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Archive for February, 2010

Larry's Giant Subs / Steve's Subs, 3315 Broad River Road / 7546 Garners Ferry Road: Feb 2010   4 comments

Posted at 11:06 pm in restaurants

According to this Loopnet posting, there were three Larrry's Giant Subs up for sale at the same time, either retaining the Larry's franchaise, or as restaurant space. I would guess then that they were all run as part of the same operation.

I have not checked the Sunset Boulevard location, but both the Broad River Road and Garners Ferry locations have already been taken on by Steve's #1 Sub Contractor. In the case of the Broad River Road operation, this puts Steve's back very close to to their former location at Broad River & Saint Andrews.

I find it a little odd that the places flipped from one "guy's first name" chain to another "guy's first name" chain!

Also look how Steve's has pulled the "Giant" from the Garners Ferry sign. I know that it's just because it's not part of their branding, but it almost leads one to think that perhaps the size of the subs will be decreasing..

(Hat tip to commenter Alicia.)

UPDATE 28 Oct 2010 -- Well, Steve's didn't last long at all:

UPDATE 23 October 2011: Well, I wish I would have done this post as two separate entries, one for each location, but the Garners Ferry Steve's location is set to become Japan Grill:

UPDATE 3 November 2011: Well, it turns out I did do a separate entry for the Garners Ferry location, but never indexed it. What a mess! I'll copy the Japan Grill pix over there too and index it, but it will still be a mess!

Written by ted on February 28th, 2010

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Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, 1200 Knox Abbott Drive: 22 Feb 2010 (open again)   14 comments

Posted at 12:56 am in restaurants

I've always thought there would be a great routine for a Southern comic like Jeff Foxworthy to do. It would go something like:

So you forgot your Anniversary, and you're in the doghouse with your wife. Well, fellas, your wife is always waiting for you to say those three little words -- those three little words that can make it all better, make her remember why she married you. So just put your arms around her, put your lips to her ear and say: "Hot Doughnuts Now?"

Ok, that probably explains both why I'm not a comedian and why I'm not married, but still Krispy Kreme is kind of woven into the fabric of the South, such that the brand's troubles of the last few years have had me worried that the over-expansion to new areas might bring on a collapse in the heartland.

That made me a bit nervous when I started seeing hits on the blog from people searching on various keyword combinations of "Krispy Kreme Columbia closing", but when I went over there last week, everything seemed fine. There were no signs up warning of anything, and late evening business was very brisk.

Then I saw the comment this morning from Kenneth that the Knox Abbott location was in fact closed, followed by a comment from Rebecca saying

I picked up a flier for Krispy Kreme in Cayce that said they were closing for remodeling on Feb. 22nd. When they reopen they will serve Kool Kreme which looks like soft serve ice cream from the logo. It also mentions a “mobile unit” that will sell doughnuts outside during the remodel.

I don't know why I didn't see any fliers last week, but when I drove over there today, I was quite reassured: There were actually plenty of guys working on the remodel. Often a"closed for remodeling" sign is just hopeful wish, but in this case it seems to be the real deal.

Of course, this location was remodeled fairly recently -- within the last ten years, I think, and it was not an improvement. The old setup had nice padded booths for seating, and I could sit by the east window with my doughnuts and coffee and watch the Jiffy Lube to see if they had pulled my car around yet. They yanked all those out and replaced them with a bunch of really uncomfortable and unsightly industrial tables and chairs.

I'm a bit worried about he Kool Kreme thing Rebecca mentions as well. That makes it sound like they are trying to emulate the Dunkin' Donuts / Baskin-Robbins co-location concept, which I think would be brand dilution and a big mistake. (Among other reasons, I'll bet they find they're not selling much ice-cream at 11pm and start closing early.)

(Hat tip to commenter Kenneth.)

UPDATE 9 April 2010 -- Well, there is obviously some more cosmetic work to be done to the exterior, but the store is open again, with a new doughnut assembly line and soft ice cream:

Written by ted on February 27th, 2010

Columbia Drill Tower, Park Street: 1980s(?)   5 comments

Posted at 1:13 am in government,historic,landmark

Written by ted on February 26th, 2010

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Golden Eagle Motor Inn / Comfort Inn Capital City, 2025 Main Street: 2000s   17 comments

Posted at 1:48 am in business

I was sitting in Moe's this afternoon, reading The Free Times when I saw that they are tearing down the old Comfort Inn at Main & Elmwood to build a new homeless shelter (despite having no money to do so..).

I dislike taking pictures in the rain both because I hate cleaning the lens and because the results always look dreary. I also hate going downtown during rush hour, but I thought I probably wouldn't have another chance to get some shots while part of the structure was still standing, so I did a drive-by and got a few pix from the car.

The ad is from the 1998 Bellsouth Yellow Pages, and while the building was a Comfort Inn at the time, I think it moved down the hotel food-chain a few times in the 2000s before The Salvation Army ended up taking it over.

UPDATE 25 Feb 2010: Added Golden Eagle Motor Inn ads from 1970 Southern Bell Yellow Pages.

Written by ted on February 25th, 2010

Bank of America, 6614 Garners Ferry Road: late 2000s   15 comments

Posted at 12:02 am in business

I've been with Bank of America since it was North Carolina National Bank though it seems to change names often enough that sometimes I just think of it as North Carolina Nations Bank of America (actually there are even more other names it has absorbed as well). I'm afraid they haven't had a very good last few years, and I suspect it will be a while before they start absorbing anyone else (and indeed, it could go the other way..).

None of which is appropos as to why I have no memory at all of ever having seen this branch at Landmark Square before I noticed it closed driving down Garners Ferry Road the other day.

UPDATE 1 Oct 2010: According to The State, this building is to become a Krispy Kreme. (The story is a bit vague on whether it will be a full Hot Dougnuts Now! location, or will get doughnuts bussed in from Cayce).

UPDATE 9 March 2011 -- Work has started, presumably on the Krispy Kreme conversion:

UPDATE 28 March 2011 -- Work proceeds, and the official Krispy Kreme "coming soon" sign is up:

UPDATE 20 May 2011 -- The Krispy Kreme is open!

Written by ted on February 24th, 2010

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Raco Gas Station, 619 Gervais Street: 2008   6 comments

Posted at 12:34 am in stores

I'm not really sure this Raco station closed in 2008, but it looks decrepit enough to have been gone longer than a few months, and the listed gas price is too high to have been any earlier than that.

I'm not sure what the deal with "Raco" is. Googling turns up a few other Raco stations, but there doesn't seem to be any Raco company or company web site. There are certainly not common at any rate, and had you asked me "what's that station on Gervais called?" I would have drawn a total blank.

I was a bit surprised walking up and down The Vista Sunday that there are a number of properties for sale. I wonder if when they closed this station down, they figured they would be able to unload the lot quickly and at a good profit..

Written by ted on February 23rd, 2010

Country Store, Leesburg Road: 1960s(?)   6 comments

Posted at 3:14 am in historic,stores

I really don't know anything about this building on Leesburg Road near James Browder Road. It does have that classic "country general store" look though. From the construction, I would guess that it was built pre-war. Even the electrical connection with the obvious insulators has kind of a 1930s look. The closing date I assigned, 1960s, is a total guess. The place has obviously not seen any maintenance in quite a while, but it could have easily lasted into the 1970s or even longer. Even today, the area is very rural, and some odd retail establishements (like Mr. Bunky's on the Sumter Highway) still survive.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ted on February 21st, 2010

The Great Train Store / All Wound Up, Columbiana Centre: July 2000   6 comments

Posted at 1:19 am in stores

Except for the last one, which I took today, these pictures come from commenter Thomas who writes:

Was going through my photos and I had a few more I wanted to send you.

The Great Train Store: open 11/1996-7/2000.

I worked there from the opening to the closing of the store. It was a great place to work. Ten years later many of the employees still keep in regular touch with each other.

As a store the Columbia store (Store 30) was very successful. The store closed as a result of the failure of the company as a whole. At its largest the Great Train Store had more than 56 stores including SC stores in Columbia, Myrtle Beach, and Greenville. The store was located in Columbania Center where Build a Bear is now.

The Columbia store was the second to last store in the chain to close. The Myrtle Beach store (at Broadway at the Beach) closed a week later.

Written by ted on February 20th, 2010

China City / Little China Buffet, 2500 Decker Boulevard: Jan 2010 (open again)   7 comments

Posted at 12:24 am in restaurants

I believe this Chinese restaurant on a Decker Mall outparcel has been there in one form or another ever since Decker Mall opened, making it much more durable than any of the stores inside the mall.

I'm not really sure when it closed. I was driving by today around noon and noticed that there were no cars in the lot, which I thought was odd, so I stopped to take a look. There is absolutely no indication that it is closed, other than the fact that it was not open. There was no "Sorry, Thanks for X Wonderful Years!" sign or anything like that, and all the fixtures still seem to be in place as well as third party items such as the gumball machines.

I'm saying "Jan 2010" then since that is recently enough to look fresh but far enough in the past that the phone being disconnected (which it is) makes sense.

This place is almost across the street from the old Jumbo Asian Buffet which is also defunct, but there is another Chinese restaurant just up the hill on Decker a bit, so the neighboorhood is not totally bereft.

UPDATE 19 Feb 2010: Added "China City" to the post title based on the comments.

UPDATE 5 June 2012 -- Somebody has been working inside this building recently after years of no activity at all:

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UPDATE 12 July 2012 -- Open again!

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Written by ted on February 19th, 2010

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Lorick & Lowrance Mercantile / The Bank of Columbia / The Argyle Social Club, 1537 Main Street: late 2000s   3 comments

Posted at 12:53 am in business,historic,landmark,nightclub,stores

OK, I'm not entirely sure what to make of this one. The Lorick & Lowrance Mercantile Building is another of those great old Main Street buildings, with all the fancy work on top, and is on the City of Columbia landmark list.

I don't know what Lorick & Lowrance Mercantile originally sold, but the name suggests general retail merchandise. Anyway, it seems prosaic enough.

Where it gets a little odd is with the introduction of the Columbia Atheneum and Argyle Social Club. If you go to the "history" tab on this site, you'll find the story of a 150 year old Columbia high-rollers club "[whose] location has been kept hidden from the general public" -- It almost sounds like a put-on, your 2nd grade secret-clubhouse on steroids..

At any rate, the plan apparently was to come out of hiding, sell shares and buy the Lorick building. (There's a litle more information here). Since this was all supposed to happen in 2007 and the building is for lease today, I would say that something went wrong.

Interestingly, the building now has its own web site..

Written by ted on February 18th, 2010

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