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Former Safeway/AppleTree Markets


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I'm curious of former Safeway/AppleTree Markets in Houston. I'm pretty sure that Safeway did take some of the older Weingarten's locations (1955 list of Weingarten's locations found here).

The only one I'm 99% sure of is the Little York location (northeast corner of 290 and Little York)--it looks similar to an old Safeway/AppleTree location in Bryan, and I'm sure it was both a Safeway and AppleTree at one point. Anyone have more information?

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I'm curious of former Safeway/AppleTree Markets in Houston. I'm pretty sure that Safeway did take some of the older Weingarten's locations (1955 list of Weingarten's locations found here).

Three I know for sure were built as Safeways are those that were at Airline Drive and West Road (across from Aldine High School), Gulf Bank and Interstate 45 North (was part of a Mazda dealership at one time), and at Bellfort and Telephone Road. I believe the last one is a Fiesta now. None of these though was ever a Weingartens.

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Three I know for sure were built as Safeways are those that were at Airline Drive and West Road (across from Aldine High School), Gulf Bank and Interstate 45 North (was part of a Mazda dealership at one time), and at Bellfort and Telephone Road. I believe the last one is a Fiesta now. None of these though was ever a Weingartens.

The Airline @ West Road location was (may still be) a Fiesta also.

Bellaire @ Winkleman (west of Hwy 6) - was a Weingarten, then an Appletree, was vacant for years, now a "party hall/events center".

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In east Houston, Safeway had built a store in the late 70's, at Uvalde @ Wallisville. This location became an AppleTree, then a Gerlands Food Fair and now, Food Town.

Additionally, Weingarten's had stores at Uvalde @ Woodforest and Federal @ I-10 East. After the buyout, these two stores became Safeway and then for a very short time, became AppleTree, before they both closed all together. They soon both reopened as HEB Pantry Foods which lasted a good amount of years. The Federal location is now a Sellers Brothers, while the Woodforest location remains vacant.

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The Fiesta on Dunlavy at W. Alabama used to be a Safeway. There was also a Safeway that became an AppleTree on Holcombe between Kirby and Buffalo Speedway.

Is that the current Rice Epicurean? I have blurry memories of the Apple Tree over there..

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Is that the current Rice Epicurean? I have blurry memories of the Apple Tree over there..

The Kroger at West 20th in The Heights was originally a Weingarten's (the whole strip including the Walgreen's portion) then contracted to just the footprint as it is now. After Weingarten's got out of the grocery biz in '84 it was changed to a Safeway. That lasted until AppleTree and then as it is now as Kroger's.

Kroger on West 43rd started off the same way, as a Weingarten's, then Safeway, then AppleTree, then Kroger, now a parking lot with the big Kroger next door to the original store.

The furniture store at West Lil' York and the Northwest Fwy was indeed a Safeway originally. It became an AppleTree, then a Kroger, then closed and became a couple of different furniture outlets over the years.

There was an AppleTree/Safeway at West Mt. Houston (Hwy 249) and Bingle that is still vacant to this day, I believe. I haven't been by there in quite awhile but it had not been occupied since AppleTree last I drove by.

Also, there was a Safeway/AppleTree at West Gulf Bank and Bingle. It too, never became another grocer after AppleTree and sat vacant for several years until some company bought it and made it into a warehouse as it is now.

IIRC, the grocery store in the same strip as Furr's Cafeteria at North Freeway between West Dyna and Aldine Bender was a Safeway as well. I don't remember it ever making a transistion to AppleTree, so that may be a mistake. It was either Safeway or Randall's.

The Rice Epicurean on lower Westheimer was indeed a Safeway/AppleTree. Not sure about Dunlavy and W. Alabama.

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IIRC, the grocery store in the same strip as Furr's Cafeteria at North Freeway between West Dyna and Aldine Bender was a Safeway as well. I don't remember it ever making a transistion to AppleTree, so that may be a mistake. It was either Safeway or Randall's.

It was a Randall's. The Safeway (later Appletree) was at Airline @ West Rd across from Aldine High School. It was a Fiesta last time I was there.

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Some clarifications to a previous post:

-The Safeway/AppleTree on SH 249 at Champion Forest (now Bammel N Houston) was bought by Kroger, who had a store across the street. They kept the old AppleTree open for a few months before shutting it down and sitting on the property. It's now a thrift store and a Family Dollar.

-The Safeway/AppleTree at N. Houston-Rosslyn and W. Gulf Bank was acquired by Gerland's. They shut it down quickly and soon sold it to an industrial company.

-There was a Safeway at Antoine and Pinemont. I don't recall it ever being an AppleTree. My mom said it was a dump and that the good clientele shopped at the Kroger across the street. It has been divided into a Payless ShoeSource, a laundromat and something else.

-There was a Safeway/AppleTree on SH 249 at Louetta. It was an HEB Pantry before sitting vacant for some time. It's now a SteinMart.

-The Safeway/AppleTree in Tomball was located at SH 249 at FM 2920. Academy took over the building and HEB built a Pantry store in front of the Academy. Later, Academy closed and HEB took over the building (they may have torn the old one down). The old Pantry was demolished.

-There was a Safeway at Jones Rd at FM 1960 in the Steeplechase shopping center. I don't recall it ever being an AppleTree. It's now either a Palais Royal or a 99 cent store. Those stores have changed over the years.

-The Safeway/AppleTree on N. Gessner at Hammerly is now a Kroger. The building was built in a diamond pattern and is quite disorienting.

-The Safeway/AppleTree on I-10 at Echo Lane is now a Kroger.

-Finally, there was a Safeway/AppleTree at 290 at West Little York. I worked there when it was a Kroger for several years. Many of my coworkers were Safeway veterans and we found old AppleTree signage when we were cleaning the store out when it closed in 2005.

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Were any new AppleTree stores built after the Safeway breakoff? The one in Bryan moved to a location catty-corner to the original, which had the Safeway stucco roof. There, it remained up until the late 2000s, when it was replaced by Village Foods. The original is now a church and bingo parlor.

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Were any new AppleTree stores built after the Safeway breakoff? The one in Bryan moved to a location catty-corner to the original, which had the Safeway stucco roof. There, it remained up until the late 2000s, when it was replaced by Village Foods. The original is now a church and bingo parlor.

I'm not positive, but I strongly doubt it. AppleTree came into existence saddled with debt and was constantly closing or selling stores. They also never remodeled the old Safeways as far as I know. They just changed the signs.

Speaking of signs, you sometimes see the distinctive hexagon-shaped sign still standing over streets in the greater Houston area. I get a twinge of nostalgia whenever I see one. My family shopped at Safeway all the time and I still vividly recall my local store.

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The Fiesta on Dunlavy at W. Alabama used to be a Safeway. There was also a Safeway that became an AppleTree on Holcombe between Kirby and Buffalo Speedway.

Correct. I think it was also briefly an AppleTree.

An aside - which of the major supermarkets in Houston refused to sell tobacco or alcohol in the 80's? I forget if it was Safeway or Randall's.

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The one in Rosenberg had a bit of a different evolution.

It was built in 1975 at 3316 Avenue H and served as a Simmons Minimax into at least the early 80s. From there it became a Safeway store, and I do have some vague memories of it from that time. I was really young so the place seemed kind of huge, even though there's no way I'd mistake it as such today. It may have been late 1989 or early 1990 that it became an AppleTree, and there was an interior renovation that effectively lightened the place up. It closed around 1992, I think.

The entire space sat vacant for a number of months before Walgreens modified it to suit their needs. It opened in 1993, and allowed the small store in nearby Lamar Plaza to relocate to the freestanding space. What's interesting is that the space was subdivided; two thirds are now the Walgreens location, while the remainder has NEVER been leased. It's cart storage at this point.

It does retain some of it's look from the period. The only additions that occured when Walgreens moved in were a stucco facade above their part of the building, and the construction of a drive-thru pharmacy window & ramp that occurred in the mid 90's.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Randall's didn't sell alcohol until Safeway bought the chain.

A good way to get rich in the 70's and 80's was to open a liquor store next door to Randall's!

actually since you can't sell liquor in grocery stores in Texas you still see liquor stores next to grocers.....the beer sales were just a bonus for those by Randalls

and safeway SUCKS.....the only thing I like about safeway is that my great grand mother used to live near one in Arlington and called it "safetyway"......while the one by our house in Houston that was at the corner of Briar Forest and Wilcrest was a hell hole we called dangerway

I believe it was originally built as a safetyway and the building probably still has that rock/pebble wall finish near the doors that all the safetyways I know had

the only interesting story to come from there (other than it was always trashed because of the nearby apartment dwellers) is one time some friends of mine and their dad drove their cushman scooter over there just for fun to get a few things and while my friends were waiting in the scooter some guy came by and ask "hey do you mind if I take a piss over here".........my friend were like no go for it......so he did :lol:

got to love safeway.....they SUCK!

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In Bear Creek in Northwest Houston, there used to be a Safeway/Apple Tree at Highway 6 and Loch Katrine on the southwest corner. The store was damaged by tornadoes in the later 80's, and later became a Hobby Lobby. Currently, the store is a thrift shop, as the surrounding area is almost totally poverty stricken. It is the green roofed building adjacent to the Track 21 Indoor Racing (which used to be Kmart).

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Sorry if this feels like a really old thread. But I am so grateful you all confirmed three locations: 249 and Jones/Louetta, 249 and Champions Forest (the BAD stretch of Champions Forest), and 249 in Tomball. What surprises me is how Randalls bought the 249 at Jones/Louetta one, but closed after less than five years. Then H-E-B Pantry Foods took over but didn't last either. And this was one of the last stores Safeway built in the area! I live in Philadelphia now and we have such an interesting mix of old grocery stores. Do the names Acme, A&P, Pantry Pride, or Penn Fruit ring a bell? Or Thriftway, Shop 'n Bag, IGA, Supervalu, Great Valu, The Fresh Grocer, ShopRite, or Pathmark? These names were all "orphan" chains much like AppleTree. The Flickr page "Holcombe of Hidalgo" has many pictures of Safeway, Albertsons, and other Houston grocery stores past and present. Safeway strangely can still be found in California and Virginia, but not really anywhere in between except for inner Western states. But they do own many regional chains including Randalls. In LA the equivalent is called Vons, in Chicago it is Dominick's, in Philadelphia (suburbs only) it is Genuardi's. Here are some MUST SEE resources on old Philadelphia/East Coast stores:

1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N00/

2. http://www.flickr.com/photos/42444189@N04/

3. http://www.groceteria.com/board/

4. http://acmestyleblog.blogspot.com/

5. http://www.flickr.com/photos/37616948@N00/

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The Chron's archives are gone! Crap! Anyway, so on the 249 store at Jones and Louetta, is http://old.wikimapia.org/#lat=29.9978037&lon=-95.5824588&z=18&l=0&m=h'>this it?

 

Also, the one on Katy Freeway at Echo Lane Shopping Center is now "Kroger of the Villages", and was renovated fairly late in the 1980s (looks a lot like Village Foods in Bryan, but not exactly--also a former AppleTree).

 

The Health Department in downtown Bryan was an AppleTree at one time, too: ever so briefly.

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There was a Safeway at Jones Rd at FM 1960 in the Steeplechase shopping center. I don't recall it ever being an AppleTree. It's now either a Palais Royal or a 99 cent store. Those stores have changed over the years.

 

 

I can confirm that one. To this day, I believe, you can still make out one of the old Safeway signs. It's the one next to the little street that is next to the former Target. You can make out the individual letters of "Safeway" in the sign. On the other side of the little street, is what I believe to be a former Albertson's.

 

On the other side of Jones, the same side of FM 1960 is a Big Lots that kind of reminds me of a Kroger greenhouse store.

 

You now have to drive at least a few miles to get to any grocery store from that intersection.

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I can confirm that one. To this day, I believe, you can still make out one of the old Safeway signs. It's the one next to the little street that is next to the former Target. You can make out the individual letters of "Safeway" in the sign. On the other side of the little street, is what I believe to be a former Albertson's.

 

On the other side of Jones, the same side of FM 1960 is a Big Lots that kind of reminds me of a Kroger greenhouse store.

 

You now have to drive at least a few miles to get to any grocery store from that intersection.

 

Big Lots was a Kroger.  I worked at that Kmart for the last month of its existence in 1997 and the MacFrugals (now Big Lots) didn't do anything to the Kroger except change the sign.  The remodel came later.  

 

That intersection of Jones at FM 1960 had a lot of merchants that are gone, including 3 grocery stores!  Let's see what was there in the not-too-distant past...

 

SW corner (Steeplechase shopping center):

-Palais Royal (one of the very few still in business)

-Safeway

-Best Products

-Target (moved down 1960 to Eldridge)

 

SE Corner

-Kmart (moved to Willowbrook in 1997)

-Kroger

 

NE Corner

-Eagle (store became Crafts Etc., another defunct retailer)

-Computer City (Tandy's long-gone stab at the PC market)

 

And to add to the list of Houston-area Safeway stores, there was one at Cypress N. Houston and Huffmeister.  It's now a Food Town.  I recall a location in Quail Valley (Missouri City area) but I couldn't tell you where exactly.  And there was one near NASA-I recall it was small and the street sign had the circle S logo painted on a small square sign.  

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When I was a kid, a new Safeway was built across the street from us at the intersection of Richey and  Harris Avenue in Pasadena. I won  a bag of groceries there during their grand opening. Also had my first job there, the summer of 1981.  I am not sure when it closed, but it is now a Food Town.

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I was able to find again the Chron archives, though I really can't find anything that closed prior to 1994 (I'm assembling a list). There was the Rosenberg mentioned, as well as one in the Greenspoint area, and a few others. The Federal Road one (now a Sellers Bros.) must have closed really early on, as I cannot find anything about it.

 

As for the NASA area one, there was one that's now an Arlan's.

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And to add to the list of Houston-area Safeway stores, there was one at Cypress N. Houston and Huffmeister.  It's now a Food Town.  I recall a location in Quail Valley (Missouri City area) but I couldn't tell you where exactly.  And there was one near NASA-I recall it was small and the street sign had the circle S logo painted on a small square sign.  

 

I can't vouch for the one down around NASA, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the one in Missouri City may have been on Cartwright & Texas Parkway - where Foodarama is today. I'm only guessing that since I seem to recall it was an AppleTree at one point. Could be off though.

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I can't vouch for the one down around NASA, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the one in Missouri City may have been on Cartwright & Texas Parkway - where Foodarama is today. I'm only guessing that since I seem to recall it was an AppleTree at one point. Could be off though.

 

That was a Randall's just before becoming a Foodarama but I don't know if it had been a Safeway/Appletree before that. As best I can remember the building, it looks more like a Randall's.

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There was a lot of information on Houston Safeways/Appletrees that found its way into your B/CS thread. I can add to what I posted there:

There was a Safeway on Chimney Rock at Gulfton in the 70s, same exterior as the Holcombe/Greenbrier and Westheimer/Weslayan stores but smaller inside, I think. Not a good location for such a large store, too close to the store in downtown Bellaire and surrounded by lots of warehouse/light industtrial rather than residential. That one may not have lasted long enough to become an Appletree and I'm virtually certain it was never a Rice Epicurean, despite being only about 3 blocks from the Rice headquarters on Gulfton. That was a bingo hall for a while and now is a private academy.

The Foodarama on S. Wilcrest @ West Bellfort was a Safeway, obvious from the north wall along W. Bellfort, especially. I worked part time out of an office half a block from there briefly in 83/84 but don't remember it at all. I would not have been doing any grocery shopping while I was there, however.

The 'Your Super Savings Thrift Store' or whatever the name is on Dashwood @ S. Fondren, west of the old Sharpstown Mall was a Safeway and probably an Appletree, also obvious from the front of the building.

I'm not sure about the Fiesta on Bellaire @ S. Gessner but I think it was a Safeway. Have to look at the building again.

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I've looked into it. AppleTree had 94 stores in 1991. After the bankruptcies and a few sell-offs, they had 75. Somewhere between summer 1992 and November 1993, they went down to 49. So the Federal Road store is one of the "anonymous stores" I can't find record for.

 

Worse, these 26 stores aren't necessarily all in the Houston area. It seems there was a second store in the Waco area as well.

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Where did the five "Budget Stores" go to?

 

The AppleTree moniker will adorn 94 of the company's 99 stores in Texas.

Five stores - three in Houston and two in Austin - will be renamed Budget Stores . Those stores will have slightly lower prices on some items and will have fewer speciality shops, Lankford said. ``These are stores without delis, bakeries or floral shops.''

I'm guessing they're REALLY old stores, like 1940s era Weingarten's.

Edited by IronTiger
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The store you have listed for W. Montgomery, I believe, should be W. Mount Houston. State Highway 249 is the old Mount Houston Rd, and I don't remember Acres Homes ever having a big grocer on W. Montgomery.

I may have overlooked it, but I didn't see a listing for the current Kroger at Yale and W. 20th, or the current Foodarama at W. 18th and Ella/T.C. Jester. Both were Safeway and AppleTree over the course of their history.

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The store you have listed for W. Montgomery, I believe, should be W. Mount Houston. State Highway 249 is the old Mount Houston Rd, and I don't remember Acres Homes ever having a big grocer on W. Montgomery. 

It's at the corner of Houston Rosslyn Road and Highway 249.

 

 

I may have overlooked it, but I didn't see a listing for the current Kroger at Yale and W. 20th, or the current Foodarama at W. 18th and Ella/T.C. Jester. Both were Safeway and AppleTree over the course of their history.

239 W. 20th Street for the first one, 1805 Ella, that's there too.

 

 

Seller's Bros. Stella Link @ S. Braeswood.

It's on there, it closed after 1994, and thus, at the bottom of the list.

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Yes, I missed them both. Now, the store at Houston Rosslyn & 249, I know. That one was closed for a long time. I think, Kroger bought it and ran it with the AppleTree name very briefly, but after AppleTree closed it sat vacant. That strip had a Handy Dan and a old, old Kmart in it.

The one you have listed I'm inquisitive about is listed on W. Montgomery. I never knew there was a grocery store of any kind along the stretch of road between N. Shepherd and Mount Houston.

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The store at 249 and Houston Rosslyn is now a Family Thrift Store. This store was sold to Kroger, though I can't be sure if they actually opened a store here or not.

The store at Houston Rosslyn is now some sort of office building that has been modified, but the original grocery store still seems to be intact.

A few of the stores closed and within 48 hours, had put up new price tags and signage, but I'm wondering if there were any sold stores that never closed.

P.S.: Yours truly worked at #1193, though it wasn't called AppleTree anymore (same management team, though)

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OK, I've been working on a list of AppleTree stores in the entire chain, and I've published the first edition here. This covers more than half of the chain.

 

What do you think? What's missing?

 

AppleTree stores

 

15000 block of Bellaire, originally a Weingarten, was briefly an Appletree, now is an "Event Center/Party Hall".

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Heh, I worked at the one on W. 43rd in Oak Forest. "Everything in this bag, is AppleTree fresh!" What is that building in the parking lot of 9510 N. Houston Rosslyn? I haven't been down that part of Bingle/NHR in years. It's directly in front of the grocery store's entrance, so I'm assuming that the AppleTree building is not accessible for public meandering?

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15000 block of Bellaire, originally a Weingarten, was briefly an Appletree, now is an "Event Center/Party Hall".

Seems to be "Phoenix Events Center", but also shares address with the adjacent Phoenix Seafood Restaurant. Either way, it's at 15156 Bellaire Boulevard.

Heh, I worked at the one on W. 43rd in Oak Forest. "Everything in this bag, is AppleTree fresh!"

That looks like it might've been one of the last ones built as Safeway and thus one of the largest and nicest stores in the chain. Probably one of the biggest problems in the chain was that some of their stores were real dumps. I don't think AppleTree kept that slogan after the 1993 bankruptcy, either.

What is that building in the parking lot of 9510 N. Houston Rosslyn? I haven't been down that part of Bingle/NHR in years. It's directly in front of the grocery store's entrance, so I'm assuming that the AppleTree building is not accessible for public meandering?

Omron Oilfield & Marine. The original building was presumably converted to office space, but you can kind of see it behind it.

I did update the list with a few mentioned here and one more from the Chron.

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