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IronTiger

FedMart in Houston

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Now, I know I made a College Station topic about this but understandably didn't get a lot of takers. Where were the FedMart stores in Houston, and what were they like? I heard they were a bit like Walmart Supercenters but smaller, and I'm not sure if they kept up the whole "only open to government employees" when they went national (at least to Texas), which I'm pretty sure I read elsewhere.

 

The only three I've found included:

 

Southmore and Pasadena - former Globe, torn down(?) for Mervyn's and Office Depot

Mykawa and I-45 - now Fiesta

Bellaire and Weslayan - now Whole Foods, though it looks like it might've been rebuilt, the ramp leading underground was originally part of the store

 

Any more information? I'd love to find out more and what were the general reactions to it.

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The former Globe store in Pasadena was not torn down. It was converted to a FedMart. I believe there was also another FedMart in Pasadena located at Spencer and Preston. That building still stands and is or was a gym. I used to buy groceries and gas at the FedMart on Southmore. That was in the 80's.

Edited by sootycat

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When it first opened in 1954 FedMart was just for current and former government employees for a $2 dollar membership fee. That changed after a few years though, and the required membership and fee were dropped. We lived in Pasadena in the mid 50s and my parents drove to the one on Griggs Rd at OST. FedMart was one of the first big box stores, and all modern day big box stores are its grandchildren.

 

It's interesting you should bring it up now, because FedMart is coming back. An article on Wikipedia says "Donald Kirk, founder of former Merrifield's Department Stores, which in 1990 opened its first store in Corning, CA, is reorganizing FedMart and plans a 2016 reopening of the FedMart Department Store chain; although Kirk says that FedMart will only open one or two stores in 2016. During the first week of August 2015, Kirk claimed the online name of FedMartOnline.com; and plans that by either year's end, or the first part of 2016, to put FedMart online; and by the end of 2016, open the first of the new FedMart retail stores."

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In the 1960's we lived near the FedMart in Bellaire but would occasionally drive to the much larger one at 2323 Wirt Road. I can remember it being very busy and my mother saying she wasn't ever going back there as we left.  The membership fee wasn't popular.  It seems like FedMart shut down the Bellaire store in the late 60's but then reappeared a few years later in the much nicer former Globe store building on Hillcroft at Bellaire that had sat vacant for a few years.  We loved Globe Discount City (owned by Walgreens) but were disappointed with the new version FedMart as it was nothing like Globe.  The store had large displays but only of a few items such as a giant bin of sponges 6 x 6' by 3' high.  So it was a large store with hardly any variety.  It didn't last long.  Both the Hillcroft and Wirt buildings are now Fiesta stores. Globe was our favorite store. Globe Shopping City Where You Always Save More!  I was so sad when Globe closed. Globe and Sage were all you needed.

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Fed Mart in the Bellaire Theatre center was still in operation in the early 70s.  First one I ever saw was the one on Griggs and OST

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Seems like I remember a Fed Mart off of northbound Gulf Freeway, somewhere south of Belfort/Howard exit. Would have been when I was a teenager - late 50s to early 60s.

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I vaguely remember a FedMart at Gulfgate, across the street from the mall. I don't think it was there for too many years. My dad liked it. I think it could have been in the old Globe location, later to become Mervyn's.   

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Fedmart Locations from December 1969 Houston White Pages:

 

  2323 Wirt Rd (now Fiesta)

  5600 Mykawa Rd (now Fiesta)

  4004 Bellaire Blvd (now Whole Foods)

  4616 Spencer Hwy (owned by Fed Mart until Dec 1994, became 24hr Fitness, now vacant)

 

All of these locations had a pharmacy.

The Wirt Rd location also had a Flower Shop, Barber Shop & Appliance Service Center

 

Globe Shopping City locations for the same year were:

  Gulfgate- 3030 Woodridge (Demolished?)

  Sharpstown- 6200 Bellaire Blvd (became Fedmart, now Fiesta)

  N. Shepherd- 5320 N. Shepherd (rebuilt in 2000 for City of Houston Office of Emergency Management)

  Eastex Freeway-  10420 Eastex Freeway (became Sak N Sav, Foodland, now a flea market)

  Pasadena- 1004 E. Southmore (now listed as Office Depot built 1966)

  Katy & Gessner-  975 Gessner (became Mervin's then demolished for a Memorial City hospital hotel.)

 

All stores had a pharmacy and a grocery store plus an automotive/tire store.  All locations except Gessner also had a gasoline station.

The Globe credit department was located at 8110 Kempwood.

 

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Fedmart Locations from December 1969 Houston White Pages:

 

  2323 Wirt Rd (now Fiesta)

  5600 Mykawa Rd (now Fiesta)

  4004 Bellaire Blvd (now Whole Foods)

  4616 Spencer Hwy (owned by Fed Mart until Dec 1994, became 24hr Fitness, now vacant)

 

All of these locations had a pharmacy.

The Wirt Rd location also had a Flower Shop, Barber Shop & Appliance Service Center

 

Globe Shopping City locations for the same year were:

  Gulfgate- 3030 Woodridge (Demolished?)

  Sharpstown- 6200 Bellaire Blvd (became Fedmart, now Fiesta)

  N. Shepherd- 5320 N. Shepherd (rebuilt in 2000 for City of Houston Office of Emergency Management)

  Eastex Freeway-  10420 Eastex Freeway (became Sak N Sav, Foodland, now a flea market)

  Pasadena- 1004 E. Southmore (now listed as Office Depot built 1966)

  Katy & Gessner-  975 Gessner (became Mervin's then demolished for a Memorial City hospital hotel.)

 

All stores had a pharmacy and a grocery store plus an automotive/tire store.  All locations except Gessner also had a gasoline station.

The Globe credit department was located at 8110 Kempwood.

The Gessner location was later Oshman's (possibly a "SuperSports USA" location, I'll have to check) after Mervyn's. It was demolished in 2005, and is now partially the site of that ridiculous "crown" tower.

 

I didn't know that the Wirt Road Fiesta was a FedMart. I was literally just there (inside!) a week and a half ago. Go figure.

 

How is it that the Spencer Highway location was able to stay open until 1994?! Groceteria forums say that some FedMart stores somehow remained open under that name, but the mid-1990s? And that's such a tiny store, too, smaller than a normal sized supermarket...

 

Slightly o/t, but it was Sage at I-10 and Beltway, was it not?

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I figured out that the one in Pasadena had to have been one of the franchised ones that just survived longer. Back on topic of FedMart, I noticed that the one on Wirt actually was built with a railroad spur connecting directly to the store! Whatever for? Those giant displays?

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I lived just down Griggs road from the FedMart located at the corner of what is now the South Loop and Mykawa (and Griggs and Long Drive, a pretty complicated corner when you throw in the railroad tracks) and it was the first discount store I remember in Houston. This was before the Globe at Gulfgate, if I remember correctly. One of my friends worked at the store. This would have been in the mid to late '60's.

 

I think some are confusing this intersection somehow with OST. I don't ever remember a FedMart at that corner, although it seems like there was a fairly large shopping area there, including a Weingarten's and some other stores.

 

 

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"Complicated" doesn't begin to describe the intersections of Griggs Rd, Long Drive, Mykawa and what is now the Loop 610. All three coming together at odd angles.

 

Griggs runs NE to SW and makes a near right angle turn to go west as Griggs. Long Drive runs E-W but becomes Griggs at the RR tracks. In the middle of all that, Mykawa begins and heads south. Look at it on Google Maps. It's crazy. I confess to confusing Griggs with OST in an earlier posting here. But Griggs does merge with OST a mile or two to the west. 

 

There was a huge shopping center just a few blocks west of FedMart. It was Palm Center at South Park (now MLK) and Griggs. 

 

Back in the 50s my folks drove in from Pasadena to shop at the FedMart that was on the same spot occupied by Fiesta Mart today. I could be wrong, but I think this FedMart was the first big box discount store of any kind in Houston.

Edited by FilioScotia

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Yes, Palms Center (Palm Center?) was just down the road and it was the first shopping center I remember in Houston. Of course, it was not on nearly the scale of the second one, Gulfgate, but it still qualified. Palms Center does have the distinction of still being in existence albeit in an entirely new incarnation.

 

Another oddity is the complicated intersection at the OTHER end of Griggs (up north) where five or six streets all intersect with the same railroad tracks.

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A Kip's Big Boy sat at or very near that complicated intersection in the mid sixties...around Griggs at S.Park (now MLK), near Palms Center. Another example is the Lawndale, Evergreen, Griggs Roads intersection. The same RR tracks slice through them. 

 

 

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"............. but I think this FedMart was the first big box discount store of any kind in Houston."

 

I think Gibson's Discount Centers may have predated FedMart, but not sure they were in Houston. They were in many other parts of Texas.

FedMart did pioneer the "discount membership club" concept.

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msteele6

 

 

For what it's worth, every reference I've found says the name was Palm Center. It's still Palm Center, but it's not a shopping center anymore.

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The 4004 Bellaire Blvd. location in the mid-1980s (c. 1985-1986) was a no-frills grocery warehouse store called "The Grocery Store" (yes, that was the name of it). Dunno when it closed, but it was big enough to draw people from the Third Ward and even Galveston for its bargains.

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The 4004 Bellaire Blvd. location in the mid-1980s (c. 1985-1986) was a no-frills grocery warehouse store called "The Grocery Store" (yes, that was the name of it). Dunno when it closed, but it was big enough to draw people from the Third Ward and even Galveston for its bargains.

 

I didn't know that. I went there in the nineties, when it was Seekers health food store. 

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I didn't know that. I went there in the nineties, when it was Seekers health food store.

Yeah, it was later Seekers and I think Discovery Zone, if what the newspaper said was correct.

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Discovery Zone was where the original theater was located, in the middle/corner of the two strip wings.

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I loved FedMart on Wirt. My parents were too uppity to go there so I would "sneak" trips to FedMart with friends, maybe late 60's. What fun!

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I know this is an old thread, but I was trying to locate some of the workers from the FedMart store on Mykawa Road (next to Griggs Rd) where I worked as a kid from about 1969 to the end of 1972.  I googled FedMart and saw this thread.  FedMart was the forerunner of ALL of the membership stores.  The one on Mykawa had a full service automotive shop, bakery and pharmacy, not to mention a jewelry department with a watchmaker.  They sold groceries, meat, clothing, appliances and sporting goods as well.  The manager of the store was Fred Domin who hired me.  I lied about my age and got a job there when I was 15.  Later, Mr. Domin was replaced by Henry Bostick.  The manager of the grocery department was Hector Sepulveda and the head cashier was Mark Hannah. Some of the other workers I remember were, Don Ray (produce) Hubert Harold (produce) Jerry Tucker (housewares) E.C. Bridges (cashier), Tim Green (cashier) and Billy Lassiter (cashier) and Eric Mabry (cashier). If anyone knows any of these individuals, I would love to know how they are doing.  I learned a lot from my job there.  They actually cared about customer service and taught the employees that "the customer is always right".  There is an excellent link here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FedMart on the history of the chain.

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Actually knew two of these people, Hubert Harold (Harrell?) and Billy Lassiter. I went to school with them at Milby in the '60's.

 

I had no idea they worked there and was not really well acquainted with either, although I did know Billy a little better, he lived right up the road near the intersection of Griggs road and Redwood streets on Myrtle I believe across from the Redwood Grocery store. I moved away from the area in 1989 and it was probably some years before that that I last saw Billy. I was somewhat better acquainted with Randy Guerrero but he worked there a little earlier around 1966 or 67 maybe.

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On 12/13/2015 at 10:21 PM, Mardia said:

I loved FedMart on Wirt. My parents were too uppity to go there so I would "sneak" trips to FedMart with friends, maybe late 60's. What fun!

 All you find now in the areas where these stores once lived are policemen following illegals and criminals and I just don't find anything to awaken my soul now, it's just..just too bad, isn't it.  No, it's a CRYING SHAME!!!!!!

 

Edited by FedMart_Soulcrier

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1 hour ago, FedMart_Soulcrier said:

I joined this forum for this thread and lived next to the FedMart on Wirt in the late 70s (Spring Branch was actually *still* nice then) and wanted to say I miss the epic atmosphere of that time period the most, even more now because the peace of that time period is GONE.   Mardia, I wanted to ust tell you that your mumma could have rested easy knowing that area and that Wirt road Fedmart was safe to visit in the late 70s just like it was in the 60s when she was uppity about it!  Sure there were only a light sprinkle of illegals living there then but nothing like the nightmare there now.  When it comes to the fun factor that you had visiting the FedMarts or the real pre-Walmarts and the grandfather of them as someone else said;  the architecture and edifices no longer share any of the traits, but most of all, the TIME PERIOD that these stores shared made them so close to our hearts and known as the Fed Marts, Weingartens etc. et al. i.e they are now all "fooey_estas' and I quoted Mardias post namely because his/her parents were too uppity to visit a Fedmart in the 1960s!  wow, they had uppity then and in these circumstances going back forever, I guess.  Let me get to what made Fed Mart so memorable and I have read all the posts here and ran across this board by way of googling 'Fed Mart Houston' or similar.  To me, FedMart had the soul (meaning customer is always right, inviting atmosphere, READ: FUN to go etc et al) that no other big box chain would ever come close to replicating in a million years and it's not because the stores aren't as great but they are all in the wrong time period, point blank, they can never ignite the same feeling you got and this not only goes for FedMart but you can even take other places like for example, anyone remember the Dairy Queen across from the Fedmart on Wirt location?  You see what I mean, that time period is locked and sealed away in our memory banks forever and its not solely because FeMArt went out of business but the time period is lost.  I know, I know, times change but isn't this the essence of our feel good story regarding these relics or in our minds, these institutions whose pillars remain so strong and upright even to this day despite the radical change in times.  Technology giveth and it also takes away and you can say Walmart and Target are great but we all know what the true definition of greatness is and sadly, it's nothing that exists today and I am sure almost, if not everyone on here would agree and say the same and that's what makes cherishing and reviving these memories so great and that is because they will never return in the same form and format they once lived in and occupied space in.  It's these memories that are now the institutions and not the newly erected edifices that cover up or block what once was great!

fedmart.jpg

I wanted to use this pic to depict Fedmart cause although I was just a "kid" in the late 70s, I learned from this board that it was around in the 60s and to my amazement, the 50s WHEN THIS SIGN WAS MADE and I just cried at the newly found nostalgia, reading all the posts here because it just flooded my memory banks with soul, man, soul! (I guess 'I'm a soul man')  I just don't find anything to awaken my soul now, it's just..just too bad, isn't it.  No, it's a CRYING SHAME!!!!!!

 

Please let’s refrain from using perjortives like “illegals” on this site and stick with undocumented immigrants. Regardless of how much of a “nightmare” they are to you, they are still human beings. Speaking of nostalgia, the act of empathy is another great thing we have lost. Thanks!

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3 minutes ago, intencity77 said:

 

Please let’s refrain from using perjortives like “illegals” on this site and stick with undocumented immigrants. Regardless of how much of a “nightmare” they are to you, they are still human beings. Speaking of nostalgia, the act of empathy is another great thing we have lost. Thanks!

Is an “undocumented immigrant” in the United States legally?  

 

 

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10 hours ago, UtterlyUrban said:

Is an “undocumented immigrant” in the United States legally?  

 

 

Empathy for illegal, how about using your brain as that is a skill that was and is lost now!!!  I never thought a criminal would be a moderator of this chity site but times too change!  Forget illegal, how does wetback sound or I guess that is allowed but illegal isn't.  Phooey-esta lover!  You can delete my account and everything I posted, I thought I was dealing with a professional site, not a law enforcement nightmare that is notorious for constantly being followed by a policeman.  

 

edit:  this LBGT supporter, intencity77, still hasn't deleted my posts and my account like I asked.  I guess he is a loser with no standards and enjoys anarchy as his only pasttime.  idiots like this is not what we need moderating a so called "original" site anything.  

Edited by FedMart_Soulcrier

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7 hours ago, UtterlyUrban said:

Is an “undocumented immigrant” in the United States legally?  

 

 

My parents, uncles, aunts, several cousins, and my children are all immigrants and we are all documented hence legal, if we did not have the documents we would be illegal. In almost all countries in the world if you enter without going through an approved process you are in the country illegally. 

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2 hours ago, Twinsanity02 said:

My parents, uncles, aunts, several cousins, and my children are all immigrants and we are all documented hence legal, if we did not have the documents we would be illegal. In almost all countries in the world if you enter without going through an approved process you are in the country illegally. 

Correct.

 

hence, all “undocumented immigrants” are “illegal immigrants”.  The former is an obviscation of the latter.

 

unless someone can tell me otherwise, it is IMPOSSIBLE to be legally in the United States without “documentation”.   Can anyone show me that I am wrong?  

 

 

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