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Archive for June, 2010

Hmm: "Sandhill owes $1.2 million in late taxes"   no comments

Posted at 12:48 am in commentary

From The State:

Developer Alan Kahn blames the economy. Three of the Northeast Richland center’s large retailers filed for bankruptcy protection recently and some of its 118 tenants have been slow to pay rent, he said.

.

Those three are Sofa Express, Ashley Furniture Homestore and Bi-Lo (which I never did a post on because it continued to operate during bankruptcy).

Written by ted on June 21st, 2010

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Tiki Tan Tanning, 240 Harbison Boulevard #B: 28 May 2010   1 comment

Posted at 12:58 am in business

In the tiki tiki tiki Tiki Tan
Where the pasty bronze tasty
And the wrinkles began..

Oops! Wrong attraction..

Interestingly, this storefront in the old Circuit City complex on Harbison, in between Honey Baked Ham and Gamestop, is the second Columbia tanning operation to close in the last month or so. Of course I don't know, but I speculate that summer in South Carolina is probably a slow season for paid tanning, since just stepping outside is generally a peak solar experience in itself.

(Hat tip to commenter Jason)

Written by ted on June 19th, 2010

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El Roco Club, North Main Street: 1990s   6 comments

Posted at 10:35 pm in historic,nightclub,restaurants,venue

These photos are courtesy of Becky Bailey, who writes of the El Roco Club:


Around the corner [from the Fountain Bleu Club] (sort of) on about the same latitude on North Main Street was a place called the El Roco Club, which was the white counterpart. That’s where the country bands like Ira Dimmery and the Hired Hands played.

and

It was actually closed at the time I took the pictures, but glad I did. Has since been taken over by a church and the signage is all gone. Took these in July 2002.

There is apparently an active El Roco Club in Columbia right now on Koon Road, but from what I can tell it has no connection to the old club. The only other information I have found online about the old club is a general word picture of the times in an online appreciation of local entertainer Nicola Domenico Pizzuti:


Music entertainment was lively in Columbia during the late 40s and 50s. These were happier times and local musicians were hungry for the opportunity to play live. There never seemed to be a lack of bookings for small combos, and there was always need at the last minute to "grab a musician and go". Public and private clubs about town were rocking and reeling in those post-war days. Nicola was right in the thick of it and, you may have been in the audience when he played! Throughout the years, he played at various popular public and private clubs, where big band dance music was the "music of the day." He teamed up with other local musicians, all of whom either played to fill in where called upon or were members of a combo. Nicola played with local musicians Jay Pace, Greg Bissell, Don Davis, Tom Isbull, Neal Alltee and Sam Cantrell. Occasionally, he filled in and played with combos where the late Paul LaRosa crooned. He also filled in a time or two with the late Jimmy Farr’s small group. In those days, most musicians in Columbia booked gigs anytime and anywhere and many times actually did "grab a musician" en route to a booking. He played many times at the El Roco Club, and Ft. Jackson Officers’ and NCO clubs, Retired Officers’ Club, Columbia Country Club, and Forest Lake Country Club.

(Big thanks to Becky Bailey!)

Written by ted on June 17th, 2010

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Dunkin' Donuts, Wildewood Centre Drive: Finally Open   5 comments

Posted at 10:07 pm in restaurants

Wildewood Centre Drive is a little I-20 frontage strip off of Clemson Road on the Northwest side of the interchange. It appears that everything down there is professional offices with the exception of this one retail building.

As you can see, the place is not quite finished, and there are no signs, but it was going to be a Dunkin' Donuts, and was
one of a number of local stores being built by Kainos Partners.

Apparently that operation was one of those classic cautionary tails about getting over-extended. One year, it was a top player in the Dukin' franchaise world, and the next year it was bankrupt.

The store on Main Street got a little further along than this one did, which I suppose was actually a little bit worse in the long run since the Dunkin' sign was actually presiding over the pre-funct operation in that case.

There are still a number of non-Kainos Dunkin' stores in town, so you can still get your cuppa and pastries. I can think of ones at Boozer Shopping Center and Big Lots on Two Notch, and I'm sure there are others.

UPDATE 16 May 2011 -- The new franchaisee has nearly completed work on the building, has put up the sign and appears almost ready to open:

UPDATE 2 July 2011 -- Well, it's finally open!

Of course by the time they finished it and opened, a totally new Krispy Kreme has been thought of, built, intalled and opened just up the block (and arguably in an easier to get to spot):

Changed post title date from "Never Opened" to "Finally Open"..

Written by ted on June 17th, 2010

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Shameless Electioneering   1 comment

Posted at 1:49 am in commentary

I see in this week's Free Times that the Best of Columbia voting is starting early this year.

Now, I can't promise A Chicken in Every Pot!, but that always seemed like an overabundance of stewed chicken to me anyway.

So if you enjoy this blog, why not go to the online voting site and pick columbiaclosings.com in Local Media Cagegory 6: "Best Local Website or Blog - News"? (I have to say that the categories are not an exact match, but I think that's the closest one).

Be sure to vote for your other local favorites as well!

Written by ted on June 17th, 2010

India Pavilion, 2011 Devine Street: June 2010   4 comments

Posted at 1:13 am in restaurants

Well, I believe the only Indian restaurant downtown is now gone. There is no goodbye sign on their door, but the web site is gone, the phone is disconnected, and fairly major work is being done inside. I suppose it could be a remodel, but in that case I would expect a sign to that effect.

As things worked out, I only ate at the India Pavilion once. Growing up my father had occasional "American faculty mentor" relations with visiting foreign students. At one time, this included an Indian couple. They were nice and we had them to the house for dinner a few times (my father duly explained that my sister's guinea pigs were not being raised to eat..) and they returned the favor by having us to their apartment once. Now, I was a very finicky eater with very narrow tastes, but I was informed by my parents that I would try whatever was offered to us. The only thing I can remember about it is that part of the meal was some sort of chutney, which I thought was the worst thing I ever tasted. I'm sure that it was well made, and that I would probably like it now, but at the time it made such a strong negative impression on me that I never even considered Indian food as an option until I was in my 30s, walking in Charleston and thinking Hey! That smells really good! with no preconception of what type of food it was.

So, anyway, with a childhood dislike, then living out of town and then generally going someplace with parking, I go most often to the Indian places on Bush River & Saint Andrews Road. Still, the time I did make it to India Pavilion it was fine, and it's a shame to see another longtime (an archived version of their web site says founded 1990) Five Points restaurant go.

(Hat tips to commenters Joel & Luke).

UPDATE 2 Sept 2010 -- It's to be another Pho Viet restaurant:

Written by ted on June 17th, 2010

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United Pest Control / Bonnies Treasures / Spigner Barber Shop, 5308 Two Notch Road: 1990s (?)   2 comments

Posted at 2:37 am in business,historic,stores

Curiously enough, just as I started to write this post, a palmetto bug (or as I like to call them, our state bird) landed on my sleve and freaked me way the heck out. To make matters worse, I was barefoot, and didn't have stomping gear immediately available. Nonetheless, I can report a confirmed kill, and it's still better than the time I woke up with one nestled in my palm..

This building sits just up the hill from Bayview Baptist Church and across the access alley to the defunct Few Acres trailer park from the old Mr. Muffler at Two Notch and Pinestraw.

The whole corner is potentially valuable property, but whatever is going to happen to it seems to be taking its time. There usually seems to be some sort of truck activity at Few Acres, but nothing seems to get demolished. The same goes for the Mr. Muffler building, and indeed this building seems to be undergoing a gutting rather than a knockdown.

The business names are clear enough for the exterminator and barber shop to say what they were -- the third business, Bonnies Treasures is a little less specific: Gifts & Tools?. At any rate, I think it has been many years since any of these operations were in business. Google, in fact, pulls up very little for "5308 Two Notch": just the barber shop and a late 2006 delinquient property notice from The Columbia Star.

Whatever the fate of the various businesses, the building itself seems very solidly built, and I hope it is, in fact, refurbished rather than torn the rest of the way down.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ted on June 16th, 2010

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Flaming Pit Restaurant, I-26 & US-378: 1970s   10 comments

Posted at 11:11 pm in historic,restaurants

This ad from the 1974 Southern Bell Yellow Pages is similar to other ads for the Flaming Pit that I have seen in that it never gives a real street address for the place. That, and a complete lapse of mind that let me confuse I-20 with I-26 led me to originally post some pictures of what was certainly the wrong building for the place!

We never went to the Flaming Pit, though I seem to remember radio commercials that made it sound like a very exotic place. (I didn't do "exotic"..). I'm not exactly sure what "Open Hearth Charcoal Cookery" is, but combing that with the name of the place, I envision a large central grill in the middle of the dining area (hopefully very well ventilated with charcoal involved..) where your orders were cooked as you watched.

I'm a little surprised that the bar was The Wells Fargo Lounge given that Wells Fargo is, in addition to its evocative history, still around and presumably trademarked..

UPDATE 15 June 2010: Removed incorrect pictures, and corrected the text in which I was completely wrong about the location!

Written by ted on June 14th, 2010

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College Corner, 1601 Harden Street: May 2010 (closed for good)   3 comments

Posted at 11:11 pm in restaurants

This little fast food joint has been a fixture on the Northwest corner of Harden & Taylor Streets for years, and with its location across from both Allen and Benedict, it comes by the name College Corner honestly.

A Subway opened on the Southwest corner fairly recently, which may have put some pressure on it, though the food mix is not the same. I'm not sure if the place is gone for good, or will be coming back after an uplift. Some work is going on for sure, and not all the fixtures have been removed.

UPDATE 21 Jan 2011 -- Open again:

UPDATE 2 December 2013 -- Closed again, for good. It's now Empire Grill:

p1090603_tn.jpg

p1090604_tn.jpg

The College Corner sign is still legible from Harden Street, but sort of painted over from Taylor Street

Written by ted on June 13th, 2010

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A Roadside Mystery: US-501 Between Galivants Ferry & Marion   3 comments

Posted at 12:33 am in commentary,out-of-area

This mysterious billboard is on the South side of US-501 in betwen Galivants Ferry & Marion. If I'm reading google maps right, it would be at the intersection of US-501 and SC-41. At any rate, it's before you get to Sparky's Fireworks. The sign has been up for at least two years, and was always a bit mysterious to me.

For one thing, there is no indication of what it's for. I mean, sure it says "Web Site of The Year", but that's not really an explanation. Is there a contest? Web site of the year according to whom? Why would anyone driving through the most rural and un-webby parts of South Carolina care? What's more, it's not pithy. Invariably by the time I got home, I never could remember exactly what it was: Um, bestwebsite.com? Yearsbestsite.com? Finally I took this picture to help me remember to check it out.

The first time I did -- it didn't help. I duly went to the site, but it was obviously the text provided by the hosting company. Stuff like

Insert description of your site here.

Insert URL of your logo

Write a few paragraphs describing your products and services. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus ligula lorem, consectetur ut mattis eget, varius at justo. Aliquam sodales gravida arcu. Etiam a viverra metus. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Nunc tincidunt nunc nec augue volutpat eget venenatis lacus pharetra. Donec mollis, leo auctor molestie placerat, eros ante tristique lectus, in accumsan enim nibh quis purus. Curabitur eget enim quis ligula fermentum faucibus eget tempus tellus. Etiam dignissim, augue non tristique fringilla, urna nibh viverra felis, vitae commodo eros urna et ante. In et odio erat. Nunc consectetur volutpat sagittis. Ut eu elit nisi. Nam accumsan sapien pulvinar elit pretium egestas sit amet nec elit. Phasellus mattis dapibus accumsan. Suspendisse egestas, justo ut imperdiet vehicula, dui eros tempus lorem, vel molestie dolor tortor vel dui. Vestibulum odio metus, tempus vel auctor sed, commodo nec leo. In sit amet magna et mi hendrerit vehicula vel et neque.

(OK, I used the Lorem Ipsum generator for that last paragraph..)

Anyway, I never got around to doing a post on it then, and now there is something of an explanation, if not a great one. Apparently someone is now using it to sell generic domain names, and push various small coastal oriented sites. It kind of has the feeling of an I might as well do something with it sort of project.

Written by ted on June 12th, 2010

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