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Archive for October, 2008

2008 SC State Fair, Fairgrounds: 19 October 2008   8 comments

Posted at 2:12 am in attraction,entertainment,events,venue

OK, perhaps it is a cheat to do a closing on an annual event, and doing this many pictures is certainly way into overkill territory, but I do like the Fair, and I really like neon! Some of the night pictures came out really well, some are just so-so -- the closing-cam is a circa 2001 model that is definitely not meant for anything like night available-light photography but the results are interesting (to me at any rate).

Signs of the times, I suppose, but I didn't see the video game tent anywere back in the midway this year. This may be an artifact of the new(ish) operator. I think in the old days it was Deggler, then Conklin and now American Amusements or something like that. Also, no freakshow of any kind. The had kinder-gentler freak shows (ie, no actual "freaks": "Zoma, the jungle boy!") as late as the 1980s. And I think it's been many years since there was one, but it just occurred to me this year that I hadn't seen the Bingo tent either.

These first shots are from 22 September when I took two photos down to the Cantey building to enter them in the art show. (I thought there were better than some of the stuff that got included, but in the event, both were "juried out" of the show -- oh well!). At this point basically nothing is set up except the permanent buildings (and the sky ride).

The day shots were actually taken on 19 October, after the night shots, but it seems more normal to include them here first since 'day' precedes 'night'.

These night shots were taken on 10 October from about 9pm to about closing time at 11pm. The handwriting computer has been there for my entire life (as far as I can remember anyway!) I don't think they even make the pretense that it's a 'real' computer anymore, (in the beginning, it did look very futuristic and impressive).

These final shots come from Monday 20 October when I went back to the Cantey building to pick up the photos. Almost the entire midway was already gone -- those guys work fast!

UPDATE 14 July 2009: If you enjoyed this post, you can buy products printed with some of these images at the Columbia Closings web store.

Written by ted on October 22nd, 2008

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Ashley Furniture Homestore, 108 Harbison Boulevard: September 2008 (open again)   3 comments

Posted at 9:01 pm in stores

This location of Ashley Furniture Homestore is undergoing the same problems, from the same ownership transfer as the one at Sandhill. I don't really have anything specific to this store to say, but I like the architecture of this one a lot better than the other one, so I'm going ahead. I suspect this store can be a bit more flamboyant because it has its own lot rather than having to conform to a mall's style regime. I also like that someone has been using one of the tables as a desk -- that's a homey touch.

UPDATE:

The place now has a "for sale" sign up on the lot. Here's a (very poor) nighttime picture

UPDATE 4 May 2009 In business again:

UPDATE 12 April 2010: Added full street address and "open again" notice to post title.

Written by ted on October 20th, 2008

School Kids Records & Tapes, Harden Street and Main Street: 1980s   12 comments

Posted at 10:30 pm in historic,stores

I've written about The Record Bar, Budget Tapes & Records, and Coconuts Music. School Kids is yet another record store that isn't around anymore.

As I recall it, the Harden Street location was in the same block and on the same side of the road as the old Eckerds and that hot-dog place that used to be at the corner of Harden and Greene. I can only definitely remember going there once, while I was living on campus in the early 80s. In those days, I had very little money given that I had no job and was on the "ticket book" plan for meals, so my usual destination when I would go record shopping was Papa Jazz used store, and after that, Peaches. I can only recall School Kids in kind of a negatively-defined way. I just remember thinking something like Hey, this place isn't as good as Peaches. It was certainly a smaller store than peaches, I remember that for sure. As for the other, who knows what I would think nowdays? My tastes have certainly expanded, and the store must have had something to keep it going a block from Peaches. (Although I suppose in the end, neither chain did..)

I see from the Yellow Pages ad that there was also a Main Street location. I don't believe I ever visited that one. Mapquest says it's in the first block of Main, near and on the same side of the street as the old Capitol Restaurant. I'm a little fuzzy on what's in that block now, but it wouldn't surprise me if the building were gone. At any rate School Kids has long since graduated from this vale of tears.

Written by ted on October 19th, 2008

Continental Sound, 7032 Two Notch Road: 1990s   11 comments

Posted at 11:25 pm in historic,stores

In a comment on a previous post commenter "Jonathan" identified this building on Two Notch Road across from Columbia Mall as Continental Sound. If not for that, I probably would just think of it as "that radio building".

The place is now some sort of loan operation called Cash -n- Dash and has been remodeled, so you can't tell it now, but at one time the whole front of this building was designed to look like a dashboard radio/cassette player. What is now the left star was then the volume knob, while the right star was the tuning knob. I believe the front windows did not have the opaque blue window then so they looked like a cassete insertion slot. I also believe that there was a digital tuning display above the windows. (Though they were not common in cars until later). In the beginning, it was set to "104.7" which was WNOK, which was a rock station at the time. Later, for whatever reason (advertising bucks, new manager whatever) the tuning of the building was changed to another station. My memory says it was WCOS, which was a country station, but I could be wrong.

At one time Continental Sound commercials were ubiquitous on Columbia television, so I really should remember exactly what they did. In fact I have only a vague idea that they sold and installed car stereos because the rest of the commercial was what drew my (and everybody's) attention. Their commercials were always tagged by a girl delivering the catch phrase Sounds Real Good! in a really appealing manner. I say "catch phrase", but I believe it was just meant to be a one-time commercial closing line, until she sold it so well that they went on to feature it in every commercial they did. Again, my memory may be playing me false as it often does, but I believe they actually used the same footage all the time, so perhaps the girl was never able to give the line the same oomph in later readings. Eventually, they did change it -- sort of. The original "sounds real good" girl was average looking -- perfectly OK, but not actress/model quality in the looks department. The final "sounds real good" commercials used a sexier girl who lip synched to the original girl's line.

I don't know what happened to Continental Sound. I think they folded or moved in the 1990s. Google suggests that after that the building was home to Big Apple Music which, I think, left the building's radio motif alone. I can understand why Cash -n- Dash wanted to change it -- it's certainly not what you would expect for that type of operation and would tend to confuse casual traffic, but it's still a shame to lose such a unique building. Though I suppose in a few years parents would have had to explain what a "cassette" was anyway..

Written by ted on October 18th, 2008

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Linens-n-Things, 10204-C Two Notch Road: October 2008   17 comments

Posted at 3:45 pm in stores

This store has one of those vague names I dislike, or maybe half vague. I guess I wouldn't mind a vague name like Good Stuff, but when it's half specific and have vague (not to mention cutsey) like Linens-n-Things, I start to wonder What kind of things?. (As you might guess, I don't like Bed, Bath & Beyond as a name either..).

Linens-n-Things is in the new strip out on Two Notch near Sandhill which has Target and Michaels. It at one time also had OfficeMax, which is now a Haloween store (and which I would expect to close soon after the 31st). If I were Michaels, I'd be a bit worrried. Target is a destination store, and people are going to come out for it regardless, but the aggregate traffic for the strip as a whole is going to be hit pretty bad I would think.

It was raining pretty steadily when I took these pictures, and they had one of those guys who stands on the road and waves the closing/discount sign out on Two Notch getting thoroughly soaked. Normally October in South Carolina is about the best time and place to do something like that, but today he just ran out of luck.

UPDATE 31 October 2011 -- As commenter Andrew mentions, there is ongoing work at this storefront:

Written by ted on October 17th, 2008

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O'Charley's / Sticky Fingers Ribhouse, 7001 Parklane Road (Columbia Mall Outparcel): mid 2000s   12 comments

Posted at 11:23 pm in historic,restaurants

Sticky Fingers was yet another victim of the declining fortunes of the Dentsville area. I believe that they were the second tenant in this building, which was built for O'Charleys before that operation followed The Olive Garden, Lizard's Thicket, Circuit City, Target, Office Depot, JC Penny and Kroger Sav-On to the new developments further out on Two Notch or at Sandhill. The closing sign says they lasted five years, though I woudn't have guessed that long.

I can't comment on their ribs as I'm not a rib guy. I believe I ate there only twice and had a burger both times. It was fine, though not spectacular. I'm a little curious about what's going on with the building. It appears to have been kept in pretty good shape, and to have not been cleaned out (notice the gum machines still in there). Furthermore, I didn't see a for-sale or for-lease sign anywhere. I wonder if Sticky Fingers is holding on to it for some reason.

UPDATE 16 May 2010 -- It's now a "brazillian-style" restaurant, Caprioska:

Their web site is here

Written by ted on October 16th, 2008

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D's Wings Northeast, 111 Sparkleberry Crossing (Clemson Road at Sparkleberry): October 2008   28 comments

Posted at 5:27 pm in restaurants

I've written about D's before. Recently in the comments people mentioned that several other D's had now closed. I was over in the Harbison area, so I decided to check that one out, but found that I actually didn't know where it was, and had been thinking of Wild Wing (which is still open). After that, I decided to check on this location, which is on Clemson Road at Sparkleberry in a strip mall which has seen a number of restaurants flounder.

What I found was a little odd in that while there was a floor sign offering a "franchaise opportunity" (when "opportunity" is used in this way, I always decode it as in the immortal phrase from Pogo: We are confonted with insurmountable opportunities!) for this restaurant, the one in "Bythewood" and the one in Harbison, all the lights were still on, and the place looked as though it had been straightened up for business, not closing. Nonetheless it wasn't open. Still, it looked so not closed that I hesitated to post on it. Then when I was on my way to Brixx the other night I stopped by again and saw a very definite sign saying that the place would be reopened on 16 October, though it also used the dreaded "renovations" word which often indicates more of a fond wish to re-open someday than anything else (especially as no renovation work was visible through the windows). So, we will see tomorrow!

UPDATE 17 Oct 2008:

Well, they did not reopen on 16 October..

UPDATE 6 May 2009: They are definitely gone for good now, so I have taken the "(temporary?)" tag off the post title. I have also updated the post title with the full street address of the store, and added the word "Northeast" to the store name.

UPDATE 10 Jan 2010: A new operation "7 Grill & Bar" is moving into the old "D's" slot:

UPDATE 28 April 2010 -- The D's replacement, 7 Grill is now open:

UPDATE 11 December 2012: Interesting tip from commenter Frank to the effect that D's will be reopening here soon. These pictures pretty much confirm it. The 7 Grill marquee is still up, but the interior has been filled with D's stuff. In fact, that cigar store Indian is almost certainly the one from D's on Beltline so it would appear that the Beltline store is moving here!

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Written by ted on October 15th, 2008

OK Carbs, 252 Harbison Boulevard: mid 2000s   4 comments

Posted at 5:43 pm in stores

My memory is a bit unclear, but OK Carbs was in one of these storefronts (all different "suites" at 252 Harbison). This is the (generally) horseshoe-shaped strip mall that has Barnes & Noble and The Olive Garden. With the sudden rise to fame of the Atkins Diet and its emphasis on counting carbohydrates instead of fats, it was inevitable that someone was going to figure out (or attempt to figure out) a way to make money off the latest craze. I'm sure there were others in town, but OK Carbs was the one that caught my eye because I hit the Harbison Barnes & Noble fairly often (since, unlike the Richland Mall one, it actually is open during the hours you would expect a Barnes & Noble to be open..). I didn't follow the Atkins diet (my personal belief is that the best diet is eat less & exercise more, not that I follow that one either!), but I always respect someone trying to make a buck off of a trend. In the event, I don't know if they pulled out in time to finish ahead or if they rode it into the ground, but whichever case, OK Carbs, like Dr. Atkins, is no longer with us.

Written by ted on October 14th, 2008

The (Original) Keg O'Nails, 3008 Rosewood Drive: October 2008   13 comments

Posted at 1:15 am in restaurants

For many years, The Keg O'Nails or perhaps a Keg O'Nails sat down at the other end of Rosewood, in the Jim Casey Fireworks lot near Midlands Tech. I add the perhaps clause because there was a good deal of hoo-ha surrounding the "move" to the current location across from the Dairy Bar. I forget most if not all of the details now, but it was something like two people thought they had the right to the name "Keg O'Nails", and one wanted to leave it where it was and the other wanted to move it. I imagine that this is the reason for the word "Original" in the name of the current restaurant much as Bill Pinkney had to bill his band as "The Original Drifters" rather than simply "The Drifters". The hole in this theory is that the (apparently now also closed) restaurant that stayed at Jim Casey's was called The French Quarter rather than The Keg O'Nails.

At any rate, I never ate at the old location and only once at the new. I had a burger, and it was quite good -- nice if you happened to be in the area, but for me not worth driving over to Rosewood as a destination. There is no signage of any kind on the place indicating why it closed, or even that it is closed (though the doors being locked and the lack of staff is rather a giveaway there).

Thanks to commenters "Justin" & "O'Reilly" for the heads up!

UPDATE 16 April 2012 -- It's now an Ole Timey Meat Market:

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UPDATE 25 April 2012: Added the full street addres to the post title.

Written by ted on October 14th, 2008

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Sears Gas, Columbia Mall outparcel: 1970s   11 comments

Posted at 12:36 am in historic,stores

By the time Sears moved from Harden Street to Columbia Mall, it was long past the catalog glory days of being the company you could by anything from, but it hadn't yet been so bloodied in the retail wars that it would reject odd ideas out of hand.

This concrete slab in the Columbia Mall parking lot by the Charleston Crab House (and still actually owned by Sears to judge from the tow-away signs) was one of them. Over this slab was a canopy, and under the canopy was an island with a number of Sears-branded gas pumps. I don't remember a whole lot about the place as we only filled up one of two times there. I'm pretty sure it was self-serve, but since there was no such thing as electronic credit card reading pumps at the time, there certainly would have been a cashiers shed with an attendant. You could pay with cash, or, of-course, with your Sears Card.

My memory is that the place was an experiment that didn't last too long. I don't know exactly what happened, but I can hazard some guesses. First, the location was not convenient unless you were already at the mall. Getting in and out of the mall parking lot was (and is) much more time consuming than stoping at a corner station. Second, in the 70s people actually had some brand loyalty to different gas chains, and felt that name-brand gas was a better product than generic. Now we tend to think it's like sugar, and there's no problem buying Domino's if Dixie Crystals is more expensive. Third, at some point in the 70s (I believe) there was a major scandal about Sears's auto repair operation ripping people off (that's why about all they will do nowadays is change tires or batteries). The opprobrium from that may have tainted their gas business in people's minds. Fourth, it is simply the fact that selling gas was not in the core retail market Sears was (is..) trying to serve. As their fortunes declined, they may have decided that selling gas was a distraction and brand-dillution. (Though I have seen Wal-Mart trying the concept recently..).

At any rate, the place closed after not too many years. The canopy stood for several years after that, but was itself finally torn down. I don't remember the tanks being torn out, and there are still some access points, so perhaps they are still there (though that seems like an enviromental cleanup bill waiting to happen if it really is the case).

Written by ted on October 13th, 2008

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