American dream: June is a major milestone month for John White. This month, White marks the 10-year anniversary of his business, John’s Shutters and Repair and the completion of a new, 4,800-square-foot office and manufacturing plant at 10511 state Highway 6 in Hitchcock. Meanwhile, White recently finalized the acquisition of Aramco Storm Protection from Tony Sampler and Larry Carney, who bought the Galveston company in July 2012 after the 2011 death of its president, Jim Milan.
White acquired the manufacturing capabilities and materials, but not the island building, 5105 Broadway.
With the acquisition of Aramco, White is coming full circle, he said. He began as a helper on a truck at Aramco, giving two weeks notice to the company 10 years ago this month to strike out on his own.
“I quit my job and started the American dream,” White said. The manufacturing plant in Hitchcock is red, white and blue.
John’s Shutters and Repair mainly offers hurricane protection products, including exterior roll-up and accordion shutters along with outside blinds and screens.
Meanwhile, Quality Cleaners & Laundry, 5117 Broadway, will expand some of its operations into the Aramco building and sublet the rest. Stay tuned.
Keen on Kemah: Some major national retailers are lining up to be a part of the $16 million development called The Shoppes at Kemah.
GBT Realty Corp., which on May 19 acquired an 11.7-acre center along Deke Slayton Highway, west of state Highway 146 from Kemah Marketplace, reports the initial tenant lineup at the planned 89,000-square-foot center includes Petco, Marshalls, Ross Dress for Less, Ulta Beauty and Rack Room Shoes. With those tenants secured, the retail center is 92 percent leased, with about only 6,400 square feet available. GBT Realty Corp. is the developer. The firm acquired the parcel for $2.1 million. The shopping center is shadow-anchored by Wal-Mart. Look for crews to begin work on the development this month.
Fired up: Ohio-based PizzaFire hopes to take a slice out of the market with last week’s opening of its League City eatery in Pinnacle Park, a 100-acre mixed-use town center at Interstate 45 and Big League Parkway.
PizzaFire, which moved into a 2,965-square-foot space, bills itself as a place where patrons customize their own pizzas. The League City site is the first Texas location with plans for more to open in the region.
Catch of the day: After a two-year hiatus, the Marina Bar & Grill has reopened at Galveston Yacht Basin, 715 N. Holiday Drive, on the island. Marina Bar & Grill offers seafood, burgers, shrimp po’boys, fish and chips and more. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Sundays and is open to the public, meaning you don’t have to be a member of the Galveston Yacht Basin to dine there.
Construction defects in the building had forced the long closure of the restaurant, officials said.
What’s that? In other marina dining news, that building rising at Seabrook Marina & Shipyard, 1900 Shipyard Drive, is for a restaurant building, marina officials confirm. But the restaurant concept isn’t yet known. The marina is building the site to lease to a restaurant operator.
Seabrook Marina had a restaurant from the early 1960s until Hurricane Ike, which struck in 2008, changed all that.
“But we are happy to say we are building bigger and better,” marina officials posted online. The restaurant will have views of the Clear Creek Channel and of sunsets on Clear Lake. It also will feature a 320-foot dock for boaters to tie up. Crews have removed the old pool to make way for the restaurant building and will add parking spaces. Stay tuned.
Who dat? A fast casual restaurant concept out of New Orleans officially opened Saturday at 300 W. Bay Area Blvd. in Webster. NOLA Poboys markets itself as an eatery committed to sharing the authentic cuisine of Southern Louisiana. Murray Tate, founder of NOLA Poboys, began selling po’boys after Hurricane Katrina devastated the City of New Orleans in 2005.
“At the time, there were almost no restaurants open,” according to the company. “An entrepreneur at heart, Murray made po’boys using a tabletop fryer in a rented warehouse space in the Central Business District. Despite the makeshift equipment and lackluster décor, his po’boys were a hit.”
During the first Jazz & Heritage Festival after Katrina, a food critic for the Gambit Weekly gave Murray a glowing review. The rest is history.
More to the story: Last week, this column buzzed that Old Moon Deli & Pie had opened at 408 23rd St. in the island downtown space formerly occupied a vintage clothing store. That store, called Vintage, moved to 2125 Church St. downtown and carries vintage clothing, jewelry, accessories, vintage toys, books about Galveston’s 1900 Storm and more. Vivian Harvey is the owner.
“It remains Galveston’s only true vintage clothing store,” Harvey said.