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Russian General Store Drops ‘Russian’ Amid Ukraine Invasion

A well-known store in Houston’s diverse offering in international markets will look a little different right now.

The owners of the Russian general store, located at 9629 Hillcroft St., removed “Russian” from the marquee above the store entrance in the last week after the invasion of Ukraine. The owner, reached by phone on Friday, declined an interview, but said it was her decision. She did not give her name. The store, which sells Russian and Eastern European foods and products, is still open and several members of the community hope that it will be so.

“When we go, let’s make sure they understand they’re a valued neighbor,” said a poster on neighborhood social network NextDoor. “If everyone who placed a heart on a different message urging us to support Ukraine would support them, they might feel the love. And you’ll love their bread.”

“They have wonderful specialty dishes, halva, salami, kimchi, really good vilnius rye, all kinds of little treats,” another wrote. “I will try to get there this week and every week as long as the conflict lasts.”

“I’ve lived here in Braeburn Terrace for almost 25 years and it’s been a constant,” someone else posted. “I’ve read some of the comments above and I want to echo the same thing: here, where we are now, this is who we are. American, Ukrainian, Russian… we’re all now part of a community that surrounds us every day. It is, after all, our home. We are here together now.

The nesting dolls are a find at the Russian General Store in Hillcroft and Braeswood.Nathan Lindstrom/For the Chronicle

It is the latest and one of the most visible reminders of how Houston is responding to Russian aggression against the sovereign country. Hundreds protested outside the Russian Embassy in February, urging President Joe Biden to ban US ambassadors and increase intervention against Russia in Ukraine. North of downtown, the bridge that usually hosted the “Be Someone” sign has been transformed to read “No War Know Peace”.

A number of Houston restaurants are also stepping up to serve the people of Ukraine through donations. Several oil and gas companies with ties to Houston have also announced plans to dissolve their business interests in Russia.

The Russian General Store is loved by many in Houston and beyond. Recently, Reddit user u/inkscraper went to the store and documented his findings and criticisms in a comic book which features some of the best the store has to offer.