Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Goodbye to an Old Friend

Over the last couple of years, there was speculation that HEB would build a Montrose location. With the opening of Buffalo Market on Bissonet, it was almost inevitable a Montrose could be next.
The location in question was directly across from Fiesta on Dunlavy and West Alabama. I read real eatate blogs and kept up with the latest develooments.
Many people apeculated what the fate of Fiesta across the street would be. I knew they would probably stay in business. No one store has ever really closed because its competition opened across the street.
After all this was the Fieata I shopped at when I lived in the dorms at the University of St. Thomas. It was my home grocery store, even after we were moved into alternate housing in the wake of teopical srorm Allison.
To think that my favorite grocery store would be gone for good was unfathomable. Fiesta had been an integral part of the community for more than 20 years. Before that it had been an Apple Tree and had started out as a Weingartens some 50 years ago.
My first trip to Fiesta was when I moved into the dorms. I was in need of something to eat and the cafeteria was closed for the weekend. I remembered seeing the store on my way to move in.
The August heat was unbearable, but I needed to eat. The walk there wasn't as long as I thought it might be. I walked in the front door and did a double take. The interior of the store looked a lot like the Food King in Texas City.
In fact the layout was eerily similar. I wandered the store and familiarized myself with it. The place i finally found muself was the deli counter. I remember how helpful the staff were. They were kind enough to sell me half of a cooked chicken. I grabbed a tub of potato salad and a soda and ate it back at the dorms.
Later on when I moved into an on-campus apartment, I bought my groceries at that Fieata. Everyone was always helpful and friendly. After college I moved home, but when I moved back I shopped there occasionally.
I got busy with work and found myself ahopping at a Kroger closer to home. Sometimes I'd get things I couldn't find at other stores, but I got away from shopping there.
The store had its own unique character as do most grocery stores in Montrose. There was almost a mom and pop feel to that Fieata. I couldn't think of any other place I could grocery shop to the oldies. The produce and international departments always had aomething exotic. I think that was the first place I ever saw fava beans and treacle tart.
HEB bought the historic apartment complex across the street, but I held out hope for Fiesta. If other grocery chains could stand up to their threat, they could too. I kept up  with all the coverage and even attended the grand opening at HEB.
Then I read that developers had their eye on the Fiesta property. My heart sank because I knew how much that store meant to the neighborhood. I hoped it was another ugly rumor, but I soon found  that it was not.
Firsr came news that the property had been sold. Then came word that a mixed-use decelopment would replace my favorite Fiesta. I felt like I'd been punched in the gut, but the news they would close really hurt.
I missed my chance to say goodbye, but I recently stopped by to take post mortem photos. The rumors are that Party City will open for the holidays and the shopping center and Fiesta will come down in February.
The one ray of hope is that Fiesta will return to Montroae again some day. Rumor has it that they would open where Randalls Flagship  store sits now at th corner of South Shepherd and Westheimer. I am hopeful theae rumors will come true.

1 comment:

Carol said...

sad, I shopped there for all my years at UST. I worried for it too when I heard HEB was going in...good bye Fiesta..