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Decker Mall, 2500 Decker Boulevard: Spring 2012   33 comments

Posted at 1:03 am in closing

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Well, it's unclear to me exactly when the hammer finally dropped, but all the remaining private businesses are now out of Decker Mall. I decided to stop by last week, and found that once I was inside, the only occupied space was the Dentsville Magistrate's office, and that most of the mall is now cordoned off by wire fencing in advance of the place being remodeled to house a bunch of Richland County Government offices.

I've written in various places about Decker Mall tenants, and thus in passing about the mall itself, but I've never done an entry for the mall per se.

In the beginning, Decker and Bush River malls were twins, with both being laid out as a strip anchored on one end by Richway (with the distinctive triangles on top) and on the other end by Kroger. The only real difference was that Bush River had a multiplex and Decker did not.

I'm not sure when Decker Mall opened, but it was definitely while I was in High School, probably around 1977. At the time, Columbia Mall was thriving, and just a few blocks away, so from the get-go, Decker had to find a different focus. With a discount store as one anchor, and a grocery as the other, the stores in the interior between the two tended to be smaller national chains, local chains, and one-off locals. Apart from clothing and other stores that didn't catch my teenage eye at all, I can recall Gateway Books, Flipside Records & Tapes, and my favorite, The Land of Oz video arcade.

After the Richway chain folded, Gold Circle took that anchor spot, and then when they folded, Target moved in. As far as I could tell, they always did a good business, but at some point a general mania struck Decker Boulevard businesses and they all begain a flight to Nort East Two Notch Road regardless whether there was still a customer base at the original location. When both Target and Kroger joined the flight, the writing was not only on the wall for Decker Mall (that wall had been scribbled for years..) but now it was etched in.

A number of local businesses that didn't rely on foot traffic held on there for years, but the last is now gone, and the next phase of life for the mall, if not *as* a mall is about to begin.

I have gone through a number of old city directories at the RCPL and have come of with this list of tenants for various years:

1977:

Does not list a mall at 2500, just Richway Stores.

1978:

  • Decker Mall Shopping Center
  • Richway Inc
  • Richway Auto Center
  • Ann & Andy Fashions
  • Fashion Bug of Bush River Inc
  • Dipper Dan Ice Cream Shop
  • The Peanut Shack
  • Country Corner gift shop
  • Reflections
  • Fayva Shoes
  • Good Health Food & Nutrition
  • Jenkins Flower Botique Inc
  • Manufacturings Outlet Shoes
  • Land of Oz
  • The News Room (restaurant & lounge)
  • Command Performance
  • Yummy Yogurt
  • Flipside Records & Tapes
  • Kroger Sav On Food & Drugs

1979:

  • Decker Mall Shopping Center
  • Richway Inc
  • Richway Auto cener
  • Fashion Bug of Bush River Inc
  • Country Corner
  • Reflections (men's clothes)
  • Gateway Books
  • Fayva Shoes
  • Jenkins Flowers & Bride's Place
  • Manufactures [sic] Outlet Stores (shoes & clothes)
  • Land of Oz
  • Command Performance
  • Harvey's Warehouse (stereo equipment wholesale)
  • Flipside Records & Tapes
  • Kroger Sav On Food & Drugs
  • Kroger Sav On Pharmacy

1983:

  • Decker Mall Shopping Center
  • Richway Inc
  • Richway Auto Center
  • Arnold's Formal Wear
  • Four Seasons
  • Mill Fabrics
  • The Micro Shop
  • The Shoe Tree
  • Land Of Oz
  • Command Performance
  • Flipside Records & Tapes
  • Kroger Sav-On Food & Drugs
  • Video Ventures
  • Melody Music Center
  • Olan Mills Inc
  • Rush's Fast Foods

1988:

  • Cola Magic & Customs Shop (theatrical supplies & equipment)
  • Decker Mall Shopping Center
  • Gold Circle
  • Four Seasons
  • China City
  • Command Performance
  • Kroger Sav-On Food & Drugs
  • Stone Works Home of The Dirt Cheap Mine (jewelery specialty)
  • Melody Music Center
  • First Federal of South Carolina (in Kroger?)
  • Olan Mills Inc
  • Rush's Fast Foods
  • State Department of Highways & Public Transportation
  • Columbia Magic & Costume Shop
  • Magic & Miracles Productions
  • Pettit William H Agency (talent agency)
  • Expert Alterations & Fine Mending

1993:

  • Target
  • China City
  • Kroger Sav-On Food & Drugs
  • First Savings Of South Carolina (in Kroger?)
  • Rush's Fast Foods
  • State Department of Highways & Public Transportation
  • Expert Alterations & Fine Mending

1998:

  • Branch Banking & Trust Co (in Kroger? in Target?)
  • Carolina First Corporation (where?)
  • China City of Columbia
  • Expert Alterations
  • Kroger Drugs
  • Rush's Food Systems
  • Target Store

2003:

  • Healthy Home Foods Inc
  • Legends Security & Sound
  • Little China Buffet
  • Pup's Barber Shop Express
  • Rush's
  • Special Occasions (catering)
  • Expert Alterations
  • Precisely Yours (beauty salon)
  • Changing Faces (beauty salon)
  • New Life World Ministries

2008:

  • Arcadia Self Storage
  • Legends Security & Sound
  • Little China Buffet
  • Division of Motor Vehicles
  • Nunies Mini Stand (convenience)
  • Richland County Magistrate
  • Rush's
  • Special Occasions
  • D & T Fashions
  • Expert Alterations
  • Changing Phaces (beauty salon)
  • New Life World Ministries

2011:

  • Extra Space Storage
  • Shekinah Glory Family Care (childcare)
  • Special Occasions (banquet rooms)
  • Legends Security & Sound
  • Division of Motor Vehicles
  • Richland County Magistrate
  • Expert Alterations
  • New Look New U (beauty salon)
  • Rush's

Note that some time between 1988 and 1993, the mall offices stop being listed, so perhaps the mall as a corporate entitiy was gone by that point. Note also that Rush's and China City/Little China are outparcels.

Here is Sky City's writeup on Decker Mall, and following are pictures and links from my other Decker Mall posts.

My post discussing the county purchase.

Kroger:

DMV:

Land of Oz:

Richway / Gold Circle / Target:

I know I have some other Decker Mall pictures around, and I will add those as I find them.

UPDATE 6 June 2012 -- Here are those other photos I mentioned that I was looking for. They are from 16 July 2009:

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UPDATE 18 June 2012: Added several lists of mall tenants by year above.

UPDATE 27 Jan 2013 Here are some pictures taken inside the mall on 24 June 2011:

UPDATE 15 September 2015 -- Well, the interior demolition of the old mall has started. At current, it appears that the Kroger building is almost completely gutted, and judging by what I can see through the pulled exterior panels near the self-storage end of the mall, the whole interior may be in the same state.

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Photosets:

18 June 2012

33 Responses to 'Decker Mall, 2500 Decker Boulevard: Spring 2012'

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  1. Nothing states 'class' like a ceiling-high chain link fence inside a shopping mall.

    Terry

    5 Jun 12 at 4:34 am

  2. Harvey's Warehouse, a radio shack type business was in both malls as was Morrows Nut House. Dipper Dans were also in both locations but neither lasted long. There was a very small B. Dalton at the Bush River Mall but nev er one at Decker.

    Tom

    5 Jun 12 at 7:46 am

  3. Even though I went to Decker Mall thousands of times, all I can remember are Land of Oz, Video Ventures (video game rental store, 1985-87+/-), and a hair salon. There must have been more, but I just don't recall any of them.

    Larry

    5 Jun 12 at 9:07 am

  4. @ Larry. I am the opposite. I went to Bush River Mall thousands of times and never ventured into this mall. I had always thought they were similar (looking at this from Decker) but never realized they were true duplicates of one another, apart from the theater. Rose's Alternations was in Bush River Mall, and they are now in the Cloisters. I bet that is the only original tenant still in business.

    jonathan

    5 Jun 12 at 9:40 am

  5. The hair salon in Decker might have been Command Performance. Oddly, I learned something at Decker Mall that I never new: That black panthers had spots. I don't remember the occasion, but someone had some (caged) exotic animals there one day, one of which was a black panther (I'm using 'panther' because I don't recall the specific type of cat). Even though it was black all over, you could still see the spots that were a little blacker.

    badger

    5 Jun 12 at 11:22 am

  6. Wonder what became of the 5 remaining tenants andl the storage unit

    Andrew

    5 Jun 12 at 12:57 pm

  7. I think the storage place gets to stay, but is not open to the "mall" area.

    ted

    5 Jun 12 at 1:05 pm

  8. interestingly enough, this is akin to how, in the final months of Target at Bush River Mall, it remained but there was a wall installed allowing you to get in/out of Target but not into the remainder of the mall after everyone else left

    Here is Deadmalls's writeup on Decker Mall

    Andrew

    5 Jun 12 at 2:28 pm

  9. @ badger. Command Performance was the place you kept on looking like you look when you left.

    There was a salon in Bush River Mall that I believe was very close to, or located in the same place that Sounds Familiar was located prior to their move up Bush River. I know that the DMV was in the Sounds Familiar location, so maybe it was next door.

    jonathan

    5 Jun 12 at 3:22 pm

  10. Decker Mall WAS the twin of Bush River Mall..but I dont remember the original Woodhill Mall looking like the other two. It had Record Bar in it from what I remember, but after that I really never went inside that much. Tapp's was part of that Mall too I think..but as said, I really didnt pay that much attention to that particular Mall in the mid to late 80's

    Saturday's child

    5 Jun 12 at 4:47 pm

  11. Woodhill was more of a "T" shape, with Richway/Target in the leg of the "T", Tapps at the right end of of the "T"s cross-bar and Record Bar somewhere near the left end of the cross-bar.

    ted

    5 Jun 12 at 5:32 pm

  12. Bush River Mall, Decker Mall, and Woodhill Mall all opened on the same day in 1977

    chris

    5 Jun 12 at 6:28 pm

  13. I agree with what Chris said about Bush River/Decker opening up in 1977 on the same day as I read that somewhere else but I recall The State saying that Woodhill Mall opened up in 1978 when it was announced that Woodhill's property would be redeveloped for the new Target-anchored Shoppes at Woodhill

    Andrew

    5 Jun 12 at 8:56 pm

  14. Man, those pictures bring back come memories. Not really of Decker but of Bush River. I used to live at that mall. Sounds Familiar, the theaters and the arcade, I was in there every weekend. And in late 80's I also religiously went to the original Opening Break to hustle some pool and have some 'adult' beverages. I used to love to go in the Kroger as well. At the time they carried you would never find in the Winn-Dixie's and Piggly Wiggly's at that time. Those were the days!!!

    Homer

    5 Jun 12 at 11:33 pm

  15. @Homer,

    Here is a Bush River Mall. I was too late to get pictures, but if you go to the bottom, you'll see a link from someone who did.

    Or, heck, I could just repeat it here

    ted

    5 Jun 12 at 11:44 pm

  16. @Ted - thanks for the links to the pictures but I already have them. It was so sad to see what was left of the mall after the fire, the homeless people and the vandals got done with it.

    Homer

    5 Jun 12 at 11:53 pm

  17. @badger: techically, all big cats are panthers; panthera is the feline genus which contains lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars. Black panthers are really black leopards with darker spots, just like you said.

    tonkatoy

    6 Jun 12 at 6:29 am

  18. andrew according to wikipedia and some other sources on richway all the three bush river, decker, and woodhill all opened on the same day. I have seen before that woodhill opened in 1978. Is it possible that the Richway opened before the actual mall at woodhill? I was born in 1979 but was at Woodhill a lot from the time I was little

    chris

    6 Jun 12 at 10:36 am

  19. @tonka
    Black panthers depend on where you find them. There have been black leopards, black jaguars, and black tigers in some regions. It is melanism strangely in leopards the gene is dominant and jaguars it is recessive or vice versa I don't remember. I always found it odd that the big cats are panthera but panthers are puma. Puma, mountain lion, catamount, cougar, panther whatever you want to call them. There has never been a proven black cougar but I believe in them

    chris

    6 Jun 12 at 11:28 am

  20. Woodhill definitely opened in 1978.

    @chris: The greatest trick the black cougar ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.

    And like that, poof, he's gone.

    tonkatoy

    6 Jun 12 at 11:42 am

  21. This phylogenetic tree is a good chart showing what cats are closely related to what. Basically, lions, tigers, jaguars, and leopards are in one clade, and all the other cats are more distantly related. It's interesting to note that pumas' closest relatives are cheetahs--and (not listed on this chart), the saber-tooth kitty that once lived in north america, it is believed, is not closely related to any of the modern cats--that it belonged to a whole separate cat family branch, all of which are now extinct. http://sparkleberrysprings.com/v-web/b2/?p=445

    badger

    6 Jun 12 at 11:56 am

  22. I haven't been in Decker Mall in 20 yrs, but I shredded the stairs, benches, handrails, and hauled arse down the breezeway in these pictures often on my skateboard back in high school. Exits at the top, middle, and bottom of the mall helped to escape the clutches of angry store managers and security. Does anyone remember the teen nightclub called Chances that was in the mall in the mid- '80's?

    palmettopanic

    6 Jun 12 at 7:26 pm

  23. @palmettopanic,

    Yes, I remember the teen nightclub, but I couldn't remember the name and I wasn't sure if it was in Decker Mall or Bush River Mall. I might be wrong, but I think it shared the same location as the video arcade in the opposite mall.

    fourlizards

    18 Sep 12 at 7:58 am

  24. I was a regular at Chances for a while. Every time I hear "Oh Sheila" I remember that place.

    Miz T

    4 Jan 13 at 4:16 pm

  25. I used to come to this place as a kid (in the 80's) to get hair cuts and play in the arcade (I left town in 88 and might even have some of the tokens left). When I came back to town I was looking to open my computer store in the mall. I got this crazy bunch of questions from the owner about if my business would attract kids and was told if it would attract kids he absolutely would not rent to me. He told me he gets tax credits for each location in the mall that is not rented out and doesn't have to worry about it. So here you go folks. Our system of support is keeping our city in shambles because this guy would have woken up and got his attitude and prices right years ago if state was not supporting him.

    Disapointed

    27 Apr 13 at 9:14 pm

  26. tonkatoy

    18 Dec 13 at 8:09 am

  27. Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2015 02:33:25 +0000
    Author: Michael

    There was a gem/mineral store there in either the late 80s or early 90s. I was really interested in rocks as a kid and remember being in awe of a huge amethyst specimen they had on display. I used to love looking at that shop.

    Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2015 15:05:08 +0000
    Author: palmettoconnection

    Ted, did you happen check out the construction going on at Decker Mall on the Kroger side when you stopped by KNC Trading?

    Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2015 13:53:06 +0000
    Author: palmettoconnection

    Great pics Ted. Thank you for the update.

    ted

    11 Sep 15 at 2:33 am

  28. Has anyone heard what the heck is going on with this place?? I went to Rush's for lunch today and noticed that the whole area looks like a war zone. I can't make heads or tails of what they are intending to do. Also, getting in and out of Rush's is treacherous to say the least thanks to their little corner being totally cut off due to the construction.

    Homer

    9 Apr 16 at 12:21 am

  29. Richland County bought it for offices...

    It looks to me like they are spending too much money on it though. Just put up some partitions in Kroger and call it a day.

    ted

    9 Apr 16 at 12:54 pm

  30. Yeah, from the looks of the outside of the building, it looks like crap with the different color slabs. If you look at it from the O'Neil Ct side, it looks like a kindergartener put the design together. Looks like a total waste of money.

    Sidney

    10 Apr 16 at 1:40 am

  31. @Sidney - your tax dollars hard at work!!!!

    Homer

    11 Apr 16 at 12:46 am

  32. Looks like the court will be completed soon...

    Toby

    18 Nov 16 at 4:28 pm

  33. @ MIS T
    Chances reminds me of "You Spin Me Right Round" which I allegedly danced to on that parquet dance floor, in Miami Vice attire none the less.

    Darrell

    11 Jun 18 at 11:42 pm

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