Sunday, December 15, 2013

Former Bryan Weingarten

Not the greatest picture but it does show some of how the supermarket used to look.
Colloquially known as Weingarten's (which was on the sign), this Houston-based supermarket made its stand in Bryan in the mid-1950s and suffered a similar fate to its Houston stores. Unlike the companion College Station store which lasted no more than around 2 months, Weingarten's here lasted for about three decades before it changed hands and closed less than a decade later.

Opening on September 1, 1954, the 25,000 square foot supermarket was not only the largest in Bryan and featured a variety of things unusual at best though may seem commonplace today. These included a self-service deli, a general merchandise department "where the housewife can find everything from work clothes to dresses to cooking equipment", a drug and tobacco department, "magic carpet" automatic doors, a lunch counter, a children's daycare area "where they'll find comic books and other things to keep their attention", and a full-service butcher department. Courtesy of John Ellisor, check out the article from which these great facts were derived from.

In 1980, the Weingarten family decided to focus on real estate and sell its supermarkets to Grand Union. Despite giving it a new logo, four years later, Grand Union dumped the chain in late 1983. The two-month old College Station store closed permanently while this store (and most of the stores) were sold to Safeway, which closed it in January 1984 and reopened it under its own name, giving the California-based chain four stores in the area. Also at some point, the address changed from 1010 S. College Avenue to 1010 S. Texas Avenue.

Safeway sold the Houston division to management, and it was rebranded as AppleTree in 1989. It finally closed in 1992 as one of the initial (second round of 5) stores to close in bankruptcy and later referred to one of the "dogs" as Richard Goeggel, Vice President of AppleTree, put it, after it shrank to half a dozen stores. In 1995, the former supermarket became Williams Furniture Center, which operated until 1999. After that, the building's history gets a bit more murky as it was subdivided. 1010 S. Texas Avenue #A became "Billiard Barn & Drinkery" from 2001 to 2003. Burton Creek Bar-B-Que also operated from 2001 to 2002 in "suite B" OF 1010 S. Texas Avenue, with C&J Barbecue officially taking over in 2002 as the second location of the chain (from the original off of Harvey Road). Within five years a third location would be established at Southwest Crossing. In August 2022, C&J Barbecue relocated to 2112 West Briargate Drive at William Joel Bryan Park, with Los Plebes Mariscos & Wings opening in Jan. 2024. 1016 S. Texas Avenue, the center portion of the store, ended up becoming a nightclub, first as T&T Billiards in 2003 (it's possible that "A" was Billiard Barn, and "B" was the barbecue spot), then Status in 2004, Whiskey River (2008-2010), Prime Time Nightclub (2011), Rockies (full name: "Rockies The Canyon") which moved here in 2011 from its longtime spot in Post Oak Mall before moving again in 2019. (It was evicted for Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill, which has since closed pretty much all of its locations from lease non-payment), Alquimia Night Club (2019-2020), and currently (since 2021-ish) is the home of TE-JOS Super Deal, which has returned merchandise from discount stores and other odds & ends. 1018 S. Texas Avenue has been Bingo Barn since 2003.

It doesn't look the same as it did, the store received an exterior re-do around 2020. There's a few other pictures from December 2013 below.

UPDATE 02-15-2024: Finally gave this the upgrades it needed (last updates from 2014) and its back on the Index.