Archive for July, 2008
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Technically speaking, Waccamaw Pottery was only one store at this landmark dead mall, but the way I recall it, the name was casually used for the whole complex which was centered around it. Back in the 70s and 80s, the outlet mall was a real retail powerhouse on the Grand Strand, and this despite not having a single store that I as a teen wanted to go to. In fact, as I remember it, the place was notorious amongst my whole extended family as a somewhere "grown-ups" liked to go for hours and which we couldn't stand. I remember being in the car with several cousins sometime after my sister had started to drive. As we headed up US-17 towards Myrtle Beach, she suddenly hunched over, gripped the wheel tightly, put on a maniacal expression and announced "This car is going to Waccamaw Pottery and there's nothing you can do about it!"
I can honestly say I don't ever recall buying a single thing here. In fact, I can only recall ever seeing one thing that was even interesting there: In the 70s Playboy printed up a book version of some of their Bo Derek pictorials in advance of the movie "10", and one ended up on a discount table at one of the Waccamaw stores. Of course I couldn't buy it, but it certainly beat browsing festive ice-cube trays or whatever..
Wikipedia says Waccamaw Pottery went under int 2001, which matches more or less what I remember for their Augusta store, but I thought I recalled their "home turf" mall here going under in the 90s. For some reason, outlet malls seemed to go into decline in general around then.
I hadn't really planned on taking these pictures, but I spent the night at the Holiday Inn on the Waterway, and as I got in the car on July 4th, there the mall was and I coudn't resist. Although the place in general is pretty delapidated, with salt spray thick on the windows, deteriorating signage, and some graphitti, there are still some businesses hanging on in the west-most part. In particular, a design operation, a furniture store and a taxi operation. Apparently Hardrock Park is using some rooms in the main area as well (and you can see one of the Hardrock roller-coasters in the background of some of the shots). Some places apparently went under very quickly. You'll notice all the furnishings still in the ice-cream shop, and the Haggar 18 Wheeler (and Haggar history plaques) still in the Haggar store.
The place is still under active scrutiny too. You'll notice in the last picture, there is a security truck reflected in the windows behind me. I could see the reflection, of course, so I stopped what I had been doing, which was leaning suspiciously against the doors while I took some shots through the glass, stepped back and made a show of ostentatiously taking that last picture to make clear that I had a camera and that's what I had been doing. To avoid any pointed questions, when I turned around, I acted like the security guy was just who I had been looking for, and started plying him with questions about the future of the property. He was actually a nice guy and indicated there there were definite plans though he couldn't talk about them yet. We both knew he had made his point without having to say anything about trespassing, and I had plenty of pictures anyway, so I called it a day and headed for lunch.
This car isn't heading for Waccamaw Pottery..
Here's the thing. If you're going to call yourself The Grilled Cheese Company, you ought to have really great grilled cheese sandwiches.
I was feeling pretty low last year with a bad cold (which wasn't getting any better as in the end it turned out to be a sinus infection and to need antibiotics..), and I wanted some comfort food. A good grilled cheese sandwich sounded like it would really fill the bill, so I went out to Sandhill.
I guess what I was subconsciously expecting was some sort of deluxe affair with two or three kinds of cheese grilled between Texas toast. What I got was apparently a Kraft Processed American Cheese Food single between two slices of Sunbeam, and it was a considerable disappointment in a day that was already not going well.
Read whatever you'd like into my judgement given my general maliase and grumpiness that day, but I see the place is now gone, so I'm thinking that even if everyone else liked what they got, they also realized they could do the exact same thing at home with the ingredients they already had.
Antibiotics on the other hand, are great.
UPDATE 15 May 2010: Added full street address, tags.
The Atlantic Twin theater was on Two Notch road across from what is now Dick Dyer Toyota. It was something of an "outlying" theater, neither downtown, nor in Five Points, and I think probably the "Oh, I always forget about that one" location probably played a part in its eventual downfall. The fact that that section of Two Notch gradually became rather down-at-the-heels over the years didn't help either. Nonetheless, The Atlantic was the site of the only movie birthday party I ever had. It would have either been in 1967 for my sixth birthday or 1968 for my seventh. I'd say 67, but IMDB says the movie came out several weeks after my birthday, so either I had a very late party, or the film came back for second-run showings the next year.
At any rate, my mother and father arranged to take two carloads of my little friends (you could never pack cars like that today!) to The Atlantic to see "Dr. Dolittle" with Rex Harrison. At the time (and today) the film was universally panned by critics, and the ability of the studio to secure an Oscar for it is often pointed to as the last time the "studio system" was able to rig the awards. Be we liked it!
If I could talk to the animals --
Learn their languages...
Maybe take an animal degree!
The songs were catchy, and the humor with things like the Pushmepullyou wasn't over our heads, and I think we all got popcorn and drinks. Then we went back to my house and had cake..
Anyway, as I alluded above, some time after that The Atlantic fell on hard times. By the late 70s, it had become a porno-palace, and eventually the building itself was torn down. Today there is some sort of social-services building with a DSS branch there. The actual theater was in the lower part of the parking lot, about where the last picture indicates.
Not a big step forward, you'll agree.
If I spoke slang to orangutans
The advantages why any fool on earth could plainly see!
Discussing Eastern art and dramas
With intellectual llamas
That’s a big step forward you’ll agree!
UPDATE 13 September 2009: Added showtime advertisement from The State, 15 April 1973.
UPDATE 12 April 2010: Added full street address to the post title.
Grices (their sign doesn't use an apostrophe, so I won't either) was a long established open-air market on Huger (that's "You-Gee" for you non-natives) Street downtown betwen Gervais & Blossom. I visited so few times, and those all when I was a kid, that I confess I'm a little fuzzy on their whole concept, but I think they had produce, some plants and crafty things like grapevine wreaths. I know my mother liked to stop there from time to time, but I can't really recall anything specific that she bought.
The sign suggests that they thought their main business was "Fruit Baskets", but this Columbia Star story suggests they were a "produce, flower and accessory market". The story also establishes that they closed in 2006; I would have put the date lots earlier. I guess it goes to show "out of sight, out of mind".