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Archive for May, 2009

CVS Pharmacy, 300 Knox Abbott Drive (Parkland Plaza): 17 May 2009   13 comments

Posted at 10:58 pm in stores

I wrote about this storefront before as Parkland Pharmacy. CVS was the successor to Parkland and made what was a rather interesting and quirky pharmacy into yet another chain drugstore.

I'm not a big fan of CVS in general -- for some reason they never seem quite as nice as Rite-Aid or my preferred store, Walgreen's. They do have a nice "no scent at all" liquid laundry detergent though, and this store was fine for what it was.

They have left Parkland Plaza for the new corner lot across the street opened up by the demolition of the Cinderella HoJo. When I took these pictures, there was no indication of what, if anything, would come to occupy this spot. Parkland Plaza is already hurting; they certainly don't need a longterm vacancy here.

UPDATE 24 June 2009: The move is complete, and the CVS is now open at the old HoJo site:

UPDATE 29 Oct 2010 -- To date nothing has moved into the CVS spot at Parkland Plaza:

Written by ted on May 21st, 2009

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Carolina Auto Center, 6414 Two Notch Road: 2009   4 comments

Posted at 12:05 am in stores

Actually I'm not sure of the closing date of this place -- there are so many used car places up and down Two Notch that I normally don't really pay any attention to them. But all the streamers on the lot are still up, and 2009 has been such an incredibly bad year for car dealers that it seems likely.

Written by ted on May 21st, 2009

Adult Book Store, 1001 Percival Road at Decker: 1980s   5 comments

Posted at 1:20 am in historic,stores

UPDATE 13 June 2009: The above picture is apparently the wrong spot for the adult book store, with the right spot being the corner lot (one to the left). I'll leave the first picture since people have commented on it (and its former incarnations), and add the correct one below.

I've tried a couple of times to get a decent picture of this place, but it seems that every time I go by, it's the afternoon, and the sun is against me. Anyway, this little building is on Percival Road between Decker Boulevard and Dupont Drive and has been a number of things over the years. Currently it is an El Cheapo gas station / convienience store. You can also tell from the painted-over letters on the gas island canopy that it was fairly recently a Texaco. What I recall from the 1970s and 80s is that it was an adult book store for a good many years, and the reason I recall this is one very indignant lady during the Great Ice Storm of 1979.

That storm was the biggest local event of 1979. We certainly had snow from time to time growing up, but had never seen anything like the cover of ice that descended on Columbia that day. As I recall, I went outside afterwards, and saw a bucket in our back yard. I pried it out of the ice to find that it left a neat hole with clear turf underneath, surrounded by a two-inch coat of ice. Needless to say, trees and branches were down all over the city. Our house was without power for two weeks. Nowdays, I suppose they would declare a Federal Disaster Area for anything like that, but in those days, we just coped. We had a fireplace and candles, and when things got too bad, could take a hot shower at a relative's house. We also had a transistor radio, and I remember listening to WIS's extensive coverage of the situation. The lady in question phoned in to the call-in show and expressed great ire at the fact that this adult book store had its power back, and she did not have hers. The host tried to explain that the line crews were working through the area in triage mode, and usually tried to fix the lines that would bring the most houses back at once before moving on to breaks that would bring fewer houses online. She wasn't having any of it though, and I think the host finally had to "thank" her for her opinion and hang up. Perhaps she was onto something though -- we haven't had a storm like that since the adult bookstore closed!

UPDATE 13 June 2009 See in post above about new "correct" picture. Also added the street address, 1001, to the post title.

Written by ted on May 20th, 2009

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Giant Book Sale, 1120 Bower Parkway: spring 2009   1 comment

Posted at 12:32 am in stores

I wrote about this building when it had closed as a Goody's and was about to open as a book remainder store.

I finally did get there during the holiday season, and found that I was able to pick up some Disney Princess and other kids books and knick-nacks for Christmas at pretty reasonable prices. I don't have the patience I used to have to comb over every book in this type of store for the odd bargain, but I did pick up a couple of books for myself as well. At the time, the staff wasn't sure how long the store would be open, but hoped it would go into the new year, and I believe it did and a few months beyond that, making a pretty good run for this type of thing. The building is empty again now which can't be great for the area, especially with the empty Circuit City across the road.

Written by ted on May 19th, 2009

Smokey Bones, 410 Columbiana Drive: May 2007   26 comments

Posted at 12:34 am in restaurants

I was out in the rain today in the Harbison area, and noticed this place as I drove back to the Interstate. I guess I'd heard the name Smokey Bones somewhere or other, but given my low interest in barbecue, I had no real idea where the place was, or that it was gone. From the note left on the door, I'm guessing that the same owner runs the listed Red Lobster and Olive Garden locations.

The architecture of the place is interesting. The entrance looks vaguely asian, and I wonder if the building were some sort of asian restaurant before Smokey Bones.

UPDATE 16 November 2011: Updated the closing date based on commenter Andrew's research.

Written by ted on May 18th, 2009

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Danielle Le Shay Gallerie / Make It New Company, 3620 Covenant Road: May 2009   6 comments

Posted at 1:16 am in business,stores

This building on Covenant Road behind the old Piggly WIggly has been a number of things over the years. I believe the store front is, or was, divided into two separate units, and that Danielle Le Shay Gallerie (which I take to have been a furniture store) was the large space on the left, while Make It New Company was the smaller space on the right. I'm not sure if the businesses were connected, but they both seemed to close shop at the same time (of course it might be the case that the building owner decided to sell when the leases expired or something like that). I had half-heartedly thought about taking an old metal cabinet from an aunt's house to Make It New, but as is very often the case, I never got around to it before it was too late.

There seem to be a number of vacancies in this area. The old Ravenwood Pharmacy building is vacant. The half of the Piggly Wiggly building that isn't Dollar General is still vacant, and the whole building that was the last location of Forest Lake TV is vacant.

Written by ted on May 16th, 2009

Baja's Southwestern Grill, 806 Saint Andrews Road: May 2009   9 comments

Posted at 1:28 am in restaurants

I've written about this building before, when it was a D's Wings. Since then, a Tex-Mex operation called Baja's Southwestern Grill has moved in -- and out. I was going to give them a try sometime, but in the event never got around to it until it was too late, and the restaurant curse on this building (and Saint Andrews Road in general) continues.

I think something fairly easy the owner could do to make the site viable would be to connect the parking lot to that of the gas station next door. That would give people exiting this site access to a traffic light so that left turns to get back on I-26 wouldn't be so bad. It seems like an obvious idea, so perhaps the station owners don't want the extra traffic.

Good on the owner for the forthright and informative closing door-note!

Hat tip to commenter Ken for the heads-up that Baja's was gone.

Written by ted on May 15th, 2009

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Gulf Station, 4760 Forest Drive: 1990s   3 comments

Posted at 1:38 am in business,historic,stores

This building on the corner of Forest Drive & Trenholm Road was a Gulf station during my childhood, and indeed well into my driving days. I believe it was officially identified by the owner's name (which I cannot now recall) but to us, it was just the Gulf station, or even the filling station, as it was the one where we most often filled our cars.

During most of this time, it was a full-service gas station which meant that when you pulled in, you would trip a compressed air bell by driving over the hose and a guy would walk out to take care of you. Not only would he fill your tank with Good Gulf, but would open the hood, check the oil, open the cells on the battery filling each with water if needed, check the anti-freeze and windshield wiper levels and at least eyeball your tires.

In addition to gas, this station also had a mechanic on duty and two lift bays where he could change fan-belts, hoses, thermostats, oil, headlights and the like. Over the years, we had many minor repairs done on our cars here (for more major work, we went to the dealer or Bob Andrews).

The area behind the station is very spacious, moreso than makes sense now, but during a lot of this time, Bell's Drive-In was back there in a building that is now completely gone.

The old air stations are still there (though inoperative), and always fascinated me as a kid. There was some sort of crank the attendant would work to bring up a specific PSI number on the (entirely mechanical) "display", then he would put the hose to the tire, and the machine would make a very memorable "ding" as each pound of air went in.

I'm a little fuzzy on all the details now, but the place changed character in a number of stages. First I think the mechanic went, with a drive-through carwash replacing one of the service bays then the Gulf brand went away after it was bought out by BP, then most of the Columbia BPs were changed to Union 76s. I believe that by the time it became a Union 76, it was already operating in convenience store mode with the gas totally self-service. Though the Union 76 signage is much more prominent, the store itself is a Circle-K. For some reason, they never did reclaim the space from the carwash / second service bay for interior space -- I suppose it's storage now. The building itself is still largely unchanged and if the light is right, and you stand at the right angle, you can still see the painted over Gulf logo on the outside wall above and to the left of the front door.

UPDATE 6 Oct 2010 -- Apparently they have dropped the Union 76 affiliation:

UPDATE 19 July 2011: The building is gone! See the Circle K closing for pix.

Written by ted on May 14th, 2009

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Pier 1 Imports, 6420 Garners Ferry Road: 1970s   10 comments

Posted at 1:08 am in historic,stores

The original location of Pier 1 Imports, or at least the first one that I recall was in the back of the Cedar Terrace shopping center on Garner's Ferry Road, in the space now occupied by a Fred's.

My mother was into "quirky", and interested in other cultures, so we often stopped at Pier 1 if we were in the area. The way I recall it, the store ran heavily to wicker, rattan, and exotic umbrella baskets. As a kid, I cared vary little for the furnishing aspects of the place, but was fascinated by the offbeat food items and cheap import toys. I remember in particular some sort of (Japanese?) candy squares that were wrapped in rice paper, and you ate them paper and all(!). We actually got some of those, but my I could only look in horrid fascination at the chocolate covered ants, which we never did get. I don't remember most of the toys, but I did get a harmonica there once, which was made in China (an actual communist country!) and seemed impossibly exotic with a colorful embossed box, and instructions printed on transparent paper in characters that weren't even in the alphabet, much less in English. I've still got the harmonica and box though the instructions seem to have vanished at some point -- I never did learn to play it..

I think Pier 1 moved to Two Notch in front of Columbia Mall after that, though for some reason we never went there. I think I read somewhere that the chain had fallen on hard times and rethought their concept. I don't believe there's one in town at all now, though I'm sure you could find chocolate covered ants somewhere.

UPDATE 19 May 2009:

OK, the consensus in the comments is that I had the Cedar Terrace location of Pier 1 wrong, and rather than being in what is now Fred's, it was in what is now Sub Station II & Steve-O's, so here's a picture of that storefront:

And as long as I'm posting a picture of it, I'll give you my Sub Station II story, even though it hasn't closed. At some point in the 80s or 90s, I went to lunch with my sister, and as she lived fairly near to Garner's Ferry at the time, we ended up in Cedar Terrace at Sub Station II. As it happened, I wasn't really in the mood for a cold sub, and I saw on their behind-the-counter menu board "Italian Sausage Sandwich with Peppers & Onions". I thought Hey! I love those at the State Fair, and I never get to have one anywhere else., so I ordered it.

I should perhaps have been apprehensive as there was no indication of a griddle anywhere, but we went to our table and chit-chatted a bit. I noticed though that the counter person seemed to be dipping something out of a pot behind the counter. A few minutes later our order was called and I found my sandwich to be two soggy boiled links placed in a bun with no condiments of any kind. Great. Well, the sausage was obviously going to be what it was, but Hey, I asked the counter person, where are my peppers & onions?

Oh, that's just what's written on the sign. We haven't had those in years

While I'm updating the post, I should also note I was wrong about there being no Pier 1s in town. There is actually one quite close to the old Garners ferry location at the Woodhill Target complex:

Written by ted on May 13th, 2009

Lizard's Thicket, 6634 Two Notch Road: 2000s   16 comments

Posted at 1:12 am in historic,restaurants

I don't eat at Lizard's Thicket that often, but it's good Southern comfort food. I recall working in Kansas for about a month once, and being so glad when I got back, drove out of the airport here and saw the Liz on Airport Boulevard. There are times when only field-peas-over-rice will do.

Someone described Lizard's Thicket here in the comments of some post or another as a "hermit crab restaurant", ie: one that likes to let another restaurant build the building and fail and then moves into the empty shell. It strikes me as a sound strategy, but that being the case, I can't speak to what was in this building before Liz. This particular store was a bit unusual in that it was one of the two Lizes closest together of all those I am aware of (the other is just a mile or so down Two Notch towards Spring Valley). It was also the closest Liz to our house, and the one we went to most often. I remember two things in particular about it. First, they had a pot-plant by the register which was connected to a lamp. Through some sort of capacitance effect, if you touched the leaves of the plant, the lamp would turn on, cycle through dim, normal and bright and then off again. Second, once when we were eating there, the waitress subtracted the cost of our drinks from the bill rather than adding it. I've had days like that..

The building sat empty for a bit after Liz left (to go down to a new location [and building!] near Sandhill) and then the current tenant moved in. From the amount of time it was taking, and the car I often saw parked there, my impression was that the new owner was doing most of the work him(?)-self. I think too, that when it first opened, the "Korean" rubric had not been added. I haven't eaten there, but it seems to draw a good lunch crowd. I doubt there's peas-over-rice though.

Written by ted on May 12th, 2009

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