09/27/17 1:00pm

If you’ve ever wished you could watch a wrecking ball go wild inside a convenience store, here’s your chance. A crowd gathered outside the former 4949 C-store at the corner of Bissonnet and Shepherd over the weekend to watch artist Trey Duvall’s kinetic demolition installation in action. The installation features wrecking balls connected to computer-controlled motors mounted on the ceiling wreaking havoc on what remains of the interior. Or, as Duvall puts it, “Two high-torque mechanized double pendulums . . . impact shelving systems, soda machines, retail racks, drink coolers, and walls to create an evolving and unpredictable landscape of detritus.

If you can’t stop by for your own personal evening viewing of any portion of the 15-day-long endeavor (it’ll be in action through October 6), there’ll be live-streamed video of the action available online. You can watch nightly from 6 to 9 pm from a link on the project website.

This video by Duvall shows some of the first blows:


Watch the Wrecking Ball
12/06/16 12:00pm

9230 Buffalo Spdwy., Houston, 77025

The ribbed tank hiding behind the track excavator in the north-facing shot above will soon be going completely underground, per current plans at the corner of Durhill St. and Buffalo Spdwy. First Stop Food Store, the current occupant of the retail shell on the property, sits right across Buffalo Spdwy. from one of the 2 planned senior living facilities in the vicinity — that property is just out of the frame to the right, while one of the houses in the Pemberton Circle gated townhome cluster can be seen peeking over the fence on the left.

The 1950s convenience store building and property itself changed hands early last year. Here’s a shot from July, a few happy months before the parking lot breakup seen above:


Tanking Up
09/02/16 4:45pm

4949 at 2132 Bissonnet St., Boulevard Oaks, Houston, 77005

Former Sunrise Grocery at 2132 Bissonnet St., Boulevard Oaks, Houston, 77005The land at the northeast corner of Shepherd Dr. and Bissonnet St. (not far down the street from closing-this-weekend Kay’s Lounge) has been sold to an entity using the La Porte corporate address of traditionally freeway-hugging Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen. The mid-1980s convenience store (formerly a Sunrise Grocery) and its 0.35 acre property were put on the market at the start of the summer; the sale closed a little over 2 weeks ago. Word through the NextDoor grapevine is that the building won’t be a Gringo’s, but might be replaced with a 3-story retail-office-space combo once the convenience store’s lease runs out around Halloween.


2132 Bissonnet
01/18/16 11:30am

H-E-B EXPLORING TINY STORES AS WALMART THROWS IN THE TOWEL Meanwhile, in San Antonio: As big-box giant Walmart nixes all of its Express mini-stores amid a larger batch of closures, H-E-B is making way for a full-service convenience store with an attached Wendy’s near the northwest corner of Loop 1604. H-E-B officials have been slow to confirm details of the new store, which is reportedly on the order of 7,500 sq. ft. and estimated to cost roughly $2.7 million. The Texas grocery chain frequently operates a small kiosk at its gas-proffering full-sized store locations, but only a handful of the full-service convenience stores currently exist; the one in Lytle, TX, contains a Whataburger. [Virtual Builders Exchange, via PaperCity]

12/15/14 10:30am


Tank up and get your real fruit smoothies and other convenience store Kicks while you still can at this ConocoPhillips service station and market at the corner of N. Eldridge Pkwy. and Dairy Ashford Rd., just north of the Omni Hotel Westside and just west of the petrochemical giant’s 62-acre Energy Corridor corporate campus.


66 Kicked
12/05/14 2:10pm

1-stop-baylandThe Last American City, by Douglas Milburn

In the tragically out-of-print The Last American City: An Intrepid Walker’s Guide to Houston, magazine writer and editor and Rice German professor Douglas Milburn took a break from his bipedal tours of Montrose, the Galleria, downtown and the Med Center to share his hard-won, footsore knowledge of Houston’s finest convenience stores, circa 1979.

It was a propitious moment for the convenience store concept; gas stations had yet to erode their share of the quick and easy food and drinks market, so Milburn had plenty to choose from, not least, from among dozens of U-Tote’Ms.

Guided by Leroy Melcher, U-Tote’M was arguably Houston’s most beloved homegrown convenience store chain, albeit one bearing a name and totem pole imagery that would be considered wildly offensive by today’s standards.

A Tulsa U-Tote-M made a cameo in The Outsiders:


Wallowing In Nostalgia
06/17/13 3:00pm

Here come more billboard double entendres: The Baytown Sun reports that Buc-ee’s is building a big ’un on the I-10 feeder and John Martin Rd. later this year. And, apparently, the proposed 60,000-sq.-ft. convenience store, gas station, and jerky trafficker will get top billing: Part of the deal — a Chapter 380 Agreement — involves a waived height restriction for the store’s beaver beacon, so Buc-ee’s can raise one 100 ft. into the air. In return, Baytown will get a bit of room to put its own name up there too. (This will be the first time, the Sun reports, that Buc-ee’s will share its sign.) The store’s planned for about 18 acres on the southwest corner of John Martin Rd. and I-10 near the San Jacinto Mall. The Sun reports that it’s expected to open in 2014.

Photo of Lake Jackson Buc-ee’s: Judy Baxter [license]

07/19/11 1:58pm

Montrose all-star convenience store Pak’s has been hit by the same pair of robbers 5 times in the last 8 months. And now it’s been remodeled, with an eye on security. The cashier area is now surrounded by glass, and a new wall adjacent to it now extends from the front to the back, closing off one side of the store, Swamplot photographer Candace Garcia reports. Behind that wall is a mysterious black box, measuring maybe 500 sq. ft. that’s visible to the street. What’s going in there? An owner confirms to Garcia it’s a new lease space, though no tenant has been identified yet.


10/07/09 4:57pm

A reader reports that the long-shuttered and fallow former Target store on the northbound 59 feeder just north of Bellaire Blvd. (and across the freeway from the Sharpstown Mall) will finally be used for something productive — though it’s “probably not the kind of use the Greater Sharpstown Management District had in mind.” What’s that?

The new owner, Golden Sharpstown Inc, is reportedly in the process of turning the 160,000 square foot building into the new home of Texas Jasmine, “the leading wholesaler for C-Store Owners.” (That’s Convenience Store, for the uninitiated.) Texas Jasmine is out of space at their old location [at 7800 Harwin near Fondren, pictured above], and does a thriving business supplying gas stations and convenience stores throughout Houston with everything from dill pickles-in-a-bag to pipe tobacco.

Well, who doesn’t need a dill pickle in a bag now and then? How convenient for the convenience-store owners, no?

Sure, says our tipster, but: