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Varn's Drug Store / Safran's Antique Galleries / Arcade Auction / I. Pickney Simons Gallery / Thai On Gervais, 926 Gervais Street: 2011   12 comments

Posted at 12:29 am in Uncategorized





I don't know anything about Varns Drug Store other than it was listed in Walsh's Columbia South Carolina City Directory for 1907-08, had "E H Varn" listed as the proprietor and is not there now.

Thai On Gervais was obviously many iterations after Varns. I know they listed in the phonebook from (at least) February 2007 through February 2011, but not in Feburary 2012. Given that, and the current state of the space, I think they must have closed sometime in 2011.

Traffic was heavy enough that I could not step into Gervais Street to get a good frontal shot of this place, but you can see from the sidewalk and side views that it has sort of a "work is being done" look. I did not see any permits or indications as to what is next here however.

UPDATE 11 June 2012: Commenter Larry casts doubt on this actually being Thai On Gervais, at least within the time period suggested by the phonebook. I will try to check the city directories next time I am at the library, but for now I am leaving it. (Varn's I am more confident about).

UPDATE 20 June 2012: After consulting city directories at the RCPL, I can say that from (at least) 1960 through 1970, this space (actually 926-930) was Safran's Antique Galleries. After that, it was apparently vacant for a good while. In 1995, it was listed as Arcade Auction (Charlton Hall Overflow) and from 1995 to (at least) 2000, it was I. Pickney Simons Gallery. That seems to have been the last tenant. No city directory lists Thai On Gervais, but that is definitely in phonebooks..

Written by ted on June 9th, 2012

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12 Responses to 'Varn's Drug Store / Safran's Antique Galleries / Arcade Auction / I. Pickney Simons Gallery / Thai On Gervais, 926 Gervais Street: 2011'

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  1. As far as I know, this space has looked exactly like this for 5 or 6 years. It has been quite the eyesore, and I have always been surprised that the city doesn't make them clean up the appearance. Inside the place is totally gutted and has for many years. I cannot remember anywhere named Thai on Gervais in the Vista - perhaps their numbering is off and they are closer to Millwood.


    9 Jun 12 at 10:50 am

  2. Huh. I can't explain that then. They are definitely in the phonebooks.


    9 Jun 12 at 11:40 am

  3. Well, it's possible that the numbering is off in the directory, or on the street. I know that there are some places where the numbers do not run sequentially. But that storefront has definitely been empty for a long time.


    9 Jun 12 at 12:23 pm

  4. Interesting! I got several other google hits for the address that I was unable to verify in any of my at-home phonebooks and so didn't list. Are either of:

    Bella Lino

    Richard Simmons (a gallery maybe?)



    9 Jun 12 at 1:48 pm

  5. I recall Bella Lino being in the area but caannot say for sure in this building. I looked behind the paper on the windows yesterday, and you can still see where the floor was dug up to add plumbing for what I would assume was some type of restaurant or bar equipment. I cannot recall Richard Simmons by name but I do remember a gallery in that area that had quite interestung sculptures made of huge blocks of acrylic carved with power tools.


    11 Jun 12 at 6:33 am

  6. Yep, that was a Simons art gallery for a while. I think they were affiliated with the one in Beaufort, but I'm not sure. I also agree that this location has been papered up at least five or six years--but I'm drawing a blank on a Thai restaurant anywhere in this area. It's possible that this location was intended to become a Thai restaurant, that just never materialized--similar to the Dunkin Donuts on Main St.


    11 Jun 12 at 9:36 am

  7. badger - I thought that was the simmons gallery -- they moved up the street to what is currently Paul Sloan Interiors, before closing their Columbia location. They are definitely the same as the gallery in Beaufort.


    11 Jun 12 at 4:49 pm

  8. There might be some activity going on here. A little while ago I walked by, and the black plywood (or whatever) board had been moved aside to allow entry. Or it might have been because some of the bums were coming home from the library to get to bed early.


    15 Jun 12 at 7:00 pm

  9. There is a Safran's Antiques on Whaley street now near the intersection with Assembly. I wonder if it is the same "Safran's" that occupied this building that long ago.


    7 Oct 12 at 7:06 am

  10. The current Safran's is owned by Mike Safran, a descendent of the Safran's of the original Safran's Antiques. According to the current Safran's website, the original Safran's was at 930 Gervais (? Next door). Perhaps they expended into this address also?


    7 Oct 12 at 11:53 am

  11. The owner of the building is the T-bonz group out of charleston, they were planning on adding a kemensky to the area but bought the building for Oyster and decided to open that first. They have really no idea what they plan to do with the space and no time frame when to do it.


    12 Oct 12 at 3:43 pm

  12. Oh mah, I'd *much* rather have a Cola Kaminsky's than an oyster bar!


    12 Oct 12 at 5:56 pm

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