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Keep Houston Press Free
4

Black Day For What Makes Houston Houston

Chase Bank recently announced that it will close 36 of its newly acquired Houston-Area WaMu locations over the next month. (Leaving a mere 220 behind.) Starbucks likewise announced 200 upcoming nationwide closures.

Swamplot scarcely exaggerates the matter when it brands it a "Pad Site Massacre."

Nothing screamed "bubble economy" louder or more clearly to us than this bounty of bank branches and Starbucks. After all, how many subprime loan agreements were consummated over fresh-brewed Half-Caff Pinche Mocha Sorghum Latte-acinos?

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Oh well, no use crying over spilled highfalutin coffee or trillions of gallons of red ink. Plus, I can take comfort in knowing that even this bracing round of closures won't leave me bereft: As of now, within five miles of my house in Braeswood Place, there are no fewer than 53 Starbucks, WaMus and Chase Bank branches. Even if corporate whacks half of those locations, I'll still have plenty to choose from.

But with Starbucks, branch banks, video stores, and record shops all going the way of the Astros' playoff chances, and with nail and tanning salons and cell-phone shops seemingly at the point of market saturation, what, exactly will fill Houston's sprawling retail landscape?

- John Nova Lomax

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