Showing posts with label hardware stores. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hardware stores. Show all posts

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Furrow Building Materials

Finally, a picture of it in operation, from Project HOLD. Taken circa 2001.

1501 Earl Rudder Freeway (Hwy 6 S)

Opening in June 1984 (the ad below is from 1985) as perhaps one of the earliest commercial buildings east of the freeway, Furrow (everyone called it "Furrow's", though) was the main go-to hardware store in the 1990s for me. It was the type of store that could be called "your father's hardware store", it was for my dad, and I have fond memories of it, too. The company went out of business in 2001, and was in the last stores to close. I remember one of my last visits was on September 11, 2001. It had tile on the floor and drop ceilings, and was by all definitions a classic hardware store: bulk displays of the basics (like nails) that you could fill your bag and weigh, plumbing equipment, an outdoor lumber yard, and more.

To me, this was the distilled version of the "hardware store". It had plumbing, insulation, and other things for DYI work, but didn't have large bathroom displays, no lawnmowers on display, no various household appliances (no smoke detectors if I recall correctly, but may have stocked lightbulbs), no garden center, no flooring. The employees didn't try to upsell overpriced d├ęcor for your house, and it was convenient.

There were also lots of candy in bags near the front, about a pound of the stuff each, like, say peanut candy. I remember I got something near the end of the store's days and it was really stale, indicating that they hadn't moved merchandise in that section very often.

Today, Lock N Roll Storage (Official Photo)

Interestingly, the company name was Payless Cashways, and held a number of different names used in towns.

Years later, I would revisit the "small hardware store" scene with Ace of Aggieland, though sadly it just wasn't the same (for reasons detailed there).

Updated October 2017 with new date from reader mail

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ace of Aggieland and Other Stores at Navarro

11907 FM 2154

This story doesn't have a happy ending.

Navarro Drive was originally a road in the part of the Southwood Valley subdivision that had duplexes. It ran from Rio Grande to Welsh, with stop signs at Welsh and Pedernales Drive, neither of which had stopped cross traffic. It ended abruptly on the west edge of town, with no cul-de-sac, or even an even cut-off the road.

Over on Wellborn Road, there was a small private road called Elbrich Road, which was a dirt road that led to a small self-storage facility. It was a lonely little property with a few sodium-vapor lights (or mercury-vapor), and lacked a formal name. Just further up from the storage unit was a private dwelling, but it wasn't able to be seen from Wellborn. On the other side of Wellborn was Cain Road. But circa 2000, Elbrich and the house were destroyed and replaced with a large extension of Navarro, which included a very wide stretch with more duplexes. Still, while Navarro now connected to Wellborn, it felt lonely and empty at that corner.

Fast forward to 2007, when a sign announced that a small strip mall, anchored by Ace Hardware, would open. Over 2008, I saw it go from a foundation (March 2008, en route to Houston for Spring Break) to a full plaza. "Wellborn Shopping Center" opened in November 2008, though it originally opened as Navarro West Plaza, which I think is a better name.

It seemed so cool that "Ace of Aggieland" was a "small" hardware store so close to home -- it came in years after Doug's, Furrow, and Paint & More all closed. Ace was the place for my family, as it was the closest hardware store, and actually was a place where you could walk in and explore. Unfortunately, it didn't have the same feel as Furrow's, which I sorely missed: it had a lot of home decor and random kitchen junk, and was smaller. It did have a lot of the things that Lowe's and Home Depot had, which made it convenient. And although it didn't have candy, it had free coffee and popcorn.

But in fall 2010, Lowe's opened at William D. Fitch and Highway 6, with Ace folding in late January 2011, without even a going out of business sale. It liquidated in March of that year, losing its inventory and signage.

The other stores, still open, include Fat Burger Grill, All Phone Toys, and Mak's Liquor, which all opened in March 2009. I've never really eaten at Fat Burger Grill, and the PDF mentions a "Shoe Bar" between Ace and the "All Phone Toys" store, but that space has never been open. (Edit July 14: All Phone Toys is now closed as well)

These two pictures are from Google Earth, showing Elbrich and Navarro.

(formerly known as "Wellborn Shopping Center" until January 21, 2013)
(formerly known as "Road Profile: Navarro Drive" until May 19, 2013, which added information about Ace Hardware, taken from another post)\
(formerly known as "Ace of Aggieland" until July 14, 2013, which added information on closed stores)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Grand Station Entertainment / Wolf Pen Bowling / Lowe's

Any College Station resident knows that until circa 2010, we only had Home Depot in terms of big-box store choices.

"Spring Creek Village" at William D. Fitch currently features a Lowe's, Chick-fil-A, and Whataburger, wraps around a gas station with an empty restaurant pad. Great to learn that College Station finally has its first Lowe's, after Bryan having one for years and years.

We did have one, though, in the distant past. As it turns out, we did get a Lowe's back in the mid-1980s, on the bypass. It was much different than the Lowe's of today, much smaller and featuring slightly more departments before streamlining (like electronics!) but it didn't do so well, and closed circa 1989 before being renovated into Wolf Pen Bowl & Skate, which featured a large skating rink (roller, not ice), a snack bar, PowerSports Gymnastics (which was fairly large and did have a small upper level viewing area). Unfortunately, I have no pictures, save for the ad below. It seems based on the ad that they sub-leased the space, and I recall hearing that after it closed it was used as storage space.

I remember going to PowerSports Gymnastics in the early 2000s (later "Power Gymnastics" before finally disappearing in the mid-2000s) and the skating rink (sixth grade, maybe?), and of course, a bowling alley, which was slightly better than the MSC's but not by much. To think that both of the alleys came from the 1990s is beyond me, as by 1999, both were quite run-down. Sadly, I don't have pictures, but by 2007 it was acquired by a new owner. While this meant the loss of a different bowling alley in town (Triangle Bowl in Bryan, which was even worse, apparently, than the other two alleys) it meant that Wolf Pen Bowl & Skate would be renovated. The plan would be like "Boonville Station", a similar project planned in 2005 in Bryan but never got off the ground, and soon Wolf Pen Bowl & Skate closed and was gutted for a new bowling alley, an arcade (though the original Wolf Pen Skate had a few arcade games, I think), glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, an expanded eating area, and laser tag. This, of course, was Grand Station Entertainment, which remains today. It is often mistakenly called Grand Central Station, undoubtedly its namesake.

I don't know if the Wolf Pen Bowl built in front of the store (the aerial suggests the building was expanded to the front and the parking lot altered) or not, but one wonders if they had simply expanded. There's certainly enough space to.

2400 Earl Rudder Freeway