Black Day For What Makes Houston Houston

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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?

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

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

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Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.