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Budget Inn, 200 Zimalcrest Drive: May 2016   1 comment

Posted at 1:50 am in closing

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I noticed driving by the other day that the old Howard Johnson's on Zimalcrest Drive at Bush River has closed for remodeling. I believe it has most been under a number of flags since the Hojo days, but most recently, it was a Budget Inn.

This place is a bit unusual in that it has a strip club Thee Whiskey Tavern operating out of a suite of rooms. I have never heard of such an arrangement elsewhere (and don't know if the club is closed during the remodel). You will also remember that the attached restaurant Punjabi Dhaba suffered a fire in early 2014, and has since been torn down.

UPDATE 28 June 2016 -- Renovations continue:

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UPDATE 30 August 2016 -- Well this place is open again, now as Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham which at least sounds a bit more upscale this time. I will have to check to see if Thee Whiskey Tavern is still co-located or not:

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UPDATE 11 September 2016 -- Well Thee Whiskey Tavern is still there, something of an anomaly in a property that's trying to go a little bit more upmarket than Budget Inn:

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Written by ted on May 20th, 2016

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Howard Johnson's Motel, 200 Zimalcrest Drive: 1980s(?)   4 comments

Posted at 1:39 pm in closing

It always impresses me how easy it is to take a well known, well regarded brand and run it into the ground. There's no reason carved in stone as to why Sears shouldn't be the country's number one retailer. They had universal market penetration, a trusted image and core products that were consumer touchstones for quality: Craftsman, Kenmore & Diehard. Yet with all that going for them, they still fell asleep at the wheel and let Wal-Mart and even Target eat their lunch.

Something similar happened to Howard Johnson. At one time they were so ubiquitous and well known that Mel Brooks could joke about it in Blazing Saddles and be confident that everyone would get it. The chain is still around, but it's certainly not what it was. The location on Bush river continues in business as a hotel (the one in Cayce with the Cinderella carraige is boarded up). I think it's one of those generic sounding chains now with, I'm guessing, a low franchise fee. It's also got one of Columbia's several Indian restaurants. The time I went there, the food was fine, but the service was a bit slow -- it's changed ownership at least twice since then though. (My favorite Indian restaurant continues to be The Delhi Palace in another hotel over on Broad River).

(By the way, if you can't see the cat in the last picture when you click for full-size, then your browser is automatically scaling images for you, which is, in my opinion, bad. You can fix it in the browser settings [it's different for Internet Explorer and Firefox].)

Written by ted on June 10th, 2008

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