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Archive for February, 2011

The Phonebook: 2010   7 comments

Posted at 10:52 pm in products

This Year:

For a FREE copy of your residential listings..

Last Year::

At this remove, I can really only recall two scenes from Steve Martin's debut movie, The Jerk, but those two were very funny.

The second is when Martin's character is breaking up with his girlfriend and declares as he leaves the house that he doesn't need "anything".. "except" the large assortment of odd items (starting with a chair) he picks up on his way to the door.

The first is when Martin has left his childhood home and is out in the world by himself for the first time. He greets the arrival of the year's phonebook in a hysterically over-the-top scene: "The new phonebooks are here! The new phonebooks are here" (flips to his listing) "I am somebody!".

Well, no more, it would seem. I got my new Columbia phonebook last week, and totally failed to notice a real oddity until my sister pointed it out: There are no whitepage listings for Columbia!

It's been coming for a while. As far back as the late 1990s, I noticed that people in my office would do the most complicated (pre-Google) searches for phone numbers rather than pick up the directory sitting right on their desk, and as the number of unlisted cellphones keeps growing and the number of residential landlines keeps dropping, we have finally hit the tipping point. Now perhaps one of the "fake" phonebooks that other directory companies drop on your porch from time to time ("The Talking Phonebook", "The LOMAR Directory" etc) will make a white-page print-run, but it seems the white pages are dead.

While I wasn't expecting it, the death of the white pages does make sense. When I think about it though, I'm surprised that Yellow Pages are doing as well as they seem to be. Obviously businesses are going to keep public listings, but I wonder what the bang-for-the-buck ratio of the cost for a Yellow Pages ad is today versus investing in your web-site and search engine optimization? I admit that there are still times when it's easier to look up a locksmith or plumber or whatever in the phonebook than come up with an online search that doesn't have Columbia Maryland results or Columbia County Georgia or some other mass of inappropriate responses, but google continues to get better at using where you are located in its results, and I suspect we aren't far from a tipping point there too.

One thing that does not make sense to me at all is the fact that the new phonebook does have some white page listings: For Eastover, Chapin & Little Mountain -- go figure..

In the meantime, if you need to talk to me, I'm in the book. Oh wait -- well I never liked talking on the phone anyway.

Written by ted on February 28th, 2011

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Xtreme Customs & Car Audio, 2341 Broad River Road: 2009   no comments

Posted at 11:12 pm in business,stores

Xtreme Customs was at the corner of Broad River Road and Briargate Circle, just across from the old location of Delhi Palace.

I'm not sure if this place closed or moved. There is a business of the same name listed in the phonebook as being in Lexington, but there are no "we've moved" signs on this location directing traffic there, so it may be another owner. I see their last promotion was 'HUG SAL'. Without seeing her, it's hard to know if $8.99 was reasonable or not..

Written by ted on February 27th, 2011

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Cruel Joke   4 comments

Posted at 10:03 pm in commentary,grand-strand

Written by ted on February 26th, 2011

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SC Place, Columbia Mall: March 2011   1 comment

Posted at 12:40 am in stores

Here's another Columbia Mall closing. This is the first time I've been in the mall since Tumbleweeds and it actually felt a little livelier this time though I still see about the same number of shuttered shops. I guess this one, apparently a custom gift and embroidery shop, will be one more.

(Hat tip to commenter Dustin)

Written by ted on February 26th, 2011

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Eat More Tees, 747 Meeting Street, 2008 (moved)   3 comments

Posted at 1:10 am in stores

The humble tee-shirt is an American institution, and while I have never bought one myself (though, come to think of it, I do sell them), I have heard the name Eat More Tees off and on for years locally. It's one of those names that sticks in your mind because it sort of makes sense and sort of doesn't make sense.

At any rate if you want to eat more now, you'll have to go to Rosewood, as this West Columbia location (right across from the vintage WECO sign) has moved.

Written by ted on February 25th, 2011

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Coconuts Music / Alltel Wireless, 276 Harbison Boulevard: 2010   11 comments

Posted at 12:55 am in business,stores

I never go to the Harbison Starbucks since it is in the same parking lot as Barnes & Noble, which also has Starbucks coffee, and lots and lots of books. That being the case, I was only vaguely aware of the business next to it, which google suggests was an Alltel Wireless phone store. For some reason, despite the enormous popularity of cell-phones, these places seem to come and go quite often.

I did notice the last time I was at B&N however that the next tenant in the building is to be a Chipotle Mexican restaurant. I first encountered Chipotle in the DC area. To me it is definitely a notch below Moe's (though above Qdoba), and I am not at all fond of the hard-metal-edged industrial look of the places. The contractor permit sign states that they are adding a patio to the place. It's a shame that they couldn't do that on the back side of the building. Looking out on the parking lot would be no scene of epic grandeur, but I think it would have to beat looking out on Harbison Boulevard..

UPDATE 24 Feb 2011: Added Coconuts Music to the post title based on the comments, and fixed the spelling of Chipotle.

Written by ted on February 24th, 2011

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Subway, 2313 North Beltline Boulevard: Feb 2011 (open again)   no comments

Posted at 1:06 am in restaurants

This little building sits more or less on the Northeast corner of Beltline Boulevard and Forest Drive, across from the Walgreen's. As commenter Dennis pointed out when he noted this closing, it is sort of turned backwards in that the side of the building which faces Beltline has very little signage. Given that all the parking is in the back, locating the "front" signage back there may have made sense to the designer, but it's bad for business as folks driving by on Beltline have very little way to tell what businesses are located here. In fact, I did not realize there was a Subway here for quite a while.

Any time a business, especially a restaurant, puts up a note that they are closed "temporarily", it is a very bad sign. Of course there are times when it's necessary, such as for a serious illness (which I certainly hope has not happened here), but in general once a bad situation is exacerbated by adding "no money coming in" to whatever problem existed, these temporary closings tend to become final. In fact, this happened in this very building in the case of Bruster's Real Ice Cream.

(Hat tip to commenter Dennis)

UPDATE 16 April 2011 -- Well, it did re-open. Good for them!

UPDATE 8 March 2012 -- The sign on the side facing Beltline has been replaced, but I'm hard pressed to find any differences between the new one and the old one..

Written by ted on February 23rd, 2011

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WZLD ("Z-96"), 1303 State Street / 2334 Airport Boulevard: 1988   18 comments

Posted at 1:08 am in business,entertainment,historic

When I was in high school, a new radio station came to town, with a new concept: "Album Rock".

The station was WZLD (or "Z-96") and operated out of Cayce, first from a little storefront (apparently now vacant) to the left of a barber shop on State Street, and later from an odd looking building out on Airport Boulevard (at least I think that's where I remember seeing the sign).

I'll admit that the concept of "album rock" confused me a bit. I had only discovered rock music in 1976, and I was still a little iffy about all the definitions. For instance, I thought "acid rock" was the same thing as "heavy metal" since the only acid I had heard about was sulphuric, and I could imagine heavy metal dissolving stuff in the same way.

So, to make a full confession, I kind of took the promos about how "we play album cuts, not just singles" to heart and was deeply disappointed that they were not playing tracks from my then current favorite album, Billy Joel's "The Stranger". In fact, I went so far as to write them a deeply embarassing post card (in retrospect..) complaining that they were playing Van Morrison's "Wavelength" which was a Top-40 hit, and not "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant". I'm sure the DJs had a good laugh at it, and I've come to the point where I'm a huge Van Morrison fan nowdays (he can be very inconsistent in shows, but tore up the place in Atlanta last May..)

From what I've been able to gather from looking at old phonebooks down at the library, WZLD first showed up in the December 1974 Southern Bell phonebook. I don't think they were "album rock" at that time, or at least I didn't hear of them as such until later, but they were already at 1303 State Street, and already had their long-running phone numbers of 796-8896 business and 796-9996 for the contest line.

In the Janurary 1983 phonebook, their address changed to 2334 Airport Boulevard, and in the Jan 1984 phonebook, they took out their first yellow pages ad which rebranded them as "Number 1 Hit -- Kicker". Now, that phrase, "hit-kicker" is very similar to a non-radio-friendly phrase sometimes used to describe Country music, so I'm wondering if they underwent a change to a Country format at that time. I was still living in town at the time, but I don't think I was listening to them very much, and have no memory of it one way or another.

At any rate that catch phrase didn't last very long, and the yellow pages ad in the Feb 1985 phonebook described them as "Red Hot Radio 1". That also didn't last too long, and while the Feb 1988 phone book did not have a full ad, the tagline in their listing for that year was "All Hit".

They were not listed in the Jan 1989 phonebook and seem to have left the airwaves at that time.

Along the way, they did some memorable promos, with the most famous probably being the annual "Ramblin' Raft Race" on the Congaree. At this remove, sponsoring something like that seems as though it would be an insurance nightmare, but in those olden days, apparently encouraging tipsy people to navigate was OK..

Here's a few WZLD comments we've had here from time to time:


The one on Two Notch was indeed “The Zoom Flume”. I remember it well because they were a major sponsor at WZLD-FM where I worked. It’s heyday was the summer of 1979. We gave away free passes all the time. I think we tied it in with “The Ramblin’ Raft Race” on the Congaree River.

--Captain Dave


WZLD…. The ROCK… of the city.

The Ramblin’ Raft Race! I was going to BC when they had the first one of those (did they have more than one?).

I happened to be in study hall when a DJ and a guy from some raft rental company out of Atlanta came over looking for some kids to work for them. I signed up, and that was the hardest I think I’ve ever worked. We had to be there at 5:00am to blow up the rafts, rent them out, and then pack up and head down Old State to the pickup spot. Needless to say, the people getting out of the water didn’t resemble the folks we rented to at the put-in. I think we worked about 12 hours straight. Didn’t even get a lunch break!

Great times! (:

E.J.

UPDATE 2 July 2012 -- As mentioned in the comments, the A-frame looking building I have pictured above is not the Airport Boulevard location for WZLD. The correct building is next door, and I have finally gotten a picture of it:

p1070913_tn.jpg

Written by ted on February 22nd, 2011

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Charleston Crab House, 7201 Two Notch Road: late 2010   3 comments

Posted at 1:24 am in restaurants

This building, on a Columbia Mall outparcel facing Two Notch Road, was built as a Don Pablo's Mexican restaurant. By the time I did a closing for Don Pablo's, in March of 2008, the building had been a Charleston Crab House (they list in the phonebook as "Charleston Crabhouse" for some reason) for a couple of years already.

Like lobsters and shrimp, I consider crabs "sea bugs" and don't want anything to do with them so I never checked the place out. I do know that they used to have another Columbia store somewhere out by Columbiana Mall and they still have three locations in the Charleston area. Interestingly The State quoted the owners in a story about business taxes back in Jan 2011:

Charleston Crab House owner John Keener is fuming.

“We’re getting taxed on future growth of our business,” said Keener, whose three Lowcountry restaurants employ about 220 workers during the busiest time of year.

Keener said the tax increase, which will cost him more than $4,000 this year, caught him off guard. He warned his colleagues of the increase in an e-mail blast he sent out earlier this week.

That text suggests that the Columbia store was already closed on 15 Jan 2011, so I am putting the closing date as "late 2010". At any rate I don't think it could have been too long given the equipment still inside the place.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ted on February 19th, 2011

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Bridge Out!, Forest Lake Place: Mid Feb 2011   4 comments

Posted at 12:24 am in attraction,events,landmark

I noticed today that the bridge over Gill Creek at Eight Mile Branch behind the old Forest Lake Shopping Center (and beside the old Forest Lake Park is closed.

Google maps suggests that the road, at least on the east side of the bridge (in the area behind Zoe's) is known as Forest Lake Place, but doesn't seem to realize that it goes all the way over the creek and out to Trenholm Road. I do have to admit that it's not entirely clear to me either whether the area to the west of the creek is an actual road or just a parking lot. If it's a real road, it's pretty poorly maintained, but if it's a parking lot, why have a bridge in the first place?

At any rate, there is no indication how long the closure is to last and there did not seem to be any actual bridge work going on that I could see at all...

Written by ted on February 18th, 2011

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