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Kimbrell's Furniture, 1626 Main Street: 1 October 2011   14 comments

Posted at 12:17 am in historic,landmark,stores

The end of Kimbrell's on Main Street was hardly a surprise. Their sign says they had been there 49 years (or almost my entire lifetime), but the character of Main Street has changed so much over the years that even blocks where there are signs of life (Kimbrell's was on the same block as the new Mast General Store) don't make sense for heavy retail like furniture. A modern furniture store needs lots of display space, as well as an easy way to get trucks in and out, and Main Street doesn't really have either.

There are a number of other Kimbrell's locations around town, and the signs indicate that operations from the Main Street store have been consolidated in Piggly Wiggly location on Marshall Street.

I hope that whatever happens to the old Main Street store, someone saves the old and classic Kimbrell's sign, though I realize that would be confusing in some cases, it seems to have worked well for the Kress building.

15 Jan 2010:

4 September 2011:

16 October 2011:

Written by ted on November 1st, 2011

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14 Responses to 'Kimbrell's Furniture, 1626 Main Street: 1 October 2011'

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  1. This building will pose a tough decsion for preservationists, assuming someone does want to save it (and I hope someone does.) Do you keep one of the finest examples of an art-deco facad or try to revert to the buildings original late 19th, early 20th century look.

    Tom

    1 Nov 11 at 9:52 am

  2. I'd get rid of the facade, personally.

    tonkatoy

    1 Nov 11 at 12:40 pm

  3. What a magnificient tree!! Too bad it totally blocks their entire sign and storefront Spring-Fall.

    Peter

    1 Nov 11 at 2:15 pm

  4. I say make it look like it did when the building was first built. A lot of things were too modernized in the 60's. Bob Coble didnt help anything either..

    Del

    1 Nov 11 at 6:39 pm

  5. I'm all for getting back to the original facade, however there is no telling how much of it was removed for the "update". There are a couple of buildings on Harden street that have had their "newer" facades removed to get back to the originals. They are across the street from the former Andrews Motor site and the shopping center.

    Jeff B.

    1 Nov 11 at 10:28 pm

  6. @Jeff B, interestingly enough, the Food Lion at 1001 Harden Street at the Marketplace at Harden was closed, rebuilt and reopened in 2002. It was the beginning of a project to give the Marketplace on Harden a facelift that I think is now finished.

    There is a new something being built where Andrews motors was but I can't seem to figure out what it is and I check several times a week to try to figure it out...

    Andrew

    1 Nov 11 at 11:24 pm

  7. I thought the Harden Food Lion caught fire and closed for that reason.

    ted

    2 Nov 11 at 12:35 am

  8. I'm with Del, particularly because that is one of the worst art deco facades I've seen (sorry, Tom).

    I don't remember that at all, ted.

    tonkatoy

    2 Nov 11 at 6:32 am

  9. from The State archives:

    FIVE POINTS FOOD LION TO REOPEN
    State, The (Columbia, SC) - Friday, August 24, 2001
    Author: MAURICE THOMAS, Staff Writer
    Food Lion on Harden Street, closed since June 2000, will reopen next year, bringing a much-needed grocery store to the Waverly and Martin Luther King Jr. neighborhoods and to students at the nearby University of South Carolina.

    The renovated store will also fit into the Five Points Association's plans to beautify Harden Street with a new streetscape plan.

    Work started on the Food Lion earlier this week. The store will be 10,000-square-feet larger and have more modern features. The new space brings the size to 36,000 square feet.

    The store will have a deli and bakery, features not in the old store, said Ruth Kinzey, director of communications for Food Lion in Salisbury, N.C.

    The renovations also will include new lights, landscaping and resurfacing the parking lot, said Rox Pollard, leasing agent at Collier Keenan, which manages the center.

    The plan is for the remainder of the shopping center to be renovated but not necessarily on the same time line, Pollard said. It is almost a $2 million investment for the shopping center.

    The center has the potential to be a very significant part of Five Points and downtown Columbia, Pollard said. It's the largest shopping center with parking in downtown Columbia, he said.

    The Food Lion shopping center was once known as Sears Town. Sears moved to Harden Street from downtown Columbia in 1955 and stayed until it moved to Columbia Mall in 1977.

    Food Lion is renovating because the store did not fit a conventional grocery store layout, which made stocking and displaying merchandise difficult, Pollard said.

    Neighbors of the Food Lion miss their store and look forward to its return.

    The store's closing has been hardest on senior citizens in the community who lived within walking distance and those who use wheelchairs to get around, said Durham Carter, president of the Martin Luther King Neighborhood Association.

    But several recent changes, including curb cuts in the sidewalk, will allow people using wheelchairs to maneuver more easily to reach the renovated store, Carter said.

    The return of Food Lion is also expected to please USC students and faculty.

    "Having access to a grocery store improves the quality of life for students on campus and those who spend a lot of time here," said Jerry Brewer, director of student life at USC.

    The university has two convenience stores on campus, but they don't offer the variety or volume of grocery stores, Brewer said.

    The refurbished shopping center fits into the overall plans for Harden Street, which will be renovated from Blossom Street to Calhoun Street.

    "I think the shopping center, anchored by Food Lion and coupled with our effort to beautify Harden Street, is essential to the area," said Dennis Hiltner, president of the Five Points Association and owner of the Gourmet Shop.

    "There is a great demand for the grocery, especially the quality that the Food Lion will be," he said.

    Food Lion and Colliers Keenan have been working with Columbia City Council to make sure what they do fits into the overall plans for Harden Street, Hiltner said.

    "I think it will have a great effect on the shopping center that will spill over to the rest of Harden Street," Hiltner said. "One of the things we want to happen because of renovation is to cause businesses to locate along a new, an improved attractive street."

    Any kind of remodeling or face-lift is good for any community, said Duane Nelson, sales manager for Radio Shack on Harden Street.

    If it is going to bring more people back to the area, that is always going to be a plus, Nelson said.

    The whole community depended on Food Lion 's being close by, Nelson said.

    Staff Writer Mike Ramsey contributed to this report.

    © 2001 The State

    I do recall it catching fire but am not sure if this was when it happened.

    SHOPPERS WELCOME BACK GROCER
    State, The (Columbia, SC) - Thursday, June 20, 2002
    Author: CLARE RAMSEY Staff Writer
    Shoppers were out early to check out the Gamecock-themed Food Lion in Five Points, a neighborhood grocery that reopened Wednesday after two years.

    "It's so nice and clean," said Alice Besier, 86, a resident of Christopher Towers, a nearby residential care apartment building. The old store "was terrible, and small and dirty," she said.

    The updated storefront and expanded interior will add to the beautification and revitalization of Harden Street and Five Points, said Jack Van Loan, president emeritus and economic development director for the Five Points Association.

    "The bottom line is we haven't had a grocery store down there since that Food Lion closed," Van Loan said. "It's a tremendous boost to the university neighborhood, to the Martin Luther King neighborhood, to Wales Garden and Shandon."

    Van Loan said nearby merchants are hoping Food Lion will attract more customers to the area and those customers will stop in their businesses, too.

    "It is a very, very important and very meaningful thing to our area," Van Loan said.

    Many shoppers out early Wednesday said they were frequent Food Lion customers until the store closed for remodeling in June 2000.

    The Food Lion , one of 23 in the Columbia area, expanded to 38,000 square feet and brought 20 full-time and 35 part-time jobs. The store added services, including deli, bakery, florist and self-serve checkout lanes.

    While customers appreciated the updates, the location brought many of them back.

    "I shopped here even with the dirty old store, so there's no reason not to shop here now," said Shandon resident Beth Anderson, 49. "It's very convenient for me."

    Curtis Whisenant, 71, who lives down the road in Finlay House apartments, said he and his neighbors shopped at the Food Lion all the time because of location and price. They were unhappy to see it closed for two years. "It was real inconvenient for people," he said. "Some of us don't have cars."

    Shoppers were welcomed Wednesday by a sign declaring the store to be the Gamecock Food Lion . The theme is echoed in the garnet and black decor inside, with Gamecock logos above checkout lanes and USC flags and pennants adorning the walls.

    Store manager Barry Goodwin expects 30 to 40 percent of his customers to come from the USC community, "not only for the Gamecock theme, but for the big, beautiful store, too."

    There's another Food Lion nearby on Taylor Street, but Goodwin said there is room for both. "It's about convenience. We want to be convenient to our customers."

    Food Lion will market to surrounding neighborhoods, as well as to the growing resident population in the downtown business districts and the Vista.

    Food Lion officials, neighbors and Five Points merchants also are awaiting the renovation of the rest of the Market Place Mall shopping center.

    David Lockwood, Colliers Keenan leasing services vice president, said the shopping center owners plan to renovate, but there is no time frame for those renovations. Colliers Keenan manages the shopping center.

    Many of the storefronts next to the Food Lion are empty, but Lockwood said that is likely to change when the center is renovated.

    "There's a lot of interest in that shopping center from some very good retail tenants. The interest level is very high on that," he said. Retailers are just waiting for the center to get a facelift, he said.

    GROCERY STORE SAVINGS

    Customers checking out the new Food Lion on Harden Street said price, selection and location drive them to shop at a specific grocery store.

    © 2002 The State

    I remember hearing that it was part of a plan to give the Marketplace on Harden a facelift and mentioned as much to my grandmother, who thought this Food Lion meant getting a lot done in that dept. The stores between Food Lion and where Office Depot is now weren't touched yet but they have been since. I am not sure when the fire occurred there but I know it shut the store down for a time, but not sure how long.

    Andrew

    2 Nov 11 at 10:44 am

  10. @Andrew re new red brick building on Harden that's a Cookout burger & shakes place going up. They're working pretty steadily on it, It'll be open in a few weeks I'd guess at the speed they're going but definitely faster than the super slothful Salsarita going up where Cloud Nine used to be on Gervais.

    Mike D

    2 Nov 11 at 10:52 am

  11. I work in Five points and remember the renovation on the Food Lion well. An improvement for sure. Mike D is correct that the space being built upon is a Cookout burger and shake.

    I would like to see more work done to bring back the old facades that were covered up in the sixties. What was once so common is now rare. Drive down Main or Gervais and I'm willing to bet the most appreciated buildings are probably the oldest. They really don't build them like they use to.

    Jeff B.

    2 Nov 11 at 8:02 pm

  12. Interestingly enough, I looked into the Cookout thing a little more in depth and concluded that the building being built at Harden and Senate Streets is looking a lot like the Cookout building proposed in the BoZA plans. It smells like that's what's going on but no official signage

    Andrew

    2 Nov 11 at 10:24 pm

  13. From The State's Business section

    COLUMBIA — Columbia’s resurgent downtown will get another major boost in the coming year when Agape Senior, one of the state’s largest health-care providers for seniors, will move its corporate headquarters to three buildings in the 1600 block of Main Street.

    The company also will open a vegan café, a 24-hour public fitness center, pharmacy and other enterprises in the buildings, which are across from Mast General Store and the new Nickelodeon Theater.

    Agape Senior, now headquartered in West Columbia, will take over 43,000 square feet of space at 1614, 1620 and 1626 Main St. – buildings once home to Kimbrell’s Furniture, Schulte’s Department Store and Main & Taylor Shoes.

    Terry

    23 Dec 12 at 3:38 am

  14. The Agape Senior complex is at least partially open now. There is a pharmacy, a bar and a place called Good Life Cafe now in operation. I passed by around dinner time yesterday and the bar and cafe were packed with people.

    Justin

    26 Mar 14 at 8:01 am

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