Houston On a Smaller Scale:Sharpstown Mall by Jason Olivier

7500 Bellaire Blvd.
Suite 201
Houston, TX 77036
(713)777-1111

April 2004–On August 20, 2003 I left my home of eighteen years in Austin , Texas to attend school in Houston , Texas at the University of Houston. I was anxious to get started on new life on my own. After checking in and getting all of my things settled in me and my room mate decided to go to the mall and get some shopping done and waste some time. We headed off to Sharpstown Mall. We decided to go there because someone told us that it was a good mall and had a nice selection of clothing. From that day on Sharpstown Mall became my official shopping hot spot. Every single piece of clothing that I have purchased while in Houston has been bought at Sharpstown Mall.

Anytime someone mentions Sharpstown or I see it I think of Houston . Sharpstown Mall is Houston on a smaller scale. Houston, the fourth largest city in the nation, is very diverse and is home to many different people from all walks of life. The same can be said for Sharpstown Mall. In the mall you will find people from all walks of life both working and shopping. Houston contains people from many different ethnicities. In Sharpstown Mall people from many different races work and shop. “Damn, that’s a lot of money for a small ass piece”, one person says while looking at a small selection of sterling silver pendants. The jewelry center is very diverse in itself. The jewelry center has a variety of many different shops with a nice selection of gold, silver, and white gold jewelry. All of the shops are owned by people of Middle Eastern decent, while the majority of the customers are African American. In Foley’s you will find almost every race both working and shopping. Foley’s has the same atmosphere as JC Penny and Dillard’s both located on opposite sides of the mall. In places like Champs, Foot Action, and Footlocker you will find a staff consisted of mostly African Americans. Shopping in these shoe stars you will find mostly African American and Hispanic people shopping.

As I pass by the food court I can’t help but smell the bitter- sweet smell aroma of freshly baked cinnamon rolls mixed with the smell of dirty water coming from mop, which is resting in a pale yellow bucket. The janitor sweeps the skid mark infested floor as if the world was ending tomorrow. As I ride the escalator down to the ground level I can see people gazing at themselves in the mirror after receiving a fresh haircut from the mall’s mostly African American barbershop. The front section of the barbershop is designated for the barbers while in the back you will find ladies braiding, giving perms, and twisting hair.

People go to Sharpstown, not only to shop or work, but to get away and hang out with friends. You can’t help but here the sound of kids laughing and joking after a hard day of work at school. Sharpstown is a popular hangout for the teenagers. “ I’ve been coming here since I first moved to Houston in 1996”, one girl exclaimed as she dug through her purse desperately trying to answer her vibrating cell phone. “ My sister used to come here with her friends too”, she said.

You will find the mall to be most busy on a Friday or Saturday night. During these times it seems as if every teenager in the city of Houston is at the mall. While some people are there shopping, the majority of the teens at the mall are just there to hang out with friends. “ Whenever we don’t have anything to do me and my friends always come here and walk around because we know there will be people here”, one boy told me as he looked down at the people passing by from the second floor balcony. If you enjoy a nice calm relaxed place to shop then you would prefer to go to the mall during the morning on one of the days during the week. In the morning you will find a more calm and laid back atmosphere. The only people in the mall in the morning are employees and elderly women getting a nice morning jog before most of the mall goers arrive.

My favorite place to shop in the mall is Foot Action. Of all the shopping I have done in Sharpstown Mall, I would say eighty five percent of it was done in Foot Action. Anytime a new pair of shoes comes out that I just can’t live without I know that Foot Action will have them in stock. While most of my selections at this store have been shoes, I have also bought other items also. I have bought everything from hats to shoe strings. My friends are also big spenders at Foot Action, but they spend more money than me on clothing and other accessories.

You can find something that fits you whether it be country, hip-hop, rhythm and blues, or easy listening at the malls only music store, F. Y. E. The store also has a nice selection of video games, DVD’s, and magazines. On top of the nice stores and food court, Sharpstown also contains a nice sized movie theater. The ten-screen theater has a nice selection of newly released movies. I haven’t gotten the pleasure of visiting the theater yet because I only go to Sharpstown to shop, however, I have heard that it is a very nice theater.

While Sharpstown is a nice place to shop, eat, and catch a movie, the facilities aren’t kept up very well. The bathrooms seem as if they haven’t been cleaned in since the mall opened. The stores are kept up very well, however, I guess the cleaning people are too tired to clean the restrooms after cleaning the stores. At first glance I assumed that the bathrooms were dirty due to all the people that had visited during the day. That assumption was quickly shot down after I went one time in the morning at the time in which the mall had just opened. The restrooms looked as if they had been left alone since the night before.

Sharpstown is a reflection of Houston because of its unique atmosphere and diversity. You can also due a fairly nice bit of shopping there too. This is why anytime I here someone mention Sharpstown Mall I immediately think of Houston, Texas.

Map:


Links:
Foot Action

F.Y.E

Foley’s

JC Penney’s

Movies

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