Sunday, March 29, 2020

Shell at Holleman and Harvey Mitchell

From June 2013 by author. This post was actually planned to go up in late 2014, but it got pushed back for reasons.

My little corner of the world got two big upgrades in 2004: the completion of Jones-Butler Road in November of that year (connecting the "Marion Pugh Road" segment between North Dowling and Harvey Mitchell Parkway to I&GN Road at Rock Prairie Road West) brought a new avenue to access Rock Prairie Road, and a new modern gas station built at a small field at the intersection of Holleman and Harvey Mitchell, which at the time was a sleepy little terminus of a segment that was almost never driven on...why go straight across the steep railroad crossing and make an unprotected left, when we could head down Wellborn and take a long ramp directly to FM 2818?

This "new modern gas station" was a Shell and featured a Wendy's, with one of the first Rattlers'-branded gas stations in town. Rattlers' Country Store as it was named originally, was a local operation that featured clean, well-run stores with their own distinctive branding. There was a car wash (which I don't think I ever used), a Subway (2048 Holleman West, opened 2005), and Holleman Cleaners (2046 Holleman West), a small dry cleaning operation. Neither of these connected to each other like Wendy's and Rattlers' did (Rattlers' has the address of 2050 Holleman, with Wendy's being 2052, but known to use 2050 sometimes).

There were a few minor changes that went on with the gas station. The Wendy's remodeled in the early 2010s but never saw its exterior sign change—but in the mid-2010s, the gas station signage received a revamp, adding electronic signage and a new Wendy's logo (an old "movable numbers" board closer to the ground was changed to just read "SCANTRONS"). The car wash went away sometime around 2009 and was replaced by a building, soon occupied (after several months) by one "Liquor Mart" (2054 Holleman Drive West).

The Rattlers' changed logos at some point (dropping the "Country Store" branding) and briefly adding a "Froggies Yogurt" inside (replacing a small kiosk with foil-wrapped tacos). Froggies went away shortly after the Rattlers' chain was sold to Sunoco (which owned Stripes) in 2016. This meant that the gas station and the new Stripes on the other side of Holleman were now under common ownership.

In Febraury 2018, the Shell became a Sunoco. This was likely due to a contract regarding Sunoco stations being kept when Sunoco officially sold its gas stations to 7-Eleven a month or so prior, which meant that the Rattlers' was officially owned by 7-Eleven. Two years later, Holleman Cleaners (which had closed down in fall 2019) turned into "Elevated CBD + Smoke". Rattlers' never converted to Stripes or 7-Eleven, and by 2020, Rattlers' closed down around midnight while the Stripes across the street maintained a 24-hour operation, giving it an edge in business. The Wendy's closed in the fall of 2020 (see the first update below) and the main Rattlers went out with it, taking down the entire gas station with it. Only Subway and Elevated remained. As of this writing, the station seems to have come back to life. The Shell name and canopy has been restored (though the canopy just has the symbol instead of the writing, a change that came about starting in the mid-to-late 2010s), the facade was repainted maroon and white, with the convenience store being called "Campus Corner", and the Wendy's also being repainted and altered to be a Burger Mojo. We'll see how it goes this time... 

UPDATE 10-14-20: Wendy's, which has been in the store since around January 2005 (give or take a month), permanently closed in or around September 30, 2020. The reason for this closure is still yet unknown. Also rewrote some minor parts in the article.
UPDATE 12-02-20: A check on December 1st revealed that sometime in November, Rattlers (and the entire gas station component with it) has closed. Elevated CBD + Smoke and Subway continue to operate, while Burger Mojo is planned to go into the former Wendy's.
UPDATE 01-21-21: The station has since reverted to Shell with a new convenience store and restaurant. The main description has been rewritten with the title altered to remove "Sunoco".
UPDATE 02-04-21: Campus Corner has opened in the last few days. The d├ęcor is identical to Rattlers'.
UPDATE 03-04-2021: Burger Mojo officially opened 3/3/21 as a 24 hour location. The same day, the Stripes across the street was rebranded as a 7-Eleven.
UPDATE 09-19-2021: Some changes to mention how Rattlers was sold to Sunoco, as well as integrating the 7-Eleven page posted earlier this year.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

505 University Drive East, For Lack of a Better Name

Picture from spring 2014 by author, artificially lightened up as the sun was setting.

Built in 1980, the 505 University Drive East shopping center at MacArthur and University Drive East essentially consists of two parts, a traditional shopping center up front, and some additional commercial suites in the back.

$1.79 Cleaners - Dry cleaners.

Cavalier Cigar Co. - This moved here around 2011 (from Texas Avenue Cigars near Park Place and Texas), features a humidor and lounge area. One of the few places in College Station to smoke indoors.

Charli - Women's clothing store; here since around 1997-1998. Their old location was 707 Texas Avenue, until part of the center was redeveloped for an On the Border restaurant.

Frank's Bar and Grill - Steak and seafood restaurant in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Fox & Hound - From September 1994 to October 2018, this bar anchored the main spot of the shopping center. It replaced Frank's Bar and Grill, one of the early restaurants here.

Interurban - Restaurant in the 1980s that was here first, named after the interurban trolley that ran on what is now Cavitt between College Station and Bryan.

The post is a little cobbled-together as I had wanted to update an older post but couldn't find a good picture for it. In the sidebar for "Other Related Sites", I added Columbia Closings, which despite a somewhat different format (and not even the same state, this time, Columbia, SC), it's sort of similar to this site and gives a good retail history of the area. It also has a healthy comments section, which I did for years but never really caught on.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Humpty Dumpty Children's Center

Requested by reader Jon Stewart (no, not that one) comes an ad for the late Humpty Dumpty Children's Center from 1980 (sourced from my GTE phone book from that year). Located at 3406 South College Avenue, I can't exactly tell when it went under, but it appears to have been sometime around 1986 (see later in the article). The plot of land it was on is shared with 3408 and 3404, the latter being in front of the store and serving as "The Guitar Studio" though is clearly a former gas station from a bygone era (this appears to date back to 1930 per county records). Additionally, some further reading indicates the Jones family lived at the site, with "3404A" being the address of one Larry Jones in 1980. Ms. Jones passed away in 2003 (combined with "since 1961" and "25 years", one can assume Humpty Dumpty closed in 1986) with Larry's death in 2009. For a brief time in the late 2000s and early 2010s, 3408 served as Brazos Valley Montessori, and presumably used 3406 as space. Interestingly, when the plot was sold in 2014 from the Jones family, the grantee (a shell company) was listed as "Humpty 3406 LLC", despite the fact that Humpty Dumpty had been gone for nearly 30 years. (current Street View)