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Archive for September, 2011

Rudy's Upper Deck, 511 Meeting Street: September 2011   6 comments

Posted at 3:02 am in stores

I never really got into baseball trading cards and memorabilia (though they intersect somewhat with the comics book world). I just remember how Charley Brown always wanted, and never got a Joe Shlabotnik trading card (though Lucy could find them at will).

Rudy's was in The Shoppes At Meeting Place, a little strip not too far west of Sunset, which has had a number of comings and goings over the years, most notably for me, Ye Olde Comic Shoppe.

(Hat tip to commenter steve)

Written by ted on September 21st, 2011

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Weathersby's G A Texaco / Auto Trim Design, 1700 Taylor Street: 2009   1 comment

Posted at 10:59 pm in business

According to their still extant web site, Auto Trim Design was founded in 1973 and introduced auto window tinting to Columbia in 1983 (As I recall, there was a legal problem with window tinting before then).

Interestingly, Google StreetView shows them with a different paint job, so the current "rising sun" look must be fairly recent. It's definitely a little more eye-catching.

UPDATE 20 September 2011: Commenter Tom points out that the building was a Texaco, which I was able to confirm from the 1961 Yellow Pages.

Written by ted on September 19th, 2011

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Tony's Pizza, 224 Knox Abbott Drive (Parkland Plaza): September 2011   13 comments

Posted at 11:17 pm in restaurants

While I was out and about today, I noticed some guys apparently hanging a new banner that said Zeus Pizza on the marquee of Tony's Pizza at Parkland Plaza. When I got back by after making a few other stops, it appeared that perhaps I was wrong and they were taking it down, or they needed some more tools to make it stick. Either way, it's clear from looking at the signs in the store windows that the name change is official. I drove down the street to the Tony's near 12th Street, and there is no indication of any change there, so I guess just this location has changed ownership. (The Parkland Plaza roadside sign still lists Dollar Discount as well as Tony's).

The door sign namechecks Columbia's Greek Festival. I certainly took the opportunity to stop by this weekend and have some Baklava and Galaktoboureko!

(Hat tip to commenter Tonkatoy, sort of)

UPDATE 30 September 2011 -- Commenter Andrew sends these two pictures of the new Zeus banner I saw now being successfully installed:

Written by ted on September 18th, 2011

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Your Mom's House, 2006 Senate Street: 2011   2 comments

Posted at 12:55 am in nightclub,restaurants

This little building at the foot of Senate Street by the Five Points Food Lion seems to have been a revolving restaurant/night-club site of late. When I first did a closing on it, it was for Ribby's & Gilligan's.

The next time I mentioned it was when the follow-on, The Cock Lounge closed. In that closing, I noted the opening of Your Mom's House.

Now it appears that Your Mom's House is gone, and the follow-on to *that* will be The Shack, a barbecue joint.

Written by ted on September 17th, 2011

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Now Serving Lamb Chops   1 comment

Posted at 12:50 am in commentary

Written by ted on September 17th, 2011

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Julie's / Chicago Smokehouse / Chateau Gentlemens Club / Chateau De L'amour, 1321 Garner Lane: Summer 2011   5 comments

Posted at 12:56 am in entertainment,nightclub

Chateau Gentlemens Club was the follow-on operation for the building which formerly housed Touch of India, and you can still see the Indian motifs in the arches along the rooftop (though I suppose in this context you could see them as something else as well).

Garner Lane is the I-20 frontage road which you can only reach by taking the I-20 Eastbound on-ramp at Broad River Road. It's a somewhat difficult place to get in and out of, and somewhat difficult to figure out how to do that as well. I don't know if that had anything to do with this club lasting for a rather short period: It's only listed in this year's phonebook (Feb 2011), so I'm guessing less than a year.

It's listed in the phonebook as Chateau De Lamour, a name I'm pretty sure was on the I-20 visible sign at one point as well. I'm guessing that was too ambiguous to draw traffic.

The name of this little plaza has changed as well. Last year, it was Volaty Plaza, now it is S&B Plaza.

UPDATE 11 November 2011: Located the two pictures I took while the club was in operation, and added them as the first two above.

UPDATE 30 July 2012: Commenter badger suggests this was Julie's and then Chicago Smokehouse. I think he's right so I'll add those to the post title. I ate at this Julie's once long ago, but don't remember anything about it other than it did not give me food posioning like the one on Garner's Ferry.

Written by ted on September 16th, 2011

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Borders Books, 12500 Dale Mabry Highway (Tampa) / 6837 Newberry Road (Gainesville): 2011   3 comments

Posted at 11:33 pm in out-of-area,stores

Although there were Waldenbooks in Columbia, I believe the closest that parent company Borders Books ever got to Columbia was Augusta Georgia, where they had a store in a strip off the Bobby Jones Expressway, near the I-20 interchange.

I first encountered Borders in Kansas City Kansas, on Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park. There were actually two stores on Metcalfe, but one of them was almost adjacent to the US Sprint building where I worked a number of projects over the years. (This was also the first place where I encountered Macroni Grill, which to date is the only place I've been where the Matitre-D requested a bribe).

Since I would be staying in a hotel not too far away, I would generally repair to Borders after dinner with local and other visiting co-workers, and it was something of a wonderland for me. First of all, it was big. This was the early to mid 1990s, and there was nothing to compare with a Borders in Columbia, and even less so in Fayetteville NC where I was living at the time. There were rows on rows in the Science Fiction section, with a deep back-list, and books and authors I had only vaguely heard of, including lots of archival small-press selections from NESFA Press and other specialty publishers. The history section was awesome, including even lots of Loeb editions of classics in Latin (no, I don't read Latin [beyond 'cogito ergo sum'], but the English was on facing pages, and these were the *only* editions of a lot of these classical authors). I had been on the Internet, and doing network programming since 1985, but this was the time period when the World Wide Web was just starting to break to a mass audience, and the computer section was huge, with books on all the topics I would never see in Columbia or Fayetteville. I would always come home from Kansas with a suitcase-full of computer books, busting both my back and my budget, but I never regretted it.

Even beyond the books, the magazine section was huge, and had obscure SF magazines that had either never heard or or assumed long defunct, and titles from every dimly-lit corner of popular culture, including film & animation, music and all sorts of unclassifiable little niches. There was also a coffee-shop in the store, which was an innovation I had not seen elsewhere. At the time, I could drink lattes until store closing at 11pm and still be up for work in the morning, and with a table of books and magazines, I often did. (Unfortunately, I can't do that anymore..). Obviously, I wasn't there on a consistent enough basis to see much of the programmed activities apart from the merchandise, but I did get to see a presentation by George R. R. Martin (who I had long known about, but who was just starting to become famous at the time), and speak briefly with him.

In time, the assignments in Kansas got less frequent, but projects in DC got more so, and Borders was there too. In contrast to Kansas, I usually would not have a car in DC, but after work, I would often take the Metro to the Pentagon City stop, have supper at Chevy's Mexican and then spend the rest of the evening until 11pm across the hall at Borders. Once more, I often came home from DC with loads of computer books.

DC was where I first started to get the idea that all was not right in the Borders world. The store, which had always been open until 11pm, started closing at 10pm on week-nights, making it difficult for me to both have supper and visit. It also seemed to me that the quality of the computer section was declining a little bit.

Of course, there were other factors at play as well. At around the same time, Amazon really began to break big, and suddenly, I could have any book I knew about delivered directly to me in just a few days. All at once, I didn't have to visit a big city to get a big-city selection of books.

Borders dealt with the Internet *poorly*. They made their worst decision ever while I was living in Aiken and working in Augusta. At that time, when the local Borders opened, it didn't seem that special. Columbia had Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million by then, and Borders while still my preferred store, was no longer on a different quantum level from everything else I had access to. At the time, all brick-and-mortar stores were trying to figure out how to use the Internet, and Borders' idea (after initially trying an ill-thought-out web site of their own) was to get Amazon.Com to handle their online business. I remember being flabbergasted when I read this bit of news. The proper analogy is hard to come up with, but it's something like Target telling K-Mart: Sure we'll help you out. We'll put a little door on the side of our store over here with your logo on it, and if someone comes into our store by that door, we'll put your name on the register receipt, but our sales staff and stockers will take care of everything.

Needless to say, everybody coming to the Borders online store, and using the Amazon interface, search system, credit card support etc became acclimated to the Amazon environment and just started using the regular Amazon store..

To add to having a stupid Internet strategy, Borders was unable to come up with an e-reader strategy. Amazon, of course, has the Kindle, while B&N (and B-A-M) have the Nook. Borders had.. nothing. I believe that in the end they did latch onto a second-tier (but OK) e-reader, but by then it was way too late. To make matters worse, a large non-book portion of their stores had been devoted to CD's and DVDs, and the complete collapse of the CD market left them with way too much floor-space for the money the stores were bringing in.

It was clear for several years that the chain was on a downward spiral, and that even if they got access to new financing, they had no viable plan to actually use the money to make the stores profitable again. Last year, I believe, they stopped paying their book suppliers. They could sort of do that, as they were still an important market, and the vendors knew that if they pressed the issue too hard and pushed the chain over the brink, their distribution would be drastically cut. In the end though, there was no alternative. Following some last-minute drama about an offer that didn't quite come through, Borders went Chapter 11 on 16 February 2011, with the last gasp in July 2011. They had already been closing stores left and right, but now started closing them all, and plan to have them all shut by the end of this month (September 2011). The web site is still up as of this writing, and claims this is the final week with savings of up to 90% on whatever is left.

The two stores pictured are both in Florida. The first is on Tampa's Dale Mabry Highway, and is a nice location with picturesque moss draped oaks. The second is in Gainesville, just off of I-75 (and not too far from UF), in a larger strip. I'm not sure when these stores closed, but suspect it had already been several months by August. You can see that the second is taking refuge in that cure-all for closed big-box retailers: The Halloween Store.

In the meantime, the fate book retailing is still very much undecided. Both Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million have reduced their hours in Columbia, and I'm not sure that in the end anyone with a physical store can compete with Amazon.

UPDATE 1 December 2012: The Tampa borders above is to become a medical clinic as the pictures below that I took in August 2012 show, and as the linked article provided by commenter Andrew tells:

Written by ted on September 14th, 2011

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Stivers Subaru, 6001 Two Notch Road: Late August 2011   3 comments

Posted at 11:21 pm in stores

New Dealership:

It appears the Columbia Subaru franchaise (though not the dealership itself) has moved down Two Notch Road a few blocks towards Dentsville. The former dealership, Stivers at the corner of Two Notch Road and Calvin Drive (next to the old Zoom Flume location) is currently vacant.

(Hat tip to commenter JohnBom)

Written by ted on September 13th, 2011

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Every 175 Years..   2 comments

Posted at 11:20 pm in commentary

Bethel United Methodist gets a new sign..

Congrats!

Written by ted on September 13th, 2011

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Logan Raye, 801 Gervais Street: 27 August 2011   34 comments

Posted at 11:39 pm in business

I held off doing this closing for a bit, as I wasn't absolutely certain Logan Raye at the corner of Gervais & Gadsden was actually closed. The phone is still connected, there's no sign on the door, and all the products still seem to be shelved. However, the web site does hint strongly, and the door was locked during normal hours, so I'm afraid it's so.

I'm not that familiar with hair salons, or how long one stays inside, but it does strike me there is very little parking here. When I stopped to take these pictures, I had to feed a meter. I wonder if that may have had an impact..

(Hat tip to commenter Michael)

Written by ted on September 12th, 2011

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