Houston Map Company owner hopes to ‘make maps cool again’

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Customers coming into Houston Map Company at 1212 Durham Drive, Houston, either know exactly what they are looking for or have no idea what to expect, owner Steve Hubbs said.

“I think people don’t realize everything we can do,” he said. “But we’re here to make maps cool again.”

Hubbs has worked at Houston Map Company for over 20 years and took over as owner in 2017. When he first started, the store served as a trusted place for people planning road trips, designating delivery routes or simply getting to know the city.

As digital GPS became more popular, Houston Map Company doubled down on its niche offerings, such as custom-made maps for first responders, government agencies and hunters tracking wild game, Hubbs said. It also prompted him to get creative.

Now, the store sells everything from framed historical maps for decor to a ping-pong table with a map of Houston printed onto its base. Hubbs makes maps to sell but also to get customers interested in what they can custom order.

“We’ll put a map up here with calendar and a whiteboard just to get people thinking,” Hubb said.

The store also offers globes, pocket maps and atlases. For custom orders, Hubbs can design color schemes, print maps onto whiteboards or corkboards with calendars or charts attached, or provide zoomed-in maps with greater detail than even some GPS can provide, he said. The shop has even made a 12-by-40-foot wall map, Hubbs said.

As someone who had his wife ask him to limit their house to one map per room, Hubbs said a changing industry will not deter his love for cartography and sharing it with others.

“A lot of people come in and say, ‘keep it up,’ and we get a lot of encouragement,” he said. “It seems like the maps have kind of been making a resurgence. People are coming back to them.”

Houston Map Company
1212 Durham Drive, Houston
832-831-4823
www.keymaps.com
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sun.

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Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered health care and public education in Austin.
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