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Jim's Discount Mall, Capitol Centre: November 2009   4 comments

Posted at 1:37 am in closing

I noticed this indoor flea market back in September, I think. It was in the old Capitol Centre strip behind Columbia Mall. This is an ill starred retail complex which has seen the failure or relocation of Circuit City, Capitol Centre Theater, Movies Behind The Mall, Office Depot, Aliens & Alibis and Cucos Mexican Cafe. It was several hours before the closing hour stated on the doors when I walked in, but most of the vendors had already covered their wares and gone for the day. I believe I was the only customer in the place, which is always uncomfortable for the amount of attention you get then. In particular a guy came up to assure me that it was usually much busier than this and that anyway they were going to do a grand re-launch event in October. I thanked him and wished them well, but was mentally shaking my head as I walked out. Just from the atmospherics I was 90% certain the place was going to be gone before the New Year, which is in fact what happened.

This kind of place can make it, but I think it requres some special circumstances. For instance, there is an indoor flea market on US-17 just south of Myrtle Beach that has been going for ten years or so. *But*, they have high visibility from a busy highway *and* have an operating Food Lion in the plaza which brings in traffic. Unfortunately, Jim's Discount Mall was not visible from any road. Even if you were coming into Columbia Mall (which is not the draw it was once anyway), you cannot see up the hill into Capitol Centre. Further, there is no store still operating in the plaza that pulls in any regular traffic. Without any of that, it would take a lot of advertising to get the word out, and that is a problem for a low margin operation. If I were going to pick a place in Columbia where an indoor flea market would have a chance to work, it would be one of the empty Goody's buildings which still have good visibility and working stores in their plazas (this actually has sort-of happened on a temporary basis) or the old Circuit City area on Two Notch. (There is also distressed space in The Village at Sandhill, but I suspect they are not yet ready to accept lower market clients on a long term basis). Of course all those rents are probably still higher than Capitol Centre.

Written by ted on January 27th, 2010

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4 Responses to 'Jim's Discount Mall, Capitol Centre: November 2009'

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  1. Ted, this is something I fail to understand about our dear town: why folks insist on building commercial retail property with no sightlines from the main thoroughfare. Decade after decade we do it. And the businesses ultimately fail and become vacant eyesores.

    You would think the developers would figure that out, especially since it is repeated over and over again.


    27 Jan 10 at 11:03 am

  2. I 2nd Steve. We try to duplicate what is done in other cities and states, but with no visabilty from heavily traveled roads. Best example to date is Village at Sandhills.


    27 Jan 10 at 10:18 pm

  3. Having the disadvantage or advantage of living out that way, Clemson and Two Notch are very heavily travelled. Sandhills doesn't have a sightline problem. It is kind of the victim of the current retail environment and there are fewer people with a lot of discretionary income. There are fewer viable tenants to go around, and some of the surrounding neighborhoods like the Summit (as we call it, the Slummit) have gone downhill surprisingly quickly.

    Give it some time, and Sandhills will be just fine. It is a nice center and it is far better than the uncontrolled mess Lexington County let Harbison become.


    28 Jan 10 at 1:51 am

  4. Mark my words: VAS will be a slum in less than five years.


    28 Jan 10 at 8:06 am

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