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Residents, employees, and visitors in The Woodlands benefit from an abundance of retail and culinary options, setting a remarkable standard for a community of our size. The variety and quality of these offerings provides the opportunity to turn routine tasks into engaging experiences that unite individuals, foster connections, and create shared memories.

The Woodlands serves as a trendsetting destination for retail, dining and entertainment, highlighting a thriving environment with Market Street, Hughes Landing and The Woodlands Mall. Its success in The Woodlands is unmistakable, as illustrated by the $72.2 million sales tax collection in 2023, marking a notable 6% increase from the previous year, according to The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership. Retail success plays a significant role in maintaining the low tax rate that residents pay to The Woodlands Township, whose budget relies far more on sales tax than individual property tax.

The Woodlands Mall Grand Opening
The Woodlands Mall Grand Opening

“The appeal of The Woodlands reflects the robust demand for physical retail locations, highlighting the economic vitality of our community as a preferred destination for businesses and shoppers alike,” said Jim Carman, President, Houston Region for Howard Hughes. “We continue to address the evolving needs of our community, while emphasizing urban walkability, integrating green spaces and creating gathering areas to elevate the overall consumer experience.”

Founder of The Woodlands, George Mitchell, pioneered the community vision for retail and dining in village centers.

Roots of Retail in Grogan’s Mill Village Center

In 1978, Jamail’s, the inaugural grocer in The Woodlands, first welcomed shoppers in what is now Grogan’s Mill Village Center. Jamail’s connected to The Wharf, which is now a section of The Woodlands Resort. Featuring a pharmacy, boutique shopping and an indoor ice rink, The Wharf received its name as it connected to Lake Harrison.

Jamail’s in 1978

Today, Howard Hughes is revitalizing Grogan’s Mill Village Center, the first village center to open in The Woodlands. The redesigned lifestyle hub will highlight a cutting-edge Montgomery County Library and Community Center, complemented by a diverse array of retail, restaurants and lifestyle services. Grogan’s Mill Village Center boasts an ideal location near neighborhoods and in close proximity to The Woodlands Town Center and Interstate 45.

Mitchell envisioned village centers to streamline residents’ tasks, allowing them to fulfill multiple needs in one trip at a conveniently located destination near their residences, a commitment Howard Hughes continued through the years. However, as residents’ preferences and habits evolve in their utilization of grocery stores, retail uses, restaurants, and service providers, it is imperative that our village centers also evolve to meet these changing demands and maintain their relevance in the community.

Grogan’s Mill Village Center
Montgomery County Library and Community Center

Evolving Retail Dynamics  

In 1994, The Woodlands Mall opened, marking the introduction of a regional shopping center to the community. A decade later in 2004, The Woodlands Mall underwent an outdoor expansion to connect to The Woodlands Waterway, with future expansion plans now in the pipeline.

“Retail in The Woodlands can mean several things. Retail can mean fashion and expression along with a meaning of progress. In a different context, retail can mean employment opportunities. However, one decides to define it, retail is evolving to fit the needs of The Woodlands community,” said Ted Harris, Senior General Manager of The Woodlands Mall, owned by Brookfield Properties.

Also in 2004, Market Street opened a 34-acre outdoor destination that pioneered the local concept of a park within the center for events. Market Street consistently adds new shopping and dining options to enhance the trends for visitors and residents alike.

Photo Courtesy of Market Street

“Retail shopping centers have evolved from simply being a place to shop to becoming multifaceted destinations that offer a wide range of experiences for visitors,” said Jenny Taylor, General Manager for Market Street, developed by Trademark Property Company. “As the General Manager of this shopping center, I am committed to ensuring that our center continues to adapt and grow to meet the changing needs and preferences of our customers. We are constantly exploring new trends and technologies to enhance the shopping experience, create a sense of community, and provide a welcoming environment for all who visit us.”

The opening of retail in Hughes Landing in 2015 marked a significant milestone in The Woodlands, reshaping its culture by integrating shopping, dining, Class A office buildings, premier amenities, upscale multifamily residences, hospitality, water recreation, interactive art and entertainment. Spanning 79 acres, this mixed-use development provides an urban, walkable environment set against the picturesque backdrop of 200-acre Lake Woodlands.

Today, The Woodlands continue to meet the market demands. “We take great pride in The Woodlands and the array of retailers, restaurants and entertainment options, encompassing both locally owned businesses and national brands,” noted Carman. “Making sure these uses remaining best-in-class plays a vital role as The Woodlands maintains its status as one of the premier communities in the nation, ensuring its appeal and vitality now and for generations to come.”


Many thanks to The Woodlands 50th Anniversary Sponsors:

FOUNDING – Howard Hughes

PRODUCER – The Woodlands Township

LEGACY – Woodforest National Bank

HERITAGE – Waste Connections Inc.

GOLD – Entergy Texas, Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital

SILVER – SVN/JBeard Real Estate, The John Cooper School