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Coronet Motel / Circus Room, 2770 McCords Ferry Road: 1980s   3 comments

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I probably should remember seeing this place more, as we drove past it on the way to the beach innumerable times while I was growing up. However, I always had my nose in a book, so I was only vaguely aware of the name Circus Room and couldn't have told you where it was. Or, for that matter, *what* it was. At this remove, my understanding is that The Circus Room was actually a circus style tent set up on the grounds of the Coronet Inn at the intersection of US-601 & US-378 in Eastover, and that the tent hosted a restaurant and nightclub. Even in these days of the metro area creeping ever outwards, this is a pretty rural area, and back in the day it must have been even stranger to find a well regarded hotspot here.

What was the attraction? Google pulls up this hint from the 2006 cookbook Cookin' with Cocky II: More Than Just a Cookbook:

Bright Stevenson:

I first met Bright in the Fall of 1956. Bright owned the Coronet Motel and Circus Room nightclub in Eastover. The Circus Room had the finest food and the only mixed drinks in the Columbia area at that time.

The two ads above are from the Sumter Register in 1974 and 1976 respectively.

Amazingly, both Coronet motels still exist and still are in operation, although under different names and ownership. The Eastover location is currently an Anyday Inn and is now combined with a convenience store run in the old office.

The topic has come up in Have Your Say from time to time, and here is what some people have recalled:


The Circus Room was in the old Coronet Motel near Eastover which I think was somehow related to the motel with the same name on North Main. I know they used to advertise a lot on the radio and had quite a business at one time. I drove out to Eastover a few weeks ago and what was the Circus Room was a seedy convenience store in a no tell motel.

Tom


Tom---You are right. One thing about the Circus Room was that it featured USDA "Prime" steaks which is a rarity even for today. You could call in the morning and they'd marinate your steak all day for you. I live in Kansas now which is beef country and know of only one steakhouse type place out here where you can get USDA prime beef. John.

John Merrell


I had forgotten all about the Circus Room. This was one of a few out-in-the-boondocks restaurants where we would eat on occasion when my father felt like driving out into the country (circa 1965-68). I remember the food being pretty good and it having a totally unpretentious atmosphere, but that was when gas was 25¢ a gallon, and it was easy to justify such a long trip for a good steak. I'm sure if the Circus Room had been a couple of miles down Trenholm Road, that would have been where we would have visited most often when we ate out, which at that time was once, maybe twice a month. Ancient and forgotten fond memories, thanks John.

Michael Taylor


The Circus room is still back there, but the entire back part of the motel is living quarters for the people who run it. The woman told me they took the tent down when they moved in.

She also said the guy who built the motel back in the fifties still drops into the convenience store every day.

jamie


Coronet Motel w/ Circus Room restaurant. Actually, that was out where US 601 intersects Sumter Hwy., but the restaurant was so good that folks used to drive from Columbia all the way out to Eastover to eat there. Bright Stevenson Jr owned it. His dad owned the Coronet Motel up out North Main St., going toward Blythewood.

Sid

UPDATE 24 October 2014: Added Yellow Pages graphic from the 1970 Southern Bell phonebook.

Written by ted on October 17th, 2014

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Firefly Toys & Games, 5060 Sunset Boulevard: September 2014 (moved)   3 comments

Posted at 12:17 am in business

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I had driven past this Firefly location dozens of times over the past year or so, and never really cosidered the "& Games" part of the Firefly name. Since it was a bit off the beaten path, I had it mentally pegged as some sort of specialty toy store, perhaps educational toys, but never really considered that the "games" might be for "gamers".

In the event, it appears that they are, and the new location at 657 Saint Andrews Road continues to host gaming events.

(Hat tip to commenter James)

VK Nails, 2130 North Beltline Boulevard: October 2014   no comments

Posted at 11:07 pm in business

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I noticed as a went to Moe's the other day that VK Nails in the little strip mall across Beltline from Richland Mall had closed. Aside from Moe's this group of stores has always been about fitness and grooming, so it will be interesting to see what moves in next.

Prestige Hitech Autowerks, 3201 Two Notch Road: September 2014   7 comments

Posted at 12:23 am in business

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I did a building closing for Prestige Hitech Autowerks when they moved from their old location on Two Notch near Fontaine into the old Dick Dyer Body Shop location at Two Notch and Windover. That was around August 2013, so they lasted a bit over a year in the new location.

In the meantime, as I noted here, the follow-on business at their old location has closed as well.

(Hat tip to commenter David Lee)

Written by ted on October 8th, 2014

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Cash-O-Matic, 2739 Broad River Road: 2013   no comments

Posted at 11:05 pm in business

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Here's another Cash-O-Matic, this one in a nice little brick building on Broad River Road next to the old George's Book Exchange.

Unlike a lot of small businesses on Broad, this building was not an old converted house, but I'm not able to guess what it in fact was (since clearly it predates Cash-O-Matic).

I have to say once again, that I really like the name which has a certain rat-pack snap to it.

Written by ted on September 30th, 2014

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Bubba's Bingo, 6908 Two Notch Road: 2014   no comments

Posted at 11:01 pm in business

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O-23..

This former bingo hall is in the strip on Two notch which backs up againgst the original Best Buy and has stoplight access at the Columbia Mall perimeter road. Interestingly, Best Buy itself has no access to this stoplight. It always surprised me a little that they didn't negotiate some sort of cut through for that..

Apparently Bingo is, or at least was, pretty popular in Dentsville, as this place is only a few blocks from this former parlor on O'Neil Court.

Note the phone number -- It's not PENNsylvania Sixty-Five Oh Oh Oh, but it's close.

Written by ted on September 19th, 2014

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Advance Til Payday, 1807 Decker Boulevard Suite 15: 2013   1 comment

Posted at 10:56 pm in business

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One more empty storefront in Columbia's volatile payday lending market, this little cash advance outlet was in the same (Family Dollar) plaza as this Coin Laundry -- I'm not sure why the street address here is 1807 instead of 1735, but that seems to be the case.

UPDATE 17 Sept 2014 -- Oops, I misplaced where I took this -- it is *not* in the Family Dollar plaza, but a little further up towards Two Notch.

Written by ted on September 16th, 2014

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National Pride Car Wash, 2416 Broad River Road: 2014 (for sale)   12 comments

Posted at 11:37 pm in business

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I noticed this summer that the self-service car wash more or less across from the old Blockbuster is up for sale. I have not been by for a month or so, but at the time it appeared the place would stay in operation until sold.

I don't find much information about the place online, but back in 2003, the USC football team did a charity event there.

Written by ted on September 12th, 2014

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Coin Laundry, 1735 Decker Boulevard Unit 30: late 2000s   1 comment

Posted at 12:50 am in business

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This laundromat was in the Family Dollar plaza on Decker. I've been to several of the coin laundries on Decker over the years when either the washer or dryer was on the blink. My favorite is the one in front of the old Target which has very active family management -- there was always someone sweeping, mopping or otherwise keeping the place tidy, and once the woman in charge was taken aback by my incompetence at shirt folding and showed me how to do it right (it didn't take, I'm afraid). This one I never made it to.

The marquee name of Coin Laundry seems to be more a description than an official name, so I'm not exactly sure when it closed, but I'm guessing within the last few years.

Written by ted on September 11th, 2014

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Barbering On The Boulevard, 1060 Lake Murray Boulevard: Summer 2014   3 comments

Posted at 11:31 pm in business

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This little barbershop on Lake Murray Boulevard has closed up shop and has apparently gone from trying to lease all or part to being up for sale. A little sign in back notes that one of the barbers has moved on to a spot on Saint Andrews Drive.

Like Charlie's on Rosewood, this place had one of the now rare motorized spinning barber poles which I've always liked.

(Hat tip to commenter Tom)

Written by ted on August 24th, 2014

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