Yes, the Voss Rd. Randall’s Is Closing

Update, 3:30 p.m.: Randall’s president Paul McTavish confirms that this store will be closing. No date was mentioned.

A few readers are reporting that they’ve heard from Randall’s employees here that the store near San Felipe and Voss will shut its doors by the end of the month. One reader even has a date: May 23. County records show that the 56,511-sq.-ft. building sits on 157,149 sq. ft. of pricey Memorial property across Voss from the new Trader Joe’s — the parking lot of which appeared a bit less barren than the Randall’s lot in this photo taken this morning. Attempts to contact Safeway haven’t been returned.

Photo: Allyn West

28 Comment

  • I have always liked this building. I am afraid that if it does close, it will be torn down and some generic garbage apartment BS will go in its place. I am really hoping to see some architectural investment in the city. Losing an eclectic, cool building like this would be a loss – in my opinion.

  • I remember when it was one of the first “Flagship” Randalls (when that meant something). PACKED parking lot then.

  • You can fire a cannon in this place on a Saturday with no notice. Empty. I remember when this was the premier grocery store. I looked like the Stepford Wives in there, women in fur coats, bizarre place.

  • Local chains have probably run their course in Houston. *coughRICEcough* I can unfortunately see where this Randall’s days are numbered, between the busy Kroger Signature down Voss eating its lunch, the new Trader Joe’s getting the organics crowd and the HEB relocating just a stone’s throw away on San Felipe later.

    I think Safeway’s done an admirable job lately in trying to stay competitive with HEB by redoing stores and trying to be a little more competitive with sales. The only real strong suit of Randall’s now is it’s deli fried chicken and the awesome $5 muffin deal.

    Management should just throw in the Randall’s towel and rename to Safeway. I think that at this point, the name is more of a burden considering how most Houstonians probably think of high prices and no beer when they hear the name.

  • When I first got to Houston in early 2000, a guy in front of me at the ATM at this Randalls left his receipt in the machine. He had an account balance of @250k in his checking account.

  • Shopped there a few Sundays ago when I was in the area, and was shocked at how few people were there. I, too, remember when “Randalls” and “Flagship” actually meant something.

  • John, when has Safeway tried to compete with HEB? Every time I wander into a Randall’s it feels more like they’re competing with Wal-mart instead of HEB.

  • Here’s hoping the Whole Foods around the corner will relocate.

  • Wonder if George HW Bush still gives everyone a cheap thrill when he pops in for his fried pig skins?

  • A store Asst. Manager told me that the landlord would not do a remdel for Randalls and that Randalls had been attempting to have one done since 2008.

    I also heard that “another” grocery store was in line for the space.

    Whole Foods would make sense given their tiny store around the corner. However, obviously, they require a new-build out too though.

    Who knows what the story is…

  • Safeway truly does not know how to operate in the Houston market. Safeway branded stores vanished sometime in the mid 1980’s(?), then their Appletree stores disappeared in the early 1990’s. Now Randall’s. It’s just a matter of time.

  • Whole Foods is opening a new store in the Galleria on San Felipe & Post Oak, so I doubt they would take over the Randall’s location on Voss.

    With the impending construction of the new HEB store at San Felipe & Fountainview, the only other suitor would be Sprouts, or Fiesta.

  • I shop at this store frequently. I knew when I saw signs that the pharmacy would be closing at the end of the month last week that the end was near.

    There’s another Randall’s just a few blocks down San Felipe that is much nicer; although I like my quiet Voss store better.

  • Very sad to see this location close. I used to shop here when I lived at the Creole on Yorktown when I first got out of UT. I saved a woman from a carjacking here, she thought he was a valet and I was like, uh no, he’s a thief!, he was aprehended at Second Baptist no doubt trying to find sanctuary..

  • The Randall’s in Town & Country Village (at BW 8 and Memorial) is probably the best store in the entire chain. It’s always busy, and has a large floral department near the front door. Check-out is always fast and easy. If all Randall’s were like this one, they might be able to successfully compete with HEB and Kroger.

  • I never thought I’d see the day when someone on this forum would complain about the pssibility of a grocery store with suburban-style empty parking lot being replaced with residential infill.

  • I’m just gonna throw this out there as a possibility …
    Prime real estate, agenda to increase presence in Houston non-suburban markets. Makes perfect sense.

  • Donovan, I’ve only admittedly been to the Town & Country location the most, so maybe my perception of how other Randall’s are is skewed (as Bill points out above how the T&C location is.) I have been to the newly remodeled one on Westheimer too, which I thought was pretty nice.

    Looper, the WalMart on Dunvale is just around the block- that might be too close for them to consider another location.

  • Safeway has no idea how to compete in the Houston grocer marketplace. The once top of the heap Randalls locally operated chain has over the years been bastardized by Safeway. I’ll be surprised if Safeway doesn’t exit the Houston marketplace entirely within the next five years.

  • Wal-Mart adjacent to Tanglewood and the Memorial in a prime part of town – will never happen… and never should.

  • It sounds crazy nowdays but I remember back in the 80’s when this store opened up and they had valet parking under their porte cochere with valets wearing tuxedoes. We were very impressed by the little restaurant inside, too. It was so ritzy! Sad to see the prosperity all gone now.

  • It was a Handy Andy grocery in the ’70s before it was Randalls. Has a full basement which I mopped a couple of times.

  • So sad to see her go. This store definitely opened prior to 1980. I moved to Houston in 1979 and lived literally next door to this Randalls. It was nice to be able to walk to the grocery store. But they didn’t sell beer or wine at that time.

  • Does anyone know the name of the blonde lady pharmacist that worked here? My wife and I feel a total loss now. We didn’t know the place was closing, and now we’ve lost our favorite pharmacist. Where the heck did she go??? Major bummer

  • Safeway did the same thing to Dominick’s in Chicago as they did to Randall’s here and now that chain is shutting down. Safeway has to realize that people here will not pay convenience store pricing for house brand goods. The original Randall Onstead sold Dominick’s to Safeway and they made him head of Domick’s as a thank you for selling Randall’s to them. BTW did any f you know that Randall Onstead passed away in 2004?

  • Randall Onstead (the former president of Randalls) is very much alive, he most recently led Winn-Dixie’s parent company for a few years.

  • @Spirit — Randall Jr. is alive. Randall Sr, the founder of Randall’s Markets, did indeed pass away in 2004.

  • Reading this years after the story came out. I worked at the Voss-Woodway Randall’s Flagship during college, 1987-88. Kroger’s paid starting checkers $3.80, and Randall’s paid $4.00. Those were the days when my rent was $169/month! I transfered from the Kroger’s that used to be at Westheimer and Gessner (it’s a Big Lots now, or something). When you were hired at the Flagship, they gave you a produce test that you had to pass before they’d pay you to work. I remember my mom quizzing me over lunch before my test–I had to memorize around 50 codes. I still remember: Bananas-ripe-yellow, 1088. The uniforms for Flagship checkers were nice and different from regular Randall’s: white shirt, black pants, black shoes, black clip-on bow tie, black pin-strip apron. If you came to work without any other those, they’d send you home. Compared to Kroger’s, the Flagship uniforms were spiffy. You just knew you were in a different class of store (not trying to sound snobby, but a different class of people, too).

    We had to treat Flagship customers with the utmost respect; two complaints for anything in a year would get a person fired. A third complaint no matter how many years you’d worked would get you fired. We had a few local celebrities (Mattress Mac, some of the Sakowitz family, Lynn Wyatt came through my line once, women who’d come in wearing fur coats, people driving Lincoln Town Cars pulling up to the valet under the porte cochere. One of the best differences between Kroger’s and Randalls’ back then–from a checker’s point of view–was that Randall’s didn’t sell alcohol. That eliminated the half-drunks and kids with fake I.D.s I’d see at Kroger’s. It was also rare to see Food Stamps or W.I.C. cards (back then, they were called “milk cards”) at the Randall’s Flagship, but there were a few.

    I’m sorry to hear about Randall’s demise. After I graduated, I left Houston for California. I’ve never seen anything approaching the experience that were Randall’s Flagships.