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Archive for April, 2010

Kmart Auto Bays, 4400 Fort Jackson Boulevard: late 2000s   49 comments

Posted at 2:14 am in stores

I was cutting through the Fort Jackson Boulevard Kmart parking lot the other month, from Wildcat Road to Crowson Road, and noticed something I thought a bit odd: The store's former auto service bays were up for rent. I guess it makes sense from an economic standpoint (though to date there have been no takers), but it's kind of depressing, like the Dutch Square Belk closing off most of the third floor. It says not only weren't we doing well with our auto business, but we don't think we'll ever in the future revamp and give it another go -- in fact, we don't think we'll even need this part of the building again.

Written by ted on April 30th, 2010

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Two Interesting Items in The State Today   6 comments

Posted at 1:12 am in commentary

I probably should read The State more often than I do..

First -- Richland Mall is back:


Sandhill developer takes over Richland Mall

Village at Sandhill developer Alan Kahn has been tapped to breathe new life into Midtown at Forest Acres. And his first act will be to give it back its old name - Richland Mall.

Second -- Kroger at Sparkleberry Square is in trouble:

Kroger on Two Notch Road at Sparkleberry Lane is no longer open 24 hours. The store reduced its hours last week to 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. Other stores in the Columbia area will remain open 24 hours. The chain reduced hours at some stores so they could continue to offer low prices during a difficult economy, a spokesman said.

As to the first, I, for one, have always refused to call the place either "Richland Fashion Mall" or "Midtown at Forest Acres", so I'm glad to see the "classic" name back. Kahn certainly has an uphill slog ahead there though. Given that even the new Village at Sandhill has had a lot of churn and ongoing vacancies, an older, already perceived as failing (because, it is failing) mall is going to have even more trouble luring tenants. I guess the obvious thing to try, as I think Sky City has suggested, would be to try to lure Macy's from Columbia Mall to the vacant Parisian or Bonwit Teller slot. Of course that would put paid to Columbia Mall so I'd rather something else happen..

As to the second, I think that after this, this, this, this, and this, I can say that Sparkleberry Square is "troubled". Kroger cutting its hours certainly does nothing to reverse that perception. For a restaurant, it's fatal sign #1. I don't think the Kroger will close, but I'll bet they're nostalgic for the rents at Decker Mall about now.

Written by ted on April 30th, 2010

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Tronco's General Arts Floors, Inc, 6941 Trenholm Road: 2009 (moved)   1 comment

Posted at 11:12 pm in business,stores

Tronco's General Arts Floors was in Arcadia Lakes in the office/retail plaza which is just behind (or in front of) the Arcadia Lakes lily pond which has been the subject of local controversy lately.

I'm pretty sure I've seen work by Tronco's and found it fine. I know I've seen their truck around for years. Their new location is 5127 Two Notch, which puts it pretty close to The Impulse Club, but I can't quite visualize it.

I have also wondered off and on over the years where the Arcadia Lakes town hall is. Turns out it is in this plaza.

UPDATE 2 November 2011 -- Here are some pictures of the back side of the store (with floor samples):

Written by ted on April 28th, 2010

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Let's Dish, 111 Sparkleberry Crossing Sute 5: 23 April 2010   4 comments

Posted at 3:10 am in restaurants,stores

Let's Dish was a take & bake operation in Sparklebery Crossing at the intersection of Sparkleberry and Clemson Roads. It's a regional chain, but I believe this was the last location in South Carolina. Personally I don't really understand the appeal of the concept. I can certainly understand not wanting to actually cook at home, especially involved dishes, but it seems to me that take & bake still leaves you with dishes and silverware to clean up, plus you don't get out of the house. Of course I realize not everyone actively dislikes eating at home as I do, but it still seems a minimal benefit. Steak Out seems to have failed with a similar concept, but as far as I know, Piggly Wiggly's "Dream Dinners" take & bake is still going.

I think Sparklebery Crossing seems to have dodged the bullet of perceived failure -- so far. They have had Coldstone Creamery, D's Wings, Al Amir, and Za's Pizza all go under, which is a lot for such a new development, but to date they have managed to get reasonably top-tier replacements (though D's was vacant for quite a wihle).

(Hat tip to commenter Jason)

Written by ted on April 28th, 2010

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Welcome Instapundit Readers!   6 comments

Posted at 7:51 pm in commentary

Thanks to Professor Reynolds for the link!

Anyone checking in here for the first time should know that this blog is Columbia South Carolina news and nostalgia, the "What's Not In Columbia Anymore" site. We have both business closings ripped from the headlines (ok, usually tipped by commenters, or things I notice as I drive by) and fondly rememered places which have been gone for years or decades.

If you're looking for a particular Columbia place you remember, check The Alphabetical Closings Page. For particular types of places, there are Categories on the left sidebar underneath the recent comments. Comments on any and all entries are welcome, as are general comments on the Have Your Say page.

Enjoy!

Ted

Written by ted on April 27th, 2010

White Way Laundry / Habitat Store, 910 Harden Street: 2000s   3 comments

Posted at 12:48 am in stores

This rather handsome brick building on Harden Street in Five Points was, according to the Historic Columbia Foundation, built as a laundry in the 1930s (this city property valuation report claims it was actually built in 1930). I'm sure it has been many things over the years, but most recently, it seems to have been a used furniture store called Habitat Store which was associated with The Habitat For Humanity charity. I used to love going to used furniture stores, back when they were "junk stores" rather than "antique stores", but I can't ever recall this one, so I'm guessing it probably started after I left town in the mid 80s.

Written by ted on April 27th, 2010

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Lucas Machinery / Carolina Bedrooms / Fletcher's Antiques / Southeast Presbyterian Church / Blooms Nursery Garden Shoppe, 710 Cross Hill Road: late 2000s   11 comments

Posted at 1:14 am in historic,stores

This much retailed (and once churched) spot on Cross Hill Road next to the former Kroger Sav-On has never seemed to catch fire for any of its many tenants, most of which I have only a vague recollection of. Aside from all those listed above on the post title, I'm pretty sure it was a menswear shop also at one point, and I either got or thought about getting a suit there. (Something I hate like posion).

This PDF at the City of Columbia website suggests that the city was thinking about buying the building back in the 2006 timeframe and wondering what the absestos and lead paint implications would be, but apparently nothing came of that. The document describes the building as being "used as a former antiques store" -- that's certainly an odd turn-of-phrase, but implies that the building was vacant at that point, with Fletcher's having been the most recent tenant.

Cross Hill Road is an odd little stretch whose name I never could remember. For years growing up, I thought that Beltline Boulevard ran all the way to Garners Ferry Road instead of turning off towards Rosewood. I can only think that at some point a lot of road work must have been done to make the setup so illogical. (Of course it didn't help either that until last year, I thought that Garners Ferry started where Cross Hill runs into Devine Street and Fort Jackson Boulevard -- I never realized that Devine Street runs all the way to Wildcat).

At any rate, whatever you call it, this lot, along with the Kroger lot, is now Interstate feeder property (which neither was in the beginning), and I expect that eventually a hotel or national chain restaurants will take the real estate.

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La Pizza Cucina, 110 Columbia Northeast Drive: 2007   2 comments

Posted at 1:59 am in restaurants

Columbia Northeast Drive is the official name of the easternmost little access road from Two Notch back into the Big Lots / Dunkin' Donuts plaza on Two Notch Road just west of Spring Valley. Both the main plaza and this little side strip-mall have been down at the heels for years though they have generally avoided vacancies. Aside from having the only Peurto Rican restaurant in Columbia (that I know of anyway), the strip also has the only Indian Restaurant in the Northeast.

La Pizza Cucina was, I think in the storefront now occupied by San Juan (which itself used to be at the bottom of the strip parallel to Two Notch at one time). A, personal web calendar (apparently not updated since 2004) describes La Pizza Cucina thus:

La Pizza Cucina

Serving gourmet pizza pies and over 100 beers and wines to choose from, this quaint little pizza parlor offers you the infectious hospitality of a "Cheers" styled pub. Come eat here once, and you're a friend for life. "There's edible and there's Incredible" - La Pizza Cucina.

I suspect the restaurant supplied the text to the performers as I think it is pretty close to how they used to advertise. I'm saying the place closed in 2007 because it is not in the 2008 phonebook but it was still in a newspaper restaurant listing (which are notoriously slow to fix closures) in February of 2008.

I had only two problems with La Pizza Cucina:

1) I expected "gourmet" pizza to be, you know, good, and instead found it pretty mediocre.

2) The staff, at least on shift the one time I went, was rude. In particular, there was a table of teenage boys -- being teenage boys. They weren't thugs, they weren't trying to create a disturbance, they were just having a good time. One of them rocked his chair onto the back legs, and the manager came down on him like a ton of bricks. I thought it was totally inappropriate. No, it's not good for the chairs, but your restaurant chair is not going to be handed down to your grandkids. If something absolutely had to be said, it could have been said politely.

Anyway, I never went back.

Written by ted on April 24th, 2010

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Farrow Road Drive Inn, 3527 Farrow Road: 1980s   no comments

Posted at 12:20 am in historic,restaurants

I don't get onto Farrow Road that often, and in some cases it surprises me when I do since my mental geography for that corridor is pretty vague. It's another one of those streets that seems to have seen better days, with bygone restaurants like The Fountain Bleu Club that are fixtures in phonebooks year after year, but are now long gone.

Here's another form that era. The first ad is from the 1970 Southern Bell phonebook, but the second one from the 1985 edition is almost exactly the same, except for the change in phone number, and the ominous reduction in the number of open days from "7" to "6".

I don't know exactly when the Farrow Road Drive Inn closed, but the building is still in service as a restaurant, now operating as The Paper Moon Cafe, and is apparently going to be annexed into Columbia proper:

This annexation is part of the City’s initiative to bring in those parcels of land that are part of another jurisdiction, but are surrounded by the City of Columbia. These are known as Donut Holes. These areas pose a number of challenges to the City that can be addressed through annexation. They can often cause inefficiencies in the delivery of services due to confusion about jurisdiction. Also, if the land is in a jurisdiction with a different approach to code enforcement, these areas can negatively impact the quality of life for adjacent City residents. Such inefficiencies and the costs to taxpayers are germane to City and County property both, which results in a greater impact to City residents since they pay City and County taxes.

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Recommend Approval. This property is commercially zoned within Richland County and is currently being utilized as a restaurant with frontage on Farrow Road. The property is contiguous to the City Limits north across I-277 with RS-3 (Single-Family Residential) zoning and east by single-family residences and offices that are zoned RS-3 and C-1 (Office and Institutional). In that the property is occupied by a restaurant which is a permitted use within the C-3 zoning classification, the C-3 zoning is appropriate at this location.

Written by ted on April 23rd, 2010

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Miss Sun Fun South Carolina Pageant Headquarters, 942 Harden Street: 1960s   4 comments

This is kind of an interesting one in that it was totally unexpected. I know this Harden Street storefront has been a number of things, but I couldn't bring any of them to mind. Googling turns up virtually nothing -- except a page from the Spartanburg Herald Journal for 21 Feb 1962:

MISS SUN FUN South Carolina will be selected March 31 in Columbia as contestants throughout the state vie for hte title Sponsored by the Columbia Chapter of the American Business Clubs, winner of the state title will enter into competition for the national finals to be held in June at Myrtle Beach. The national winner will receive $10,000 in prizes. Application forms and rules have been sent to newspapers throughout the state. They may also be obtained from contest headquarters by contacting Miss Sun Fun South Carolina Pageant 942 Harden Street Columbia. Entry applications must be mailed before March 1.

I kind of remember the Sun Fun Festival and Miss Sun Fun being a big deal when I was little (though at the time of this article, I would have been 1 year old and oblivious). I had always thought of it as strictly a Myrtle Beach thing though, and didn't know it had state-wide entrants, and apparently even a national reach.

Indeed, while The Sun Fun Festival & Miss Sun Fun still exist, they now appear to be owned by the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, and I can't really recall hearing much about either since the 1970s.

It's still something nice to think about during dreary Februaries though..

Written by ted on April 22nd, 2010

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