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Archive for March, 2010

Stellini's Pasta Gusto, 224 O'Neil Court: 2000s   3 comments

Posted at 11:58 pm in historic,restaurants

Stellini's was on the corner nearest to Columbia Mall at The Shops at O'Neil Court. I believe it was perhaps the longest lasting restaurant in that little hard-luck plaza, though as I recall the sports bar run by the Very's folks lasted a number of years as well.

This ad from the 1998 Bellsouth yellow pages claims the largest selection of pasta in Columbia. I actually can't remember much about that. If I am remembering correctly, the times we went there, what most impressed me was the garlic bread, which was strong and gooey, not that "hint of garlic on overbaked toast" thing some places do. I do think they had a number of pesto dishes which weren't too common at the time, but while I might try one now, at that point I was still fully in tomato-based mode.

I don't think business was ever great in this location despite theoretical drive-by traffic between Columbia Mall and Two Notch, and I wasn't too surprised when the place closed. I believe at least two other restaurants tried the spot (there was definitely one) but nothing ever lasted long-term, and currently the space is empty and available.

Written by ted on March 30th, 2010

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Minature Golf, 10014 Two Notch Road: 1980s   2 comments

Posted at 12:55 am in business,entertainment,historic

When I posted on Hola Mexico a few days ago, commenter Ken noted that before being a restaurant, the place had been a minature golf establishment.

I don't remember that at all, but sure enough, behind the restaurant you can still see the concrete remnants of the greens. Judging from the playset over to the right which seems better maintained than the rest, I'm guessing that perhaps the course property is now used by the Christian school which shares the strip with the old Hola and the Jamacian restaurant. If so, it's kind of a shame the old greens are gone. It would be really cool to be able to say "My school's playground is a Putt-Putt course!" (And it would be extra super cool if it was one of the ones with the windmills and dinosaurs..)

(Hat tip to commenter Ken).

Written by ted on March 30th, 2010

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Kroger Sav-On, 2500 Decker Boulevard (Decker Mall): April 2000   8 comments

Posted at 12:30 am in historic,stores

The Kroger Sav-On at Decker Mall was the first Kroger I ever encountered. It opened while I was in high-school, and was really different from the grocery stores I was accustomed to before it arrived.

Firstly, it was quite large. This was before Wal-Mart super centers or anything like that, and I was used to stores the size of a Colonial, Piggly Wiggly or A & P. This store was noticably larger than any of those.

Secondly, it was more diverse. Some of the largeness was due to it having a built-in pharmacy, which none of the other stores did, but a good bit of it was from selling more than food. In the beginning, the place seemed almost like a mini department store to me, where you could never be sure just what you might find. For instance, I got the very first microwave oven I ever bought from the (now also closed) Kroger at Surfside Beach which also dates from this era, and I still recall how bemused I was to have found such a thing at a grocery store.

Thirdly, it was open late. I don't believe this store was ever 24 hours like the Forest & Beltline store, but it was open a good bit later than I was used to, and the idea that I could pop out at 10pm and buy something was very enticing. (Especially as I was starting to drive and then drive at night).

For a long time, this store, and Target carried Decker Mall. Then when the mall began to decline to the point that you either parked near Kroger or near Target because there was nothing interesting in-between, they locked the doors on the mall side of the store and made everyone come in the front. Finally, when the flight from the Decker corridor to Two Notch began and strengthened, both Kroger and Target moved into new stores, Kroger's in Sparkleberry Square, Target's just slightly east of that. I have never fully understood the demographic logic of that. Yes, the area is growing, and a new store there will make money, but it's not like everybody near Decker suddenly died -- the population that was there is still there. Of course, this store doesn't really fit in with Kroger's current look (which is, I admit, quite nice) and would have needed re-working at some point anyway. (I keep expecting the Forest & Beltline store to either close or remodel..)

Interestingly, and somewhat unexpectedly, Decker Mall survived the move of both anchors and continues to live on, mainly on the strength of the DMV, I suspect, but there actually are a few other ongoing operations there as well.

UPDATE 29 March 2010: The clouds were so nice today, I couldn't resist getting and adding some better shots above.

UPDATE 11 March 2011: Updated closing date due to research by commenter Andrew.

Written by ted on March 29th, 2010

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Chapter Two Books, Trenholm Plaza: 1990s   7 comments

Posted at 2:44 am in stores

A while back I realized that I had over 30 years of 35mm negatives that were going to need to be digitized at some point, not to mention 126 Instamatic and 620 Brownie negatives dating into the 1960s. I figured I could nickle & dime myself to death gradually getting them scanned at Ritz or Photoworks.com, or I could bite the bullet, get a negative scanner and do it myself. I ended up with this Nikon negative scanner, and on the whole I've been quite happy with it. The resolution is much higher than I was getting from commercial scanning, though it also takes much longer to scan a roll of negatives than I was expecting.

So anyway, my sister dug up some old negatives from a 1987 signing for her first book, and asked me to scan them. As soon as I saw where the signing was, I knew I was going to want to use some of them here. My second question to her, after asking if I could use the pictures was whether she wanted her name and face blurred, but on reflection that a pretty stupid one. After all, she is an award winning children's book author with her own web site who, as all authors do, would like you to know her name and buy her books, especially her latest one!

Chapter Two Books was in Trenholm Plaza most of the time I was growing up. It was a fairly small storefront on the Edisto/Holligan's side of the plaza next to the barber shop. In the days when I would get $3.00 for mowing the lawn, I would take the money down there and buy a new Tom Swift, Jr. book. Unlike Browz-A-Bit and Walden's at Dutch Square, science-fiction was not a major category here, and the selection of SF paperbacks (and paperbacks vs hardbacks in general), was pretty small, so aside from Tom Swift, I usually ended up spending my strictly limited funds at one of those stores rather than here, but I do distinctly remember that Chapter Two sold me the last $0.50 paperback I ever saw, a copy of Robert Heinlein's classic Young Adult novel Farmer In the Sky.

Although it was not the intention of any of these shots, if you look out the windows (on the click-through versions especially), you can see a good bit of the old Trenholm Plaza landscape: Tapp's Twig, The Banker's Note, A & P and Standard Federal. By this time the original "steeple" A & P had been torn down and replaced with a more modern design (which was itself torn down for Publix), and the current Books-A-Million location was several storefronts.

I'm not sure exactly when Chapter Two closed. If I didn't have this evidence that it was still there in 1987, I would have guessed then or earlier. In any event, I believe it was gone before Books-A-Million arrived, and I have the vague feeling that the owner decided to retire and close the shop.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ted on March 27th, 2010

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Play N Trade, 5424 Forest Drive #118: March 2010   9 comments

Posted at 10:21 pm in entertainment,stores

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Here's another vacancy in the little strip in the Wal-Mart plaza off of Forest Drive at I-77. It's right down the sidewalk from the (still vacant) Stevie B's PIzza and Check N Go and across the parking lot from the former Shoe Carnival.

Commenter "Nobody" says that as of a few days ago, the storefront had both Closed For Remodeling and non-payment of rent signs posted, presumably by different parties. As of today, it is innocent of any signs, but the interior has been completely cleaned out. I have to admit that I know almost nothing about modern video games, so I don't know if there are systemic factors here as in the video rental market, or if this is just a case of the generally bad economy.

(Hat tip to commenter "Nobody".)

Written by ted on March 25th, 2010

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B & B Sports Lounge, 2417 Percival Road: 1980s   2 comments

Posted at 12:45 am in historic,nightclub

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B & B Sports Lounge or simply B & B's if you go by the roof sign, is on Percival Road just east of the triangular intersection of Percival with Old Percival, and looks to have been out of business for a good while. At any rate, it's not listed in the 1998 phonebook.

Curiously, the only google hits I get for 2417 Percival Road are for a place called Mary J's which is also not in the current or 1998 phonebook..

Written by ted on March 25th, 2010

Hola Mexico Restaurant, 10014 Two Notch Road: March 2010 (moved)   13 comments

Posted at 11:02 pm in restaurants

Well, here's another closing in the same general vicinity of Two Notch. Hola Mexico was somewhat off the road, in a little plaza behind Rush's. I was aware of the place, but had never gotten around to going in there. Reader Nancy writes:

This was a family run business and the food was always excellent.

Too bad.

If you look at the pictures, you can tell that the facade had a South-West theme with cacti that has just been removed. There was work ongoing when I drove by, so perhaps something is in the works.

UPDATE 29 March 2010: Changed post title to add "(Moving?)" based on the comments. Added several more pictures.

UPDATE 16 April 2010: Added picture of the neon sign.

UPDATE 3 June 2010 -- The move into the old McDonald's/ Zesto / Awesome Mattress building is progressing, and the name is finally on the building:

UPDATE 8 May 2011 -- The new location is open, and has been for a while:

Written by ted on March 23rd, 2010

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Pappa's Pizza To Go, 290 Graces Way: 2008   6 comments

Posted at 12:17 am in restaurants

I was having lunch at Carrabba's on Sparkleberry last Sunday, and as I was leaving, noticed an almost empty signboard for the surrounding retail area. One item on the almost vacant space was Pizza Buffet, which struck me as a bit curious since it was so generic.

As it turns out, there is a road behind Sparkleberry Square (parallel to Two Notch) that I had never noticed before called Graces Way. There seems to be very little on it, but that's where Pappa's Pizza To Go was. I had never heard of it, but googling around finds enough other hits that I conclude it is a chain.

I don't generally do pizza buffets anymore since I want my pizza how I like it without having to wait for something that's even partially how I like it, so I have no idea how the pizza was there, but it seems to me they could hardly have chosen a worse location. There is no visibility from Two Notch or Sparkleberry, and the Sparkleberry signage is so small and generic as to be almost useless. Further, while the hope may have been that Graces Way would become a fairly busy road, there is almost nothing on it, and while I was driving down it, and parked taking these pictures, no other cars went by. Granted it was a Sunday, but Carrabba's was doing a very good business.

It appears they are doing interior work so perhaps something else will go in there though the location still seems chancy.

UPDATE 29 March 2010: Added picture of the Sparkleberry sign.

Written by ted on March 23rd, 2010

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Hollywood Video, 10136 Two Notch Road #104: March 2010   5 comments

Posted at 11:10 pm in entertainment,stores

Well, I suppose it was inevitable, but the last Hollywood Video store in Columbia is closing. Previous closings for HV stores are here, here, here, and here.

Looking at their corporate web site and using the store locator, I see that they are also behind the Movie Gallery stores and are closing a number of those in the area as well. They (and Blockbuster) are just trapped in a non-viable business model, and I don't see any way they can come out of it. Even if the economy improves, Netflix, Redbox and online video (both pirated and legal) are going to continue to eat their lunch. Still, you should be able to get some decent bargins there right now.

With this closing, I think the strip containing Hollywood Video, Sparkleberry Square, can be officially described as "troubled".

(Hat tip to commenter Thomas)

Written by ted on March 21st, 2010

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I'm gonna make you an offer you can't.. understand: 1980s   4 comments

Posted at 10:38 pm in commentary

Speaking of Rich's, as we were a few weeks ago, I've held on to this ad since the 1980s hoping that someone else would be as amused by it as I was. To date this has failed to happen, though I still get a chuckle from it.

Here's the key question: Exactly what guarantee is being made here?

Written by ted on March 20th, 2010

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