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Big Star / Old America, 4410 Fort Jackson Boulevard: 1988 / 1999   10 comments

Posted at 12:38 am in historic,stores

At one time, before it became a Big K-Mart, the left side of the K-Mart on Jackson Boulevard was a separate storefront. Looking at these pictures, there appears to be no trace of the division left, and I can't recall any indication inside the store either, but it was definitely the case.

There were at least two stores in that location. The first one I recall was Big Star grocery. Big Star was the discount arm of Colonial, and the Big Star remained open long after the Forest Drive Colonial, where we did most of our grocery shopping, closed. That meant that for certain Colonial items, like Farm-Charm cheese, we would drive out to Big Star rather than going to the closer Trenholm Plaza stores. Actually, I suppose it was mostly my doing as I was (and still am to some extent) a very picky eater, and sometimes my mother would get what I wanted just to make things easier on herself (I'm sure it wasn't above me to complain that a grilled cheese sandwich was made with the wrong kind of cheese..).

Wikipedia says that Big Star left the South Carolina market in 1988, selling its stores to Harris Teeter. I think this store closed earlier than that, and I don't think it was ever a Harris Teeter, but I could be wrong.

At any rate, some time after Big Star left, the storefront became an Old America store. I never went in one of these stores, but they were some sort of craft store and seemed to have a policy of co-locating with K-Mart, or at least the North Augusta K-Mart also had an Old America (though in that case the K-Mart left before Old America folded). In Columbia, K-Mart is still there, and Old America folded, probably in 1999.

I'm getting the 4410 street address from an old online listing for Old America, apparently that address no longer exists with the K-Mart expansion, and the whole storefront is now 4400. I don't think there was another store after Old America and before K-Mart took the whole space.

Written by ted on October 31st, 2009

10 Responses to 'Big Star / Old America, 4410 Fort Jackson Boulevard: 1988 / 1999'

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  1. This Kmart which was the very first one in Columbia, opened in 1963 which I can vaguely? remember, and I think it was either the late 60's or there of that they added The Big Star Grocerie store on the other side. I dont know if the remodled the store to add this or not.. Then it became The Old Amercian Store in the mid 80's or 1987 or so, then they closed up and Kmart just knocked down the wall that seperated the 2 stores and expaned on the inside to what they look like today. In fact, the original Hardess, and McDonalds and Burger King were the first ones here in Columiba before they built the ones over in Cayce. People tell me that A&W Rootbeer Drive-In was on Devine/Beltline back then too...but I sure dont remember that.

    Del

    31 Oct 09 at 9:38 am

  2. As you can see...I cant spell this early in the morning either.

    Del

    31 Oct 09 at 9:39 am

  3. For a couple of years this end of the building was a 3 Guys grocery. Can't remember if that was before or after Old America.

    My family moved to Columbia the year this K Mart opened and we went there a lot. I live in Rosewood now and I'm still in there at least once a month. I wish they would try to resurrect their garden center.

    Remember those little sandwiches they sold 3-for-a dollar? Hamburger buns with ham, lettuce and tomato. I have no idea what they did to them but they were always great!

    A neighbor of ours finally retired after working there 35 years. She said she'd watched me grow up. If you ever shopped there much you would certainly recognize her.

    Dennis

    1 Nov 09 at 4:57 am

  4. Del, the A&W was where the Burger King is now. It burned in the early seventies.

    Grandad would take me there for a root beer float and I'd watch the muscle cars rump-rumping around the parking lot

    I used to love that Kmart. practically all of my Matchbox and Hot wheels came from that location.

    jamie

    2 Nov 09 at 8:45 am

  5. When was Burger King built on Garner's Ferry? Was it after A&W? Or did it sit somewhere else? Was the first BK Lounge over on Two Notch? I know the First Hardee's and McDonalds were over on Garners Ferry and the Kmart was the first one in Columbia..

    Del

    2 Nov 09 at 12:29 pm

  6. Most likely this began its life as a Kmart Foods. I know Kmart Foods partnered with some other groceries; their Detroit locations were Wrigley's. In some cases, the Kmart just expanded into the food store, while in other cases it just became a new storefront (e.g. the one on Dort Hwy. in Flint, which became a Big Lots-type store called Mazel's and is now vacant).

    Bobby P. (TenPoundHammer)

    2 Nov 09 at 8:45 pm

  7. BK was built after the A&W burned on the same property.

    jamie

    3 Nov 09 at 8:09 am

  8. Around the time that Old America went bankrupt was when Kmart was unveiling a BIG Kmart brand that is still on the signage of all (now 5*) Kmart locations.

    * at the time they went from Kmart to Big Kmart, they had 6 locations but the one at 99 N Arrowood Road (store #3168) closed November 2009. The blog entry on that one is how I found this site as I was trying to see what I could figure out about that particular store as they were getting ready to close it.

    At any rate, this particular Old America went bankrupt was around the time that Kmart was trying to upgrade their stores to Big Kmart but didn't update N Arrowood as much as they did the others. The intercom at the N Arrowood produced a feedback that lead me to believe it was on its last legs.

    Kmart managed to emerge from bankruptcy but is definitely past their prime. It intrigues me that they haven't built any new locations* in what seems like years.

    * I don't keep up with the retail world out of Columbia but I get a vibe that they haven't put any new locations in lately...but then again, I get the same feeling about Captain D's

    Andrew

    9 Jul 11 at 8:35 pm

  9. I forgot to mentioned that it worked out well for Kmart to expand into the former Old America space since they were upgrading to Big Kmart and they were able to utilize the old America Space...many of my late grandmother's Easter decorations (which I still have out in my room at the moment) came from this Old America and I went a few times with her.

    Andrew

    9 Jul 11 at 8:37 pm

  10. I moved to the Garners Ferry Rd area in 1963. I was 6 years old. My parents would take us to that K-Mart often. I think back then it was K-Mart, Sears and Roebuck (Searstown) in Five Points, Richland Mall or Treholm Plaza were about the only places to go shopping. The Garden Dept. sold fish and birds, they had an Auto Dept that sold Mini Bikes, I bought one when I was 13 with money I saved from a paper route. I remember the Record Dept. They sold 8-track tapes and tape players. Man K-Mart was the place to go. WHAT HAPPENED K-MART? I rarely go there now, I can't find a price on a lot of things and have to ask. My parents would shop for groceries there or at the Piggly Wiggly in Cedar Terrace. I went in The Old America Store a couple of times, nothing I really wanted back then and I remember it smelled funny, like incense or scented candles, I don't like that smell.

    Rick

    21 Jul 11 at 9:08 pm

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