Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Moderator: Groceteria

Ephrata1966
Senior Member
Posts: 550
Joined: 29 Nov 2008 13:45

Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by Ephrata1966 » 05 Feb 2010 23:47

I have noticed a trend: the major supermarkets that replaced AppleTree (which of course was Safeway) did not last themselves. Many of them are currently abandoned. Why is this? Most of them seem to have been built in the 80's as Safeway. None of them were that small either. I realize that Houston has lots of retail sprawl, and blight as a result. Kroger, Randall's, and others all have some very run down stores. Why were the ex-Safeways any different?

examples:
21155 Tomball Parkway (249): I would guess this one was built in the early 80's. After AppleTree, it became Randall's. That store closed before Safeway bought Randall's, so it never went full circle. On top of that, it was probably one of Randall's newest stores when it closed. Around 1998-1999, it had become H-E-B, which closed in the early 2000s. Vacant ever since. There was another store just like this that I found online. I forget the location and what it last was, but it also appears to be empty now.

249 and Champions Forest: This one was a Weingarten's. I think it closed before most AppleTree stores, and may have been nothing since then. Perhaps it even closed as Safeway, and has been vacant 20 years now? It has been abandoned since at least the late 90's.

290 and Little York: This store was most recently a Kroger.

FM 1960, Humble: I just noticed this store in Google Maps. Looks just like the last one, and the one at Huffmeister and Cypress North Houston Road (now Food Town).

other end of FM 1960, Humble: This store is now abandoned as a "Food City" (not Food Town) store. Looks kind of like a Kroger greenhouse, but I suspect it was a Safeway.

Conroe: I-45 and Davis St: Now a Palais Royal, this one was a Kroger.

Veterans Memorial and Gears Rd (unconfirmed): I am not sure this small store was a Safeway, but I suspect it. Last it was a Kroger, which closed around 2005. Could have been a 70's Safeway or possibly Kroger. There was an Eckerd (former Thrift Drug) in this center too.

Well, I counted eight.

rbtexas
Novice Member
Posts: 8
Joined: 07 Feb 2010 00:22

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by rbtexas » 10 Feb 2010 18:33

AppleTree Markets:

I worked for AppleTree Markets from 7/1991 until the end, worked through bankruptcy, through the reorganization, through when we were owned by LTCB (Long Term Credit Bank), and they told us we were safe, until the end with the selloff, shutdown, and then renaming of many of our stores to our competetiors, late in 1994.

I can give you some background on some stores, Safeway, AppleTree, even Weingartens.

I worked at Store #1117 for AppleTree @2409 Bay Area Blvd @ Space Center Blvd. We survived all the rounds of closings, until the end when we were purchased by Kroger, and actually a Kroger store, until a few years ago, and we had our "sister store", a much larger Greenhouse style Kroger literally about 5 blocks behind us at El Dorado @ Space Center Blvd. Our store started as a Weingarten's in the 1980's, and then when Safeway bought Weingarten's they closed their location in the Clear Lake Area, located at El Camino @Reseda. That has since been bulldozed down. Safeway then "moved" to the location at Space Center @Bay Area, and eventually closed the store at some point. Then, when Safeway pulled out, they were still paying on the lease of the property, so the store was totally redone, and opened up as AppleTree, with a fresh new look!! What's funny is Safeway paid the bills, let the store sit empty for a while, and then, the new owners reopened it. It was a great store. Kroger closed it about two years ago, and it still sits empty today.

rbtexas
Novice Member
Posts: 8
Joined: 07 Feb 2010 00:22

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by rbtexas » 10 Feb 2010 18:42

AppleTree store #932 located off of Nasa Road #1, began originally as a Safeway. It survived as a Safeway, and still had the original 70's decor until about 1992, when AppleTree remodeled the store and added a Deli counter. After the shutdown, this store was purchased by Big Chief Foods, an independent grocer, and then sold by them soon after to another local grocer, and they named it Arlan's Market. Arlan's Market remains there today, as an operating store. All the AppleTree decor is gone, but the store is still there, in all its glory, and operating. It was one of AppleTree's most money making stores, due to not much competition around it.

AppleTree store #1000, located in Friendswood off of Bay Area Blvd@FM 528, was closed in a round of store closings prior to the bankruptcy. This store was opened new as a Safeway in the mid 80's, probably around 1986. AppleTree closed the store because the landlord would not renegotiate their lease terms, charging AppleTree a high lease amount. This store was reopened not 6 months later as a Kroger with all AppleTree decor, and remained a Kroger for many years, with a Randall's right across the street (Randalls #49). This Kroger closed just after Albertson's exited the Houston market, Kroger bought the Albertson's store on the other corner, and moved to that location, and closed the old AppleTree. It is now operating as a split store, Texas School of Business, in one half, and Dollar Tree in the other. Intrestingly, there is an awning, outside DollarTree that is Green and Red, and that has been there since that space belonged to AppleTree. More intresting, Randalls closed the store located there, back in 2005, it is now a Spec's liquor store.

rbtexas
Novice Member
Posts: 8
Joined: 07 Feb 2010 00:22

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by rbtexas » 10 Feb 2010 19:00

AppleTree #1001 located at 10902 Scarsdale@Beamer, was closed when AppleTree was liquidated, and was purchased by Gerland's. This store was opened around the same time as AppleTree #1000 (see previous post), and is the same general layout, practically a carbon copy. This store was purchased by Gerlands Food Fair and operated as a Gerlands, and is still an operating store, Gerlands just changed the name to one of its divisioins stores, Foodtown, but it is still operating today.

AppleTree #959 was located at 4100 Fairmont Parkway@Preston Road in Pasadena, Texas. This store was a "training store" for AppleTree Markets. This store began its life as a Safeway. The setup and look of the property is identical to a former Safeway/AppleTree on Telephone Road at Belfort. (That location is now a Fiesta). Store 959 was operated until the end, and was purchased by an independent grocer, and operated as Super Wherehouse Foods, then Super Plus foods for many years. This AppleTree was never remodeled, and featured the Safeway neon interior with all the pictures on the wall, and neon lights. Super Wherehouse, kept this look. Eventually, the store was closed, gutted, and now operates as a 99-cent Only store.

AppleTree located on Edgebrook@I-45 South, began its life as a Weingartens. Across the street where and Office Depot is now located, was Safeway. When Safeway purchased Weingarten's, they moved across the street into the location. The location then operated as AppleTree Markets, fully, until it was closed in the round of closings that closed store #1000 (see previous post). Intersting Fact about this store: It now operates as a Fiesta mart. AppleTree, nor Safeway, nor even Fiesta, ever changed the Weingarten's interior. It is still there today. (From Grand Union). You can see the interior in commercials for Grand Union from the 80's on YouTube.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNcgM0NVO5Y
Last edited by rbtexas on 10 Feb 2010 22:47, edited 1 time in total.

rbtexas
Novice Member
Posts: 8
Joined: 07 Feb 2010 00:22

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by rbtexas » 10 Feb 2010 19:24

AppleTree had a store located on 3803 Dunlavy, that is now a Fiesta mart, and the interior, is the exact same as the former AppleTree mentioned on a previous post, located on Edgebrook and I-45 South. This store obviously began its life as a Weingarten's, then Safeway, and AppleTree. Fiesta purchased the store, and it still has the same Grand Union interior as in the following commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNcgM0NVO5Y. It even still has the old AppleTree green Aisle Markers.
It is still in operation today, but has been around since Weingarten's (Grand Union).

AppleTree also had a store that began its life as a Safeway for sure, in Bellaire. This store is located at 5130 Bellaire Blvd @Rice. This is a small store. It is still in operation today as a Randall's. It is very small. Randalls purchased this store from AppleTree when the chain sold stores in late 1993. So, one Safeway, for sure in Houston has come full circle, this location.

AppleTree also had a location mentioned before at Telephone Road@Belfort near Houston Hobby Airport. This store continued in operation until the shutdown in 1993, and reopened as a Fiesta Mart. It operates today at 7510 Belfort @Telephone Road. This store began as a Safeway, you can see from the outside design, it still looks like a Safeway. It is still operating today.

AppleTree also had a location located in Pearland at 2028 North Main@Orange. This store dates back to the design similar to the store on Telephone Road. This store began as a Safeway, then AppleTree. This store was sold to Randall's during the final sell off in late 1993, and operated as a Randalls for many years after. Randalls then built a brand new store in Peraland and closed this location. It is in operation today as a Big Lots! store.

rbtexas
Novice Member
Posts: 8
Joined: 07 Feb 2010 00:22

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by rbtexas » 10 Feb 2010 20:36

AppleTree #1143 (located at 9701 Spencer Highway@Underwood) is another area location. This store began its life as Weingarten's, then became Safeway and then AppleTree. This location was around until the end, when it was purchased by Gerland's Corporation and opened as Gerlands in early 1994. This store, when it was AppleTree, I know still had the "Grand Union" decor as mentioned in earlier posts. I am not sure if it still does. The design of the store is similar to the Fiesta (former Weingarten's) mentioned earlier on Dunlavy.

From what I remember, all the Austin stores began as Safeway, and were sold to Randalls. Many of those are in operation today. They opened as Randalls on 1/1/94. Only about three Randalls in Austin were never an AppleTree/Safeway. So, I would think a lot of those Austin-area stores, have come full circle. Safeway-AppleTree-Randalls-(Safeway).

AppleTree did what Homeland Stores in Oklahoma did (Safeway left the Oklahoma Division in about 1987, and the owners bought the stores, renamed them Homeland). AppleTree and Homeland used the Safeway store numbers for their stores, rather than re-number them.

Just trying to give anyone who is interested a little bit of background on these stores, etc.
Attachments
A sign that used to fly all over Houston, now just a memory.
A sign that used to fly all over Houston, now just a memory.
AppleTree Markets, one of the last two locations in Bryan, Texas.
AppleTree Markets, one of the last two locations in Bryan, Texas.

danielh_512
Senior Member
Posts: 132
Joined: 28 Dec 2005 01:33
Location: Cleveland
Contact:

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by danielh_512 » 11 Feb 2010 03:15

The font on those green overhangs near the doors screams Safeway to me.

Ephrata1966
Senior Member
Posts: 550
Joined: 29 Nov 2008 13:45

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by Ephrata1966 » 12 Feb 2010 18:40

You are a wealth of information, rbtexas! Thank you!

I have a question about that one across from the Randall's/Spec's and Albertsons/Kroger: notice the CVS next door. This CVS was clearly a former Eckerd. Do you recall it also being a Thrift Drug before that?

And I heard about that one that was an Office Depot. Apparently, the Office Depot has since closed. But I never knew the Fiesta was a Weingarten's! The other half of the Pearland store (opposite Big Lots) is Office Depot too now.

Do you know any AppleTrees that were closed/sold before 1993? Or other Safeways that closed before 1988?

rbtexas
Novice Member
Posts: 8
Joined: 07 Feb 2010 00:22

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by rbtexas » 13 Feb 2010 04:41

AppleTree stores closed or sold before 1993? Hmmm..... Well, the chain was liquidated by year end 1993.....

I would have to think about that one... I can tell you the former Safeway in League City is located on I-45 South@Main street in League City....It was Safeway, then closed, then Academy, and Academy moved.... and the whole center was redone, but that "anchor" spot still sits empty...this was closed also, long ago, pre AppleTree.

Original Safeway in Galveston, TX on 61st Street@Stewart Road, closed long ago, became HEB Pantry, and after Hurricane Ike was closed, and reopened now as a Learning Center, kind of like a private school....closed long before AppleTree was even thought about being formed...

Sabo Road @Beltway 8, (SE side of Houston) right under the Beltway practically, sits a building labeled "Sagemont Youth", it is a youth center for Sagemont Church, that was Safeway as well, and closed long ago, another store closed before AppleTree was even thought of....

Almost every single, well at least three Rice Epicurean Markets were AppleTree/Safeway before they became Rice Epicurean... that's for sure......
3745 Westheimer @ Weslayan, was AppleTree and Safeway before
2020 Fountainview @San Felipe was AppleTree and Safeway before that.....
2617 West Holcombe @Kirby as well was AppleTree and Safeway before...same
style building as Westheimer@Weslayan.....

Kroger @1990 Old Spanish Trail (near Reliant Stadium), was also AppleTree, and before, built as a Safeway store, and is still in operation now as Kroger, since Jan 1, 1994 when Kroger took over.

The last surviving AppleTree store in Houston, Store #1105, which also was Safeway before, and Weingarten's before that, was closed a few years after the other stores were closed. It was located at 8620 Stella Link, very near Loop 610. It was kept, and not sold. Eventually it was closed in summer, 1997. It now operates as a Seller's Brothers grocery store.

Safeway had a distinct building style of stores in Houston, and in Austin, you can pick them out anywhere.....


Look at that commercial, I posted earlier from Grand Union (Weingarten's), and go into one of those Fiesta stores I previously mentioned.... it's uncanny, the same wall decor still sits there today. I need to get in there and take some pictures!
Attachments
Even a former Safeway sign, changed through the years, still exsists now.... Fiesta in Bellaire.....
Even a former Safeway sign, changed through the years, still exsists now.... Fiesta in Bellaire.....
Exterior shot of Fiesta in Bellaire.... It's obvious this used to be Safeway.... never Weingarten's just Safeway, then AppleTree
Exterior shot of Fiesta in Bellaire.... It's obvious this used to be Safeway.... never Weingarten's just Safeway, then AppleTree
Interior of a Fiesta Market in Bellaire. Can we say what this used to be??? Not too many changes.....
Interior of a Fiesta Market in Bellaire. Can we say what this used to be??? Not too many changes.....

Ephrata1966
Senior Member
Posts: 550
Joined: 29 Nov 2008 13:45

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by Ephrata1966 » 13 Feb 2010 14:45

I just find it amazing that there would be two different former Safeways on the same corner, even if they moved.

But do you have any memory of Thrift Drug drugstores? Here in PA, lots of Eckerds used to be. It appears Safeway and Eckerd were often co-located.

danielh_512
Senior Member
Posts: 132
Joined: 28 Dec 2005 01:33
Location: Cleveland
Contact:

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by danielh_512 » 14 Feb 2010 04:19

Safeway never had a drug store partner to my knowledge the way a lot of chains did through the years. And outside of Texas, Eckerd and Safeway wouldn't have had any overlapping territory. Neither would Thrift Drug back in the day.

The only "partnership" you could consider with them would be the divested Super S stores.

wnetmacman
Senior Member
Posts: 332
Joined: 06 Nov 2005 23:48

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by wnetmacman » 15 Feb 2010 00:18

Eckerd co-located with whatever grocery partner would take them. Safeway, Winn-Dixie, etc. In those days, the grocery partner rarely had a pharmacy of their own, so the two would complement each other. As the grocery stores remodeled, they would often add pharmacies, which would remove the 'synergy', but both still had a viable business.
Scott Greer

Ephrata1966
Senior Member
Posts: 550
Joined: 29 Nov 2008 13:45

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by Ephrata1966 » 15 Feb 2010 22:04

wnetmacman wrote:Eckerd co-located with whatever grocery partner would take them. Safeway, Winn-Dixie, etc. In those days, the grocery partner rarely had a pharmacy of their own, so the two would complement each other. As the grocery stores remodeled, they would often add pharmacies, which would remove the 'synergy', but both still had a viable business.
Not exactly. Often times, the drugstores have a "no-competition clause" in their lease. An odd case is in Newtown Square, PA. There is an Acme next to a Rite Aid (former Thrift Drug/Eckerd). This is a more modern Acme, but has no pharmacy, and hence is not an Acme "Sav-on" now. It does have a state liquor store attached, perhaps to compensate. The Rite Aid is considered "high-volume" though. Ironically, it was a former Food Fair, so competing supermarkets were allowed. There also is a freestanding state liquor store that coexists with the "one-stop shop" inside Acme.

In the early 60's, Acme owned "Rea & Derick" drugstores. That was itself a franchise of the Rexall chain. Rea & Derick was later sold to Peoples Drug, which was absorbed by CVS in the late 80's.

danielh_512
Senior Member
Posts: 132
Joined: 28 Dec 2005 01:33
Location: Cleveland
Contact:

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by danielh_512 » 16 Feb 2010 05:19

Non-competition clauses were quite common back in the day. They were usually negotiated with supermarkets to not operate pharmacies, as well as for discounters to not operate food centers.

In Western MD, the Acme at Braddock Square/Searstown held food rights and the Thrift next door held pharmacy rights. After Acme closed, the food rights went to Giant-Carlisle who put a pharmacy in after the Thrift closed at the Eckerd conversion.

You can see the evidence of these in a lot of older centers, and they're why a lot of older centers get abandoned by supermarkets.

I don't know if this applied in Texas, but Kroger (when they didn't have SuperX) tended to side with Revco (this making sense later on when Revco bought SuperX). Kroger especially in its former Western PA and Northeast OH stores where they opted to not open SuperX had this arrangement.

Does anyone have pictures of TX Safeways to see what or who might have had such agreements? Sometimes these went from the chains connecting (Publix and Eckerd in FL, Schnucks and Walgreens in MO), from the same ownership (Jewel/Osco, Safeway/Super S, Kroger/SuperX, Stop N Shop, MediMart) or were one-off agreements for drug stores to get a store in a certain area with a good location. We might be able to figure it out from what the drug stores might be now.

wnetmacman
Senior Member
Posts: 332
Joined: 06 Nov 2005 23:48

Re: Safeway/AppleTree ghost stores

Post by wnetmacman » 16 Feb 2010 11:14

danielh_512 wrote:Does anyone have pictures of TX Safeways to see what or who might have had such agreements? Sometimes these went from the chains connecting (Publix and Eckerd in FL, Schnucks and Walgreens in MO), from the same ownership (Jewel/Osco, Safeway/Super S, Kroger/SuperX, Stop N Shop, MediMart) or were one-off agreements for drug stores to get a store in a certain area with a good location. We might be able to figure it out from what the drug stores might be now.
Safeway in TX was really usually a stand-alone operation. The majority of old marina stores were by themselves on small parcels of land. Only later (the late 70's) did they really begin to appear in shopping centers, and by that time, the stores had pharmacies. Some shopping centers had Eckerd Drugs stores in the Dallas division, but most of those had full-line Safeway stores, including a pharmacy. A few locations had the Super S Store designation, but in most cases, that just meant a broader hardline selection more than anything else. Those stores were definitely standalone, and larger. Two stores of this magnitude come to mind in Longview and Tyler. The Longview store was at the top of the hill, and was originally separated by a wall from its pharmacy side, which before the Super S remodel, was a Skaggs. When Skaggs opened a Skaggs-Albertsons (later Skaggs Superstore, and even later Skaggs Alpha Beta before becomeing Jewel-Osco and Albertsons), the store was remodeled and expanded as a full Safeway. Tyler had a similar store on S. Broadway that was in a huge shopping center with an Eckerd Drugs. The Safeway had a pharmacy, which would negate any non-competition clause.
Scott Greer

Post Reply