Half the stores at 46-year-old Sharpstown are now mom-and-pops and many jewelers there sell flashy items made popular by rap artists. Most apparel stores offer urban clothing influenced by street culture, including labels owned by hip-hop icons Russell Simmons, Nelly and Beyoncé.
"Basically, Sharpstown's got everything you need," said a young man who would identify himself only as 33. He was at the mall with his friend Terrence Starks, aka Dat Boy Cuzin, to buy a jeweled grille, a mouthpiece to cover his teeth.
This is not a terribly new story, things have been going in this direction at the mall for years. It was sad seeing half the stores close down in the past.
I am something of a self-proclaimed Sharpstown Mall historian (so is someone else). Heck I was born down the street at the old Sharpstown General Hospital which is now named something else or totally closed.
My family went to Sharpstown Mall all of the time. My grandparents even had a house near there in the 60s on Hiawatha. Get this, back then Sharpstown Mall was only one level and there was a grocery store inside! You know that Sharpstown Mall claims to be the first air conditioned mall right? Back then they wanted cool air, but fast forward to modern day and they want the heat while shopping in The Woodlands and Sugar Land. Go figure.
Remember the red dots that made up the flooring in the 80s? As a kid, I loved the coo coo clock store near Foley's (which used to have its own restaurant by the way). As I grew older I gravitated towards the marshal arts oriented store. They had cool swords for us Bruce Lee types who watched the Saturday afternoon karate flicks on channel 26.
Depending on the year, there were various arcades and music stores. I bought my Nirvana Nevermind tape at one shop near Montgomery Wards and a few years later the In Utero CD near JC Penney.
In the 90s a movie theater was built at the Bellaire entrance. Not many people went. As teens, my girlfriend, best friend and I caught a double feature of The Addams Family Values and Demolition Man for the price of one! At least Sandra Bullock was cute. Isn't the theater now a charter school?!
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am glad Sharpstown Mall has reinvented itself. Luckily it didn't go the way of Westwood Mall. If this recollection gets you misty eyed, you should read my love letter to that mall down 59.
At least now I know where to buy a grill from a guy who I swore I saw on The Girls Next Door. I should videotape myself walking through Sharpstown Mall now and then put it on this blog. Here's how it would happen...as soon as I would enter the mall, I could fall to the ground and kiss it as tears fill my eyes and I sob uncontrollably from the great memories. Then security could escort me out. It could be a YouTube classic!