The property on the northeast corner of SH 105 at SH 146 in Moss Hill, previously Fitzpak Grocery Store, is under contract between current owner, Phil Fitzgerald, and buyer Spring-based Fuel Maxx. A small billboard sign posted on the property in late September announces Fuel Maxx’s plans to build a corner store that includes an RV park, hotel and Checkers Restaurant.
Repeated calls to Fuel Maxx by Bluebonnet News have so far gone unanswered. Fitzgerald said Fuel Maxx is not expected to close on the property for another 90 days. According to Fitzgerald, it could come as late as January.
“It will take a little bit of time to do inspections,” Fitzgerald said. “The surveyors are already doing their work.”
Fitzgerald is setting aside a roughly 20-foot-wide swath of land behind Moss Hill United Pentecostal Church to donate to the church.
“That will let the church get their property line away from the church building,” he said.
After owning the corner property for 18 years, Fitzgerald has mixed emotions about it, but is happy to see the property developed for the good of the community.
“Our kids are all grown and at our age, we don’t want to manage it ourselves,” said Fitzgerald, explaining why he made the decision to sell the property. “I will be sad to see it go but it will be good for the community to have the new store. It’s going to be a heckuva facility there.”
Over the course of his lifetime, Fitzgerald has watched the businesses in Moss Hill evolve. As a young boy, he recalls a small community post office that operated out of the Pankratz store, where Fitzpak is now located.
“People could go and pick up their mail at the store. There was a mechanic shop and a wood-burning stove in the middle of the store,” he said.
Around 1976, the store changed hands and became Dixie Burger, which then became Hilltop Cafe. Fitzgerald’s aunt, Marilyn Joyner, owned the property briefly before selling it to Pete Small, according to Fitzgerald.
“Pete tore the old building down and built the store that is there now,” Fitzgerald said. “It was lost in a foreclosure. Then Harry Holloway bought it and leased it to Jim Matlock. Other members of the Matlock family operated it after Jim. Then Holloway sold it to me in 2000.”
At the time, Fitzgerald owned the property on the opposite side of SH 105 where he operated a general store. With the purchase of the new store, which he expanded to include a small hotel, Fitzgerald leased his former building to other entrepreneurs. Sometime before 2008, Fitzgerald’s property on the southeast corner became the location of Simply Country Restaurant.
“The corner, over the years, has seen some changes. Before the road became known as Highway 105, it was FM 162, and the road ended in Tarkington,” he said. “Highway 105 is the first east-west bypass around Harris County. To get through Harris County any other way, you will have to travel I-10. A lot of the truckers learned over the years to avoid Harris County traffic, take 105.”
Fuel Maxx has another store under construction just a few miles away in Tarkington at the intersection of FM 2518 and SH 105.