Archive for the ‘Columbia Mall’ tag
National Tire & Battery (now a Tire Kingdom) was in this Columbia Mall outbuilding more or less behind the old Penny's location. I actually did go there once a few years ago when my car started really thinking about things before turning the starter over. I usually put Die Hards in my cars but for some reason or another I was not able to get served by Sears that day. I'm not building up to anything here -- it was perfectly acceptable service and a battery that lasted several years. (I've actually had much worse luck with alternators than batteries anyway). I guess I would have been hosed if I had needed to take advantage of the battery warranty as they closed fairly shortly thereafter, but in the event it wasn't an issue.
I don't believe the building was vacant long at all as Tire Kingdom moved in shortly thereafter. I find it a little amusing that this large, freestanding building has only a suite number, while all the little suites at The Shoppes at Meeting Place have full street numbers.
I've written about this building before since it was once "that building that looks like a car radio" and make the "Sounds Real Good!" commercial.
I'm not sure if Cash-N-Dash was the immediate next tenant in the building after Continental Sound, but I think they were. Sadly, they un-radioized the building though you can still see signs of the old design (the stars were the knobs, and the windows were the radio tuner readouts, I think).
I'm not exactly sure when this place closed shop, but I'm pretty sure they dashed sometime this summer.
I went to Sears at Columbia Mall on Wednesday to look for something and decided to take the closing-cam and walk the mall afterwards. There are so many vacant storefronts that the place almost feels like Inlet Square Mall now. I thought about taking pictures, but then decided there was no point because I didn't even know what these places had been. In high school, I probably went several times a week, but now it's once every six months or so. Is the mall in trouble? Let me put it to you this way -- the Dollar Store is gone, and there are kiosks selling flea-market type merchandise...
I did take a few pictures, and I really like the first one. It is almost an Edward Hopper-esque scene of isolation.
Speaking of Rich's, as we were a few weeks ago, I've held on to this ad since the 1980s hoping that someone else would be as amused by it as I was. To date this has failed to happen, though I still get a chuckle from it.
Here's the key question: Exactly what guarantee is being made here?
Dillard's started out as a Belk's when Columbia Mall opened in the 1970s and was one of the original anchor stores (along with Sears, Penny's and RIch's).
Since I considered Belk's mainly a "clothes store" and I hated shopping for clothes, in the usual course of events, I would not have gone there often. However in one of those odd little bits of department-store whimsey (nut counters, lunch rooms, hair salons..) that were common in pre-mall days and had yet to be abandoned, they had an area on the second floor near the kitchen-ware which was leased out to a local record store. I knew the name of it before I started this post, but I find it has completely escaped me at the moment. At any rate, it was a small area and the selection of regular LPs was not deep by any means, but they frequently had incredible finds for anyone willing to root through the cut-out bins. Being broke and somewhat obsessive, that was me. I know I still have a number of LPs from there, with the standout being a two disc Jan & Dean collection which had all the hits (which were otherwise pretty unavailable at the time) and a number of the tracks cut by Dean after Jan's accident under the names Laughing Gravy (a fun cover of The Beach Boys' "Vegetables") and The Legendary Masked Surfers (the infectious "Sunshine Music"). The liner notes promised that all the tracks were in "quasi-moto monaural" and if you experienced any problems to "take a shower with a friend".
Aside from browsing the record cut-outs (and kitchen gadgets from time to time) my other favorite thing to do in the store was to ride the small capsule-like elevator. This managed to look both futuristic and a bit art-deco at the same time, and allowed you to look out over the whole store as you ascended or fell.
I forget all the details, but at some point in the late 70s or 80s, Belk left the Columbia market for a while. I think it might have been a family inheritance struggle over management of the chain, but it's very fuzzy. At any rate, after the store space closed as a Belks, it reopened as a Dillards.
I can't say very much about Dillards -- it had no music section so I think I only went in there a few times and found nothing that struck my fancy. I'm pretty sure I never purchased an item there. The chain has been hurting in recent years, and though I don't find any news suggesting the chain itself is in danger, they have been closing underperforming stores, one of which was apparently the Columbia Mall store.
I recall a story in The State mentioning the (then) upcoming closing and interviewing the mall owners who allowed that you (approx) "seldom had the opportunity to replace two anchor stores" (Steve & Barry is also leaving). I was reminded of the old Pogo quote:
We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities!
I took these pictures in October. I would have taken more, but one of the floorwalkers politely inquired as to what I was doing, and it always sounds pretty lame when I try to explain it. Jan & Dean in "Submarine Races" mode would have been much more persuasive!
O'Charley's / Sticky Fingers Ribhouse, 7001 Parklane Road (Columbia Mall Outparcel): mid 2000s 11 comments
Sticky Fingers was yet another victim of the declining fortunes of the Dentsville area. I believe that they were the second tenant in this building, which was built for O'Charleys before that operation followed The Olive Garden, Lizard's Thicket, Circuit City, Target, Office Depot, JC Penny and Kroger Sav-On to the new developments further out on Two Notch or at Sandhill. The closing sign says they lasted five years, though I woudn't have guessed that long.
I can't comment on their ribs as I'm not a rib guy. I believe I ate there only twice and had a burger both times. It was fine, though not spectacular. I'm a little curious about what's going on with the building. It appears to have been kept in pretty good shape, and to have not been cleaned out (notice the gum machines still in there). Furthermore, I didn't see a for-sale or for-lease sign anywhere. I wonder if Sticky Fingers is holding on to it for some reason.
UPDATE 16 May 2010 -- It's now a "brazillian-style" restaurant, Caprioska:
Their web site is here
This building, not technically a Columbia Mall outparcel since it is not reachable from the mall perimeter road, has had several tenants. Right now it is a Verizion store, but at some point in the 1990s, it was Coconuts Music.
Coconuts was a fairly generic CD store, and really the only reason to have gone at all was the location, which was fairly close to my parents' house (I was living out of Columbia by then). On the other hand, Sounds Familar on Parklane was not that much farther, and when I was in town, I was just as likely to end up on the Manifest side of town anyway. So, what i'm leading up to saying is that my own personal boycott of Coconuts did not cause me any great hassle or inconvenience.
The way it happened, as I recall now, is that I had heard some great song on the radio by a band I had never heard of. When I got to Coconuts, I found that this band had in fact been around for a while and had five or six albums out. No problem, I thought, I'll just read the track lists and I remember enough of the lyrics to figure it out. So I pulled out one CD and flipped it over. Huh. There was one of those metal spiral anti-theft, ring-the-buzzer, stickers on back. A big one. Right on the track listings. Well, OK, there's three of this CD, try another. Same thing. Try one of the other albums. Same thing. Every darn CD I looked at had a huge sticker all over the track listings.
I brought this to the attention of the manager, and the response was basically That's the way we do things here.
I decided that wasn't the way places I shopped did things, started a boycott, and a few years later they were gone.
Nowdays, of course, I can just google as much of the lyric as I can rember, find the track and artist and have it from Amazon Prime in two days without leaving my house. (Yes, I could just order the MP3 from Amazon and have it immediately, but I still like having the CDs for backup purposes).
Annabelle's was a casual dining restaurant something like a Friday's or Bennigan's which seemed to speciaize in mall locations. I'm not sure if the chain is still around, but the two that were in Columbia are long gone and I'm responsible.
OK, not really, but I did have a one-man boycott going in the mid to late 1980s. I had always enjoyed eating at Annabelle's. I wasn't too interesting when they started a "Chicken Around The World" promotion because I don't eat chicken, but as I was dining there one day, I came across a promotional display on my table. It was a cardboard rectangle with a chicken dish on each of the four sides. As I recall, there was a French dish, and Italian dish, a Mexican dish and a Chinese dish. Each dish was "presented" by a cartoon Chicken designed to represent each country. The French, Italian and Mexican chickens were fine -- they were dressed in costumes meant to invoke each country, but were good looking cartoon chickens. The Chinese chicken had buck teeth and glasses. Perhaps I was over-sensitive since I had just started working in the software field, and a lot of my new friends and co-workers had Asian ancestry, but it seemed to me that the 1980s were way too late for something like that, and that it should be possible to do a Chinese chicken character that was innocuous as the others. I wrote a letter to the company and never heard anything back, and the next time I went in, the table displays were still there, so I took Annabelle's off my list. In retrospect, I'm sure the chain honcos never got my "crank" letter, and that probably the art approval didn't even go up that high in the first place, but there were plenty of other places to eat and I did.
These pictures are of the downstairs of the Columbia Mall location. This location of Annabelle's was interesting in that that it occupied two floors, though only the bottom floor had an entrance. As I recall, there were stairs inside -- I'm unsure if there were an elevator or not. The Dutch Square location was only one floor and was on the main corridor across from the record store coming in from a Dutch Square Boulevard side entrance.
UPDATE 15 August 2009: It is going to read a bit awkwardly, but I am combining the separate post I did (for some reason..) on the Dutch Square Anabelle's by itself with this one. I'll also move those comments here as well. Also, I'm putting the Anabelle's logo as found by commenter Melanie at the top of this post. So here goes:
I've written about Annabelle's before, but I was in Dutch Square recently, and saw the old door, so I decided to give the Dutch Square location its own post. I don't have much to add to what I said initially, but for some reason or other, I think I had more meals with friends at this location than at Columbia Mall. Perhaps it had to do with seeing movies at the original Dutch Square Theater. At any rate, I always thought this copper-sheet doorway was a classy touch!
As far as I know, nothing ever followed Annabelle's into this space.
UPDATE 2 November 2009: Well, the old Annabelle's space at Dutch Square will be getting a new tenant: Burger Time Chargrill & Bar. Good!
UPDATE 18 November 2009: Added two more photos of Burger Time
Jackson Camera, all over Columbia (1326 Main Street, 405 Greenlawn Drive, 625 Harden Street, Richland Mall, Dutch Square, Columbia Mall)q: 1990s 16 comments
When I was growing up, there were two kinds of photo-finishing. You could drop off your film at Campbell's Drugs, the Jackrabbit kiosk in Trenholm Plaza or K-Mart, but if you actually needed to talk to someone who knew something about photography, you went to Jackson Camera. At their height, they had stores all over Columbia. I can recall locations at Richland Mall (on the backside of the open-air corridor), Main Street, Five Points and Dutch Square.
The location I always visited was at Richland Mall. As a kid, I had gotten into developing and printing pictures. I can't remember exactly how, but I had already started fooling around with it when I "inherited" a bunch of (mostly hand-made) equipment from someone moving out of town to a smaller place. Originally I had no enlarger so I favored bigger-frame negatives like (the even-then archaic) 616 and slightly smaller 620 and 127 film sizes which made accptable contact prints. I'm afraid I pretty much ruined the finish on the kitchen counters with sloshing developer, stop-bath and "hypo" all over them -- the stains are there to this day. And really, there was no way to make the kitchen dark enough to be a "real" darkroom during the day (not surprisingly, my mother needed it to cook at night..), so my prints and negatives were always fuzzy, but I never hesitated to try again, and to ask for more advice down at Jackson Camera.
I'm sure the guy who was usually there, would look up, see me coming across the corridor and think Oh Lord, here we go again, but he and all the staff were always very patient and informative despite the fact that I took up way more of their time than my meager purchases of contact paper and chemicals would warrant. By middle school, I had more or less fallen out of the habit (and in high school, the darkroom had its own stock of chemicals and paper), so my visits to Jackson almost ceased.
Even as I moved out of town in 1985 though, the photo market was changing drastically. While the picture drop-off business had always (in my memory) been a chain dominated affair, in the 80s, national chains moved into the camera shop and specialty photo-finishing market. Wolf and Ritz were the big players, and when Ritz bought Wolf, they were the 500 pound gorilla that sleeps where it wants. Jackson kept on for years, but gradually closed more of their stores. The one pictured here is at the corner of Beltline Boulevard and Forest Drive, and is where, I believe, their Richland Mall shop moved when Richland Mall went to Richland "Fashion" Mall, driving out a number of stalwarts like Jackson Camera and The Happy Bookseller. Jackson finally sold out to Ritz a few years ago, and this location operated as a Ritz for a while, but with another Ritz just a few blocks away down Beltline, it didn't really make any sense to keep this one open.
Interestingly, as I went to take this shot, I saw that the follow-on business, some sort of beauty store is also closing up shop.
UPDATE 21 May 2010 -- Here's an ad from The State for 19 Feb 1979:
Also, I've added all the addresses from the ad to the post title.
UPDATE 3 December 2010 -- Here are two great shots of the Harden Street Store by Hunter Desportes on Flickr:
UPDATE 24 February 2013: I have added two pictures to the top of this post, above the one (of the beauty store) that the text of the post talks about. They come from commenter Thomas and were taken of the Main Street location in 1997. I love that huge marquee.. Thanks!
Cucos was a casual Tex-Mex eatery with what I still consider to be unusually good salsa. (It wasn't particullarly hot, but had some unusual ingredients, including carrot chunks to give it a very good flavor). The vegetarian burrito was good as well, and my sister, father & I enjoyed eating there on the weekends when I was back in town.
In the winter of 1995, I made the mistake of answering a technical question on an internal e-mail list just at the time they needed someone else to fill out a work party upgrading computers in Seoul Korea. Having raised my visibility, and being between projects, I was chosen and flew out of Augusta GA to Atlanta, through Portland OR and to Seoul to join the team from the west-coast office.
When I got there, everyone from California was sick and I was fine. Seoul in the winter is the coldest place I have ever been, and I have been in Kansas in Janurary. We were working mainly after hours so as not to disturb the computer users during the day, and I remember one night in particular when we had to leave a warm building (with no key to get back in) and wait 40 minutes in the snow and wind for a cab. Anyway, the point is, as I borded the plane back for the US, everyone else was feeling pretty good and I was starting to feel rocky. The trip from Seoul to Chicago (which was the route back) was the longest trip I can ever recall. When we hit Chicago, I put my watch from Seoul time to Central, meaning that when I got to Atlanta, I was off by an hour and missed my flight back to Augusta. By this point, I was ready to just lay myself down on a bench of Hartsfield seats and expire, but Delta got me on the next flight to Augusta, and somehow I made the drive back to Aiken. I had about enough energy to crawl into bed, and I didn't leave it for two weeks except for the bathroom and forcing down the occasional soda-cracker. I don't know the technical name for what I had, but I called it the Korean Death Flu. After two weeks flat on my back, I was finally able to start making it back into work for partial days, but I was still as weak as a kitten when the annual holiday break rolled around. What does this have to do with anything? Perhaps not much, but I vividly remember that the first day I felt really well again, it was close to Christmas, and I was sitting in Cucos having lunch, just marveling that I had an appitite and didn't ache anywhere. The realization of well-being came over me, and I just sort of sat back and enjoyed it, being in no hurry at all to finish and leave, and as it happened that day, my waitress was a very pretty Southern-Belle of Korean descent.
So what happened to Cucos? As far as I could tell, they did a very good business in that location, but that doesn't matter much if the whole chain gets into trouble. Googling around a bit, I find that in their SEC filing for 1995, Cucos said that casinos in the New Orleans area (their home base) were starting to cut into their earnings (frankly that sounds like a pretty flimsy excuse for doing poorly..) though they were taking measures to counter it. I'm guessing they started to retrench then, and not long after that, the Columbia location closed. Apparently they soldiered on until going into bankruptcy in 2002. I think there are still some Cucos left, but my impression is that they were succesful franchises bought out by the franchisees.
After the local Cucos folded, the corner spot it had occupied became a sports bar which lasted a few years, but is now vacant.
As for myself? -- I make sure to get a flu-shot every year now.