Houston -- like most other cities -- was once home to a broad array of supermarkets and grocery stores like Weingarten's (whose last grocery store closed in 1984 -- the company is now exclusively in the real estate market), Continental Finer Foods, and Lewis & Coker before it gave way to being dominated by a small faction of corporate-driven grocers. Although some grocery stores have changed their names (the once ubiquitious Gerland's now operates as -- alternately -- Food Town, Food Fair and Grand Market) others have gone away entirely.
As we close out the Oughts and move into a new decade, we look back at the five biggest departures from the Houston supermarket scene in the last 10 years (and yes, we're counting the decade as 1999 to 2009).
Randall's: What? you may exclaim. Randall's still exists! Not in the state that it used to, it doesn't. The Onstead family once had a staggering 29 percent share of the Houston grocery market. And with every boom comes a bust. Overextending themselves by purchasing the Tom Thumb chain in Dallas, they doubled the company's size in only two years. It proved to be too much for the family to handle, and they ultimately sold Randall's -- along with Tom Thumb and Simon David (another Dallas grocer) -- to Safeway in 1999. This marked Safeway's return to the Houston grocery scene after a ten-year absence. The current incarnation of Randall's bears little resemblance to the old, family-run stores and the market share as of 2006 was a dismal 6.9 percent, reflecting Safeway's inability to compete with newer stores like Kroger and H-E-B.