I don't have a lot of nostalgia for Willowbrook Mall, I only officially visited once in January 2017 to get an iPhone screen repaired. Between a few sources (Wikipedia as of 03/09/21, West Houston Archives, and newspaper searching), the mall opened in 1981 with Sears, Foley's, Joske's, and Montgomery Ward, with the owner and developer being Homart Development Company (a Sears subsidiary). Naturally all of these malls contained Sears as a tenant initially (more on Willowbrook's Sears in a second).
In 1984, a fifth department store, Macy's, opened (when it was a much more upscale department store than today), and in 1992, a sixth department store, JCPenney, opened. By this time, Joske's had become Dillard's as part of a 1987 buyout. In 1997, Dillard's vacated their spot when Macy's sold their local stores to Dillard's (except for The Galleria store), and Lord & Taylor replaced the original Dillard's in 1998.
By 2001, Dillard's had renovated and expanded the original Macy's facade, but Montgomery Ward closed and became a second Foley's (Foley's Furniture Galleries & Men's Store) but Lord & Taylor (the original Joske's/Dillard's) closed in 2003 and was torn down in 2007 (not 2004). Foley's converted to Macy's in 2006, and in fall 2014, Nordstrom Rack opened at the former Lord & Taylor site. The 38,000 square feet store (one floor) was significantly smaller than the store it replaced. Adjacent to it (not connected to the main mall) was a Bar Louie, but it closed in January 2020. In October 2016, a Dick's Sporting Goods opened in new construction adjacent to the food court (bringing the mall to seven anchors, even if Nordstrom Rack and Dick's were both smaller) but Sears closed in early 2020 soon after the pandemic kicked off.
So here's a bit regarding my 2017 (2/3/17) visit. I entered through the Sears, which was photographed on Mike's blog in fall 2020 as it did duty as a seasonal Halloween store. It certainly looked much nicer than my local Sears store and others I had seen, even the Sears Portrait Studio had reopened under Picture People ownership (the old associate of SPS having shut down in bankruptcy a few years prior). However, in looking back through my pictures, it turns out that I took no pictures of the mall at all (not even the directory), just one of the Sears and its inside.
Might as well share what I have, though...
The mall is not related to Willowbrook Mall of the New Jersey, which this Labelscar post discusses (and introduced me to Fountains of Wayne as a band too, as a bonus).Return to the Houston page | Email