Saturday, November 20, 2021

Downtown Bryan Shell

The restaurant section is the one on the left (picture by author, 9/21)

In what is possibly the newest (and last) Zip'N built (2010, replacing an older Zip'N Shell at 200 North Texas Avenue), this downtown gas station at 208 North Texas Avenue takes up three quarters of the block and is the main gas station/convenience store anchoring the downtown area (some older options take up the slack to the north and west).

At the northeast corner of the block (the original 208 N. Texas Avenue) was Shining Star Detail, which relocated. The rest of the lot (the part that Shell occupies) was a parking lot, presumably for the office building occupying the remainder of the block. Catty-corner to the Shell (at 24th Street) is a Shell Rapid Lube, likely associated with the gas station for years (it predates the new store, probably decades old).

Another look at a slightly different angle.

The tenant to the right of Zip'N appears to have always been empty, but to the left was originally a Krispy Krunchy Chicken very briefly in the mid-2010s, then the sign got modified when it became Bellon's Kung Pao Express (which operated for less than a year; it's supposed to look closer to this). Esmeralda's Taqueria has been here since late 2016.

Across the street is a Dairy Queen, which I photographed the exterior of but due to new site "rules", outlined in the Harmony Science Academy post, it can't make the cut, but perhaps you might see it on the City Directory pages of Carbon-izer soon. Zip'N qualifies because of the restaurant on site (and given that it has the same address, I assume it's connected to the store) has changed a few times.

Friday, November 5, 2021

H-E-B Pantry / Harmony Science Academy

Most of the architectural details from H-E-B Pantry are gone, except the peak in the roof and those windows to the right of the entrance.

Despite a heavy retail-based focus on this website, I still haven't covered all the former grocery stores in town yet (even the post-1980 ones), and of course, the Bryan section on this website is still pretty small, with a good fifth of the Bryan content coming from since January 2020, but, like most of the Bryan content that's already there, it's on Texas Avenue.

I don't believe I went inside the H-E-B Pantry there at 2031 South Texas Avenue, but it was in an area with other grocery stores. It competed with Kroger and (for a few years) the Albertsons at the remodeled Townshire Shopping Center next door. It also had excellent access, it in addition to entrances off of Texas Avenue, long driveways connected it to both Twin Boulevard and Bywood Street. The store opened around September 1991 and closed in December 2004 shortly before the new H-E-B at the redeveloped Manor East Mall (Tejas Center) opened.

Following the move, the former H-E-B Pantry was left abandoned for a few years before Harmony Science Academy took it over in fall 2007 (though Google Maps Street View still shows the empty store with no signage as of November 2007). Later on, Harmony made more renovations to the property, including modifying the exterior and adding an expansion. It has also repainted since. In the Townshire article linked above, the exterior of the store is tan with dark red trim, the facade today is bright red, white, and blue.

This sign near Twin Boulevard is from H-E-B Pantry, which had the rounded rectangular signs.

Harmony Science Academy is no stranger to converting grocery stores, over at Carbon-izer.com you can see an overview of Valley Mills Road in Waco, where Harmony took over both an old Albertsons and an old H-E-B.

All pictures here were taken by the author in September 2021.

Editor's Note: As part of some minor changes, the only new posts will be either buildings that are demolished or otherwise closed, had tenant changeover, had some significant change themselves, or are part of a larger story. So for instance, Spice World Market would not qualify ordinarily under this policy had it not been for the bit on Old Arrington Road. Likewise, even "being historic" would not qualify; therefore, something like Pruitt's Fabrics would not be covered.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Spice World Market


There's a big Starbucks sign inside for what is essentially a Starbucks-branded Keurig machine inside. (Photo by author, 9/2021).

One more entry before I take a break for a little while (see Editor's Note at the bottom), Spice World Market opened in July 2021 at 1381 Old Arrington Road. It's an Indian grocery store at 9,000 square feet, which is much larger than any Indian food-focused store in town. Previously, the places that specialized in Indian food mostly just had some items crammed in the back of a convenience store, but this one is in a nice, new space with even a bakery that churns out fresh naan (which I have yet to see, it runs out by 5pm).

Spice World is located on 1381 Old Arrington Road, located behind the main Caprock Crossing development, and has been in planning for a long time. I first saw the signs for Spice World Market ("Coming Soon") in March 2019, en route to the Ground Shuttle terminal further down when picking up my cousin at the terminal for a wedding (the trip to the terminal was not as exciting as childhood trips all the way to downtown Bryan's old Greyhound station, but it was easier to get to). Funnily enough, the section of Old Arrington Road did not exist for a brief time in the 2000s. When Highway 40 opened, (Old) Arrington Road intersected with Highway 40 just before Highway 6 (complete with a left turn lane from Highway 40), with the newer section of Arrington Road accessible further down solely to provide access to Greens Prairie Road West. By 2008, the section closer to the highway was officially Old Arrington Road, while the intersection further west curled down to connect to the main road. A few years later, the pavement was removed on Old Arrington near the highway and closed off.

By fall 2014, the space was being redeveloped as Caprock Crossing, with Walgreens being built, and a Zaxby's later built on the right of way itself. Old Arrington was on its way to be forgotten and built over completely, like North Graham Road. However, unlike North Graham Road, in 2017 or 2018, the cul-de-sac at the end of Old Arrington (the truncation point), was removed, and a new concrete driveway connected it to the Caprock Crossing entryway, which provided access to Zaxby's, Walgreens, and others. It was on this rebuilt portion that Spice World opened.

Editor's Note: So the blog will be going a bit quiet again. Probably not "no posts until 2022" but likely not for another month or two until I can build some posts and content. Unlike in August 2020, when I ran aground, this is going to at least end on a high note. If you exclusively read this blog via Facebook (not recommended!) this notice may be out of date anyway, as I have more than enough Facebook stuff stored up to sail through this gap.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Pruitt's Fabrics

Picture from August 2018 by author.

Well, classes are back in session again, and I can tell from activity...as of early September, the most popular page of the month was the Memorial Student Center page.

Like Dixie Chicken on the other side of campus, Pruitt's Fabrics (it dropped the "Fabrics" on the main sign some years ago, probably as late as 2011 but no earlier than 2008) has just been "there" at 318 George Bush Drive (or 318 Jersey, originally) for years, with its coral-green tile giving away its age. Sadly, Pruitt's has all appearances of being on its last legs, whether that's actually true or not. The store is open by appointment only, the building is for lease, and the website has been offline for a few years now. Pruitt's Fabrics claims to be founded in 1946, but we know in 1956 it was a few spaces down. However, by 1959, Pruitt's Fabrics (or "Pruitt's Fabric Shoppe" or "Pruitt's Fabric & Beauty Shop" as it was also known) settled in its current location, and here we are sixty years later.

Brazos CAD says that the building was built in 1957, which aligns with advertising (no records for 318 Jersey before Pruitt's) and puts Pruitt's as the first and only building in the space.

The building is right next to what is currently Good Bull BBQ but from that post, it has changed hands multiple times, whereas Pruitt's has been constant.

Editor's Note: Check out some recent updates posted around the site! Former NAPA Auto Parts is getting a new tenant. Wolfe Nursery has a link to a history I wrote of the company. Did you know it was owned by Pier 1 Imports for a time? Speaking of Pier 1, Texas Avenue Crossing lost another tenant, World Market. Texas Avenue Crossing is rumored to get a Sprouts, and I do have some pictures of the pre-redevelopment center (after Academy closed). That will be added another time...Kettle got a minor update (it might just return to 24 hours again, someday...), and finally the At Home article got a minor update. All updates have been re-worked to be a little easier on the eyes, too.