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Back When There Were Kmarts In Houston


foxmulder

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I remember reading an article saying that Kmart tested the waters in Houston in the 60's with 3 stores. Does anyone know where they were? More specifically the one on Telephone, My dad took a picture in his car(old cougar) infront of Kmart with the old logo.

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The KMart on Telephone was at 3333 Telephone. I don't know when it was built but it is now a variety of other stores and businesses. Sellers Brothers grocery has been in the strip center for years. I believe it was originally a Lewis & Coker grocery. The KMart was immediately next to it. Now, there is a Chinese buffet, a Dollar Tree, Famsa and several other shops including a Subway.

The center is between the Wayside exit and Griggs exit off of Gulf Fwy and can easily be seen from the freeway itself.

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The KMart on Telephone was at 3333 Telephone. I don't know when it was built but it is now a variety of other stores and businesses. Sellers Brothers grocery has been in the strip center for years. I believe it was originally a Lewis & Coker grocery. The KMart was immediately next to it. Now, there is a Chinese buffet, a Dollar Tree, Famsa and several other shops including a Subway.

The center is between the Wayside exit and Griggs exit off of Gulf Fwy and can easily be seen from the freeway itself.

Yes. I drive by there from time to time.

I do believe there was another in Pasadena...

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The Telephone Rd and Pasadena stores came with next next expansion.

Telephone Rd.

Pasadena

East Freeway

Homestead

W. Little York

20th St.

S. Post Oak

Van Fleet

There were several more by the end of the decade all over Houston, and then more, and more until................Walmart kicked their butt.

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I think Kmart began in 1961 and the Baytown store opened somewhere between 1962 and 1964. We came to Baytown in 1964 and shopped there all the time. There was a Superslide behind the store, but I don't think Kmart ran it. Fond memories.

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There was one at the corner on West Rd and I-45 built in 1992. It opened next to Pace (there version of Sam's) and a Builders Square (A subsidiary of Kmart). The Builders Square became Fry's Electronics, the Pace became Compaq Works and is now The Dump and The K-Mart is now a Ross. The K-mart closed when they moved out of Houston.

I remember going to the one at W Little York Rd and I-45 as a kid. If I remember correctly it closed after the one on West Rd opened.

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There was one at the corner on West Rd and I-45 built in 1992. It opened next to Pace (there version of Sam's) and a Builders Square (A subsidiary of Kmart). The Builders Square became Fry's Electronics, the Pace became Compaq Works and is now The Dump and The K-Mart is now a Ross. The K-mart closed when they moved out of Houston.

I remember going to the one at W Little York Rd and I-45 as a kid. If I remember correctly it closed after the one on West Rd opened.

Actually, I think it closed and became a flea market several years before the West Rd. location opened.

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Does anyone realistically think Kmart will return?(Or even have the Sears name go away in favor of Kmart?) I've been to a few where they are comparable to Target(Signage, locations, products.) I know they aren't doing well with the rashes of closings, maybe they will turn around.

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Actually, I think it closed and became a flea market several years before the West Rd. location opened.

I don't remember for sure when it closed. The address is 630 W LITTLE YORK RD. HCAD says that TRADING FAIR IV INC has owned it since 2005 and that the building was built in 1968. For some reason it doesn't show the ownership history before then.

BTW this website has a bunch of the address of the Kmart stores that used to be in Houston and other areas.

http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/cgi-bin/permitting/pstregis2/pstregis2.pl?ownerid=7671&query_type=OwnerID&abc=&previousrow=100&increment=25&totalrows=183

Edited by billyf
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I grew up going to the Kmart on Spencer Highway. It sat just west of Pasadena Plaza.

Do you have any pictures? Any descriptions of it?

I find it hard to believe Kmart closed due to "Walmart" Walmart at the time when Kmart closed only existed outside of the loop. Most stores were NOT supercenters. Pearland Walmart on 35 was tiny. Kmart across the street was huge. Same thing in Pasadena, Fairmont...Tiny(no groceries.) Kmart on Fairmont full blown super k groceries...Kmart on Telephone...No competition but the store on 35. I honestly don't believe Target had anything to do with it, again at the time the only target we knew about were outside the loop. Fairmont and Almeda mall at least on the Southeast side.

Edited by foxmulder
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Descriptions of Kmart? It was a very generic, rectangular building, nothing spectacular. I recall red poles, to match the large red K and smaller turquoise "mart" letters. Closest competitors in the sixties would have been Globe and Sage. Imagine a dime store... on a much larger scale. Kind of like Newberry's in Gulfgate. I think poor management was the main reason for their failure. They seemed to have big names associated with the store (Kmart) that worked, for a while. That model/ Charlie's angel and Martha Stewart, before her arrest, were good promotional names for the store, in later years.

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That link was awesome!

The 4 digit store numbers reflect the size of the stores. The 4000 series stores are the older large 1960's era layouts. The 3000 series are the newer 1970'-1990's era large stores including Big K's.

The 7000 series are medium size stores built outside of large cities like to old Webster and Texas City locations. The 9000 series are the small rural community store's usually lacking a garden shop, and cafeteria. These would have been in small cities like Alvin, and Angleton.

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Did K-Mart and Lewis & Coker operate together? Or did one take over the other? All of the listings included both except Van Fleet, Homestead, and Telephone.

1976:

1431 W 20th (currently Restaurant Depot)

11037 East Freeway (currently Kroger?)

9929 Homestead (currently this - http://www.houstontx...9homestead.html)

12151 Katy Freeway (currently various stores)

630 W Little York (currently flea market; looks abandoned)

8315 Long Point (currently flea market)

12401 S Post Oak (currently various stores)

8150 Southwest Freeway (currently various stores)

3333 Telephone (Seller Bros. + others)

5702 Van Fleet (@ MLK - demolished)

4200 Pasadena Blvd. (currently Hobby Lobby)

1402 Spencer Highway (currently storage facility mentioned above)

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Did K-Mart and Lewis & Coker operate together? Or did one take over the other? All of the listings included both except Van Fleet, Homestead, and Telephone.

1976:

1431 W 20th (currently Restaurant Depot)

11037 East Freeway (currently Kroger?)

9929 Homestead (currently this - http://www.houstontx...9homestead.html)

12151 Katy Freeway (currently various stores)

630 W Little York (currently flea market; looks abandoned)

8315 Long Point (currently flea market)

12401 S Post Oak (currently various stores)

8150 Southwest Freeway (currently various stores)

3333 Telephone (Seller Bros. + others)

5702 Van Fleet (@ MLK - demolished)

4200 Pasadena Blvd. (currently Hobby

1402 Spencer Highway (currently storage facility mentioned above)

Nice list Sevfiv, never realized they were affiliated. We went to the Lewis & Coker grocery store on Southmore, late sixties.

Edited by NenaE
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The Telephone store did have (and still does) a grocery store next to it but the grocery may have been built several years after the Kmart.

I want to say it actually was a Lewis & Coker before becoming Sellers Bros but when it did change I can't say. I do think they were each a stand alone building though and at some point, there was construction that sort of "connected" the two.

When that Kmart started to decline, it was evident that the employees just did not care anymore. The store was messy and prices many times were not updated either on the shelves or at the registers. I finally stopped going there and would make the drive out to Almeda to Target.

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Descriptions of Kmart? It was a very generic, rectangular building, nothing spectacular. I recall red poles, to match the large red K and smaller turquoise "mart" letters. Closest competitors in the sixties would have been Globe and Sage. Imagine a dime store... on a much larger scale. Kind of like Newberry's in Gulfgate. I think poor management was the main reason for their failure. They seemed to have big names associated with the store (Kmart) that worked, for a while. That model/ Charlie's angel and Martha Stewart, before her arrest, were good promotional names for the store, in later years.

Was it like the Kmart on Telephone? I remember going to that one in the 80's with those weird air vents, and exhaust tiles in the back of the cafeteria. Do you recall when it closed?

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Descriptions of Kmart? It was a very generic, rectangular building, nothing spectacular. I recall red poles, to match the large red K and smaller turquoise "mart" letters. Closest competitors in the sixties would have been Globe and Sage. Imagine a dime store... on a much larger scale. Kind of like Newberry's in Gulfgate. I think poor management was the main reason for their failure. They seemed to have big names associated with the store (Kmart) that worked, for a while. That model/ Charlie's angel and Martha Stewart, before her arrest, were good promotional names for the store, in later years.

I met Kathy Ireland and got her autograph at the Kmart on Hwy 6 near Beechnut (now a flea market).

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Oh yeah, I forgot about her, and Jacqueline Smith was the name of the other model/ actress who had a clothing line at Kmart.

Foxmulder, I don't remember the vents. And I moved from the area way before it actually closed. I always thought it was a long drive, though, from Allen-Genoa at Hwy 225 (Oak Meadows). Sage was closer, Winkler at I -45.

Edited by NenaE
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KMart and Lewis & Coker did operate stores side by side at several locations in Houston, but they were not affiliated other than through these retail/lease arrangements. Once KMart started expanding it's stores into Big K's they eventually took over the adjacent grocery stores. The Telephone Rd. location was an exception. I can remember being in the Galveston KMart (Big K) in later years when you would hear an announcement over the public address sytem calling for a receiving employee to go to the Lewis & Coker loading dock.

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This is not Houston related but I thought I'd share a KMart story we had in 2009.

My husband and I were in Jackson WY for a couple of weeks for a club function. Since Jackson is such a tourist town, it's full of the little pricey boutiques in the downtown area. Rightly so, I suppose.

We women were shopping in town one afternoon and got to talking about the lack of certain types of stores. Where do the locals buy their towels, sheets and underwear? There's not a lot of other shopping available in that area.

We finally asked one of the clerks in downtown and she answered quickly, "KMart".

Sure enough, in a strip center (it was actually more U shaped than a strip) on the edge of town there was a KMart, but it sat way back in the center and was not a huge and imposing building like the ones we had here. Once we knew it was there, we had to check it out. The store was extremely nice and well kept, no boxes in the aisle, no trash on the floor and the employees were cheerful and helpful.

It makes sense though. KMart satisfies a local need. It was not a super K though.

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http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/topo/texas/txu-pclmaps-topo-tx-pasadena-1967.jpg

...in this Pasadena topo. map, you can see the location of the Kmart. It was at Allen-Genoa & Spencer Hwy. it's the square bldg. to the left of Pasadena Plaza. The PP shopping center was unique in it's crescent design. I would like to know who designed it. The long, narrow bldg. (in between them ) housed various shops, including the August Moon Chinese food restaurant & a liquor store. The large store to the right of PP was Montgomery Wards. My mom drove from Allendale (Oak Meadows) to visit K-Mart and The Plaza. Seems like a long way, today, looking at the map.

Edited by NenaE
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http://www.lib.utexa...sadena-1967.jpg

...in this Pasadena topo. map, you can see the location of the Kmart. It was at Allen-Genoa & Spencer Hwy. it's the square bldg. to the left of Pasadena Plaza. The PP shopping center was unique in it's crescent design. I would like to know who designed it. The long, narrow bldg. (in between them ) housed various shops, including the August Moon Chinese food restaurant & a liquor store. The large store to the right of PP was Montgomery Wards. My mom drove from Allendale (Oak Meadows) to visit K-Mart and The Plaza. Seems like a long way, today, looking at the map.

I think most of it used to be a craft shop and it's now some kind of storage place.... I'll try to swing by tomorrow.

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  • 5 months later...

In 1978, I worked in the photography department of the Kmart located at 59 @ S. Gessner.  I once caught a guy using a stolen credit card but the store manager was hesitant to arrest him so the creep ran out the front doors.  Sadly, I didn't get a reward.  :(

 

In the mid-70s, I worked in several departments at the S.A.G.E. department store at W. Belt @ Katy Freeway.  If anyone remembers, S.A.G.E. was the first department store to figure out a way to skirt the Texas Blue Laws and at the time, was the ONLY store fully open on Sundays, selling anything you wanted.  S.A.G.E. was crazy-busy on Sundays!

 

S.A.G.E. was also noteworthy in that each department was separately-owned by different companies, so customers had to pay for all items from each department in THAT department.  Each department had its own registers with clerks/managers who only worked in that department.  Which was a huge pain in the butt for customers who didn't understand how the S.A.G.E. system worked.  

 

Anyway, I have photographs that I took of both the Kmart and S.A.G.E. that I worked in during that time period.  Eventually, I plan to scan all the photos and then I'll post them online.

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  • 1 month later...

 

Thanks for the link to the news story.  I had wondered what had become of the Homestead Rd. @ Parker Rd. KMart since it was one of the last KMarts to finally close in Houston.

 

I once went to that Homestead Rd. KMart store twenty years ago to buy some curtains.  At that time, the store was a bit run-down but still in pretty good shape.  What was most interesting was that the store still had the original 1970s color theme and decor -- the colors used for fixtures and signs were brown and tangerine-orange -- exactly like the old S. Gessner KMart I had worked at in 1978.  Sadly I never had the time to go back to the Homestead KMart and photograph the interior.

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Thanks for the link to the news story.  I had wondered what had become of the Homestead Rd. @ Parker Rd. KMart since it was one of the last KMarts to finally close in Houston.

 

I once went to that Homestead Rd. KMart store twenty years ago to buy some curtains.  At that time, the store was a bit run-down but still in pretty good shape.  What was most interesting was that the store still had the original 1970s color theme and decor -- the colors used for fixtures and signs were brown and tangerine-orange -- exactly like the old S. Gessner KMart I had worked at in 1978.  Sadly I never had the time to go back to the Homestead KMart and photograph the interior.

 

Would you happen to have any interior photos of Houston Kmarts? Specifically Super Kmarts.

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Would you happen to have any interior photos of Houston Kmarts? Specifically Super Kmarts.

 

The only KMart photos I have are of the S. Gessner KMart in 1979 (because I worked there at the time).  

 

Sorry...no Super KMart shots!  It's a shame that the KMart chain moved out of Texas.  I always liked shopping there.

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The only KMart photos I have are of the S. Gessner KMart in 1979 (because I worked there at the time).  

 

Sorry...no Super KMart shots!  It's a shame that the KMart chain moved out of Texas.  I always liked shopping there.

 

Post some pics! :)

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The only KMart photos I have are of the S. Gessner KMart in 1979 (because I worked there at the time).  

 

Sorry...no Super KMart shots!  It's a shame that the KMart chain moved out of Texas.  I always liked shopping there.

 

Hey, I would be really interested in seeing those pics!

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  • 1 month later...

My next door neighbor was the general manager for the K-Mart on Southwest Freeway in the early seventies.  He later was the general manager for all of Houston.  In 75 he was transferred to Memphis to wrok at corporate.  I used to spend all of my yard mowing money on plastic models in that store.

I don't remember for sure when it closed. The address is 630 W LITTLE YORK RD. HCAD says that TRADING FAIR IV INC has owned it since 2005 and that the building was built in 1968. For some reason it doesn't show the ownership history before then.

BTW this website has a bunch of the address of the Kmart stores that used to be in Houston and other areas.

http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/cgi-bin/permitting/pstregis2/pstregis2.pl?ownerid=7671&query_type=OwnerID&abc=&previousrow=100&increment=25&totalrows=183

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The only KMart photos I have are of the S. Gessner KMart in 1979 (because I worked there at the time).  

 

Sorry...no Super KMart shots!  It's a shame that the KMart chain moved out of Texas.  I always liked shopping there.

 

Do you mean the K Mart at Beechnut and 59?  If so, post the photos!

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  • The title was changed to Back When There Were Kmarts In Houston

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