the first the first store I'd ever seen that sold role playing games.

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There was also another restaurant called The Coquery.

Is this the one that you could take a shortcut through from Galleria I to get to Galleria II? It dumped you right over by the theaters ... I could never remember the name of that place.

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Is this the one that you could take a shortcut through from Galleria I to get to Galleria II? It dumped you right over by the theaters ... I could never remember the name of that place.

Tha was "The Magic Pan". I miss it.

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I did buy shoes at the Wild Pair and Brass Boot. I had a summer job right after high school working on the dock at Joske's. One of my jobs was to carry bags of merchandise back to the hotels in the Galleria for the, mostly, Mexico City women that would come to Houston to shop at the Galleria. It still trips me out to go into that building that is now Dillard's.

The Wild Pair shoe store was in most malls even Gulfgate had one. The timing was just right for this chain. It was the early 80's and the style of shoe wear they had was exactly what the young new wave/punk crowd was craving. They knew exactly how to display the latest and most bizarre or toned down versions of new wave shoe wear (inspired by films like Bladerunner, Valley Girl, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Mad Max, Waterworld etc) I never had the heart to let go of at least 2 pair of Duran Duran/Beatle style boots I have in boxes. :blush:

Here are some examples of Wild Pair style of shoes they sold. The displays in that store were so futuristic, too cool. Sure miss dat store folks.

Oh yes, and if you really wanted to look like Billy Idol or Adam Ant, this is where you would go. lol

lpb02.jpgthigh%20leo%20small.jpg20061011-vans-2007-6.jpg

Edited by Vertigo58
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The Wild Pair shoe store was in most malls even Gulfgate had one. The timing was just right for this chain. It was the early 80's and the style of shoe wear they had was exactly what the young new wave/punk crowd was craving. They knew exactly how to display the latest and most bizarre or toned down versions of new wave shoe wear (inspired by films like Bladerunner, Valley Girl, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Mad Max, Waterworld etc) I never had the heart to let go of at least 2 pair of Duran Duran/Beatle style boots I have in boxes. :blush:

Here are some examples of Wild Pair style of shoes they sold. The displays in that store were so futuristic, too cool. Sure miss dat store folks.

Oh yes, and if you really wanted to look like Billy Idol or Adam Ant, this is where you would go. lol

Looks like their shoes were what you would call "trendy". In the early seventies I bought a pair of zip up on the side platform men's boots there. Kind of glam rockish they were.

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Is this the one that you could take a shortcut through from Galleria I to get to Galleria II? It dumped you right over by the theaters ... I could never remember the name of that place.

I believe , gazing through the cobwebs, that the Coquery was where the Chili's is now.

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