When CultureMap debuted in November 2009, one of our first stories featured the exciting news that H&M was scouting out locations for a Houston store. Three years later, the first Houston-area branch of the fast fashion Swedish retailer opened in Baybrook Mall — and of course, we were there — along with thousands of thrilled shoppers.
Over the past five years, a lot of new stores have opened in Houston and its surroundings and we have offered a sneak peek of many of the most exciting ones because we know there is a lot of interest in a city where shopping is practically an Olympic sport.
Here are some of our most popular visits:
An exclusive sneak peek inside Houston's new American Girl store: See it before the frenzy (published Sept. 14, 2012)
CultureMap contributor Heather Stabile and her daughters were thrilled to offer this video tour of the American Girl store in Memorial City Mall. It was viewed more than 160,000 times on YouTube.
First look (with video): H-E-B Montrose Market is a food lover's delight (published Nov. 15, 2011)
After a lot of discussion about how it would be designed and situated on a valuable wooded property in the heart of Montrose, the much-anticipated H-E-B store was the subject of this insider's preview, where officials excitedly pointed out all the new features.
Houston's first H&M store is a knockout: Exclusive sneak peek with Fashion Star's Nicole Christie (published May 30, 2012)
Houston fashionistas went wild when H&M debuted in Baybrook Mall, with long lines outside the store on opening day. I hosted an exclusive video tour and interview with former Fashion Star celeb Nicole Christie.
First look video: Prada pulls out all the stops for new Houston boutique (published Dec. 23, 2011)
Prada rushed to get its lush new store in the Galleria opened in time for Christmas in 2011 and barely made the deadline. In this video, we showcased the luxurious offerings.
Secrets of the new Trader Joe's: Exclusive tour shows how Alabama Theater's movie magic is honored (published Sept. 21, 2012)
CultureMap staff writer Tyler Rudick infiltrated Trader Joe's new Alabama Theater location before opening day, just as the staff was making 11th hour arrangements.
Buzzed-over new Woodlands Nordstrom brings BFF dressing rooms, back room beauty & a Bazille bar (published Sept. 5, 2014)
The recently-opened Nordstrom store signifies that The Woodlands has arrived as a major upscale shopping destination. Before the big new store opened to the general public, Heather Stabile offered this exclusive VIP tour.
Sneak peek: Louis Vuitton bets on Houston with expanded store and full range of luxury collection (published Nov. 16, 2012)
Luxury retailer Louis Vuitton revamped its Galleria store, doubling the size, adding a VIP salon and offering a full range of luxury products. We got a sneak peek.
Resolutionary? New Apple Store opening creates buzz, but before long the line is gone (published March 16, 2012)
The opening of the Apple store in Highland Village and the launch of the new iPad drew large crowds who camped out the night before to be first in line.
Exclusive look: Inside the first stand-alone Rolex store in Texas, the mystique (and money) lives on (published July 27, 2014)
When the famed Swiss watchmaker opened its first stand-alone boutique in Texas this year, we had to try on a watch (or several).