This Trader Joe's Location Is Actually An Old Movie Theater

Trader Joe's is already a magical shopping experience within itself, so the fact that this Houston, Texas-based location doubles as a mid-1900s time machine is enough to warrant a grocery store field trip. Located at 2922 South Shepherd is a recently redeveloped Trader Joe's storefront; however, the bones and some of the Art Deco flair of the building have been around since 1939, according to Insider. *Gasp!*

A historic landmark, the famous Art Deco building called the Alabama Theater was originally designed by local Dallas architect W. Scott Dunne as a community space for "launching people out of the Depression," per Chron. The theater held 800 seats, a balcony like that of a live-action theater, and was known for showing film titles for long periods of time — "The Sound of Music" was there for over a year.

While the Trader Joe's is only 8 years old, its charm boasts total late '30s early '40s nostalgia. For starters, you're greeted with the original cinema marquee sign and the grocery chain kept the ceiling ornament-style Art Deco work (via Insider). There's also a section of the balcony, which includes five original stadium theater seats, that has remained untouched.

This isn't the first time the Alabama Theater has been renovated

Since the Alabama Theater closed its doors in 1983, developers have had their eyes set on demolishing and reinventing the plot of land it sits on, as Insider reports. Luckily, preservationist organizations got involved and bits and pieces of the historic building are still around today.

Prior to its grocery store makeover in 2012, the theater was home to Bookstop, a book lover's paradise filled with aisles and aisles of books and other literature. At the time, restoration professionals Judith Urrutia and Billy Lawrence kept a lot of the original structure including the screen wall and auditorium murals, according to Houston Deco. The space became vacant again in 2009 when Barnes & Noble, which owned Bookstop, moved the bookstore to a new, popular destination with much more foot traffic: a shopping mall. Bookstop occupied the space for 25 years from 1984 to 2009.

The Alabama Theater building was then controlled by Weingarten Realty Investors, who completely butchered the building to almost bare bones, in hopes of attracting new possible tenants (via Houston Deco). Trader Joe's held its grand opening three years later.