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Archive for the ‘Columbia Mall Boulevard’ tag

C & V's Sports Cafe / Element, 201 Columbia Mall Boulevard Suite 221: 2012   9 comments

Posted at 10:13 pm in Uncategorized

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At one time this corner storefrong in Capitol Centre was one of my favorite restaurants Cucos Mexican Cafe. I believe it's been more since then than the two businesses I currently have on the post title, C & V's Sports Cafe and Elements, but that's all that google is coming up with for me now.

Anyway, I noticed on my last drive through that it is empty again, and is due shortly to become a Bingo hall.

D's Shoe Warehouse, 201 Columbia Mall Boulevard (Capitol Centre): 31 January 2013 (moved)   1 comment

Posted at 12:10 am in Uncategorized

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D's Shoe Warehouse was one of the very few stores left in Capitol Centre, the strip mall behind Columbia Mall which once held Capitol Centre Theatre, MOvies Behind The Mall, Circuit City, Cucos Mexican Cafe, Aliens & Alibis, and Jim's Discount Mall.

As of 31 January 2013, they have moved to Parklane, in the old site of Awesome Mattress.

Written by ted on March 6th, 2013

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Jim's Discount Mall, Capitol Centre: November 2009   4 comments

Posted at 1:37 am in closing

I noticed this indoor flea market back in September, I think. It was in the old Capitol Centre strip behind Columbia Mall. This is an ill starred retail complex which has seen the failure or relocation of Circuit City, Capitol Centre Theater, Movies Behind The Mall, Office Depot, Aliens & Alibis and Cucos Mexican Cafe. It was several hours before the closing hour stated on the doors when I walked in, but most of the vendors had already covered their wares and gone for the day. I believe I was the only customer in the place, which is always uncomfortable for the amount of attention you get then. In particular a guy came up to assure me that it was usually much busier than this and that anyway they were going to do a grand re-launch event in October. I thanked him and wished them well, but was mentally shaking my head as I walked out. Just from the atmospherics I was 90% certain the place was going to be gone before the New Year, which is in fact what happened.

This kind of place can make it, but I think it requres some special circumstances. For instance, there is an indoor flea market on US-17 just south of Myrtle Beach that has been going for ten years or so. *But*, they have high visibility from a busy highway *and* have an operating Food Lion in the plaza which brings in traffic. Unfortunately, Jim's Discount Mall was not visible from any road. Even if you were coming into Columbia Mall (which is not the draw it was once anyway), you cannot see up the hill into Capitol Centre. Further, there is no store still operating in the plaza that pulls in any regular traffic. Without any of that, it would take a lot of advertising to get the word out, and that is a problem for a low margin operation. If I were going to pick a place in Columbia where an indoor flea market would have a chance to work, it would be one of the empty Goody's buildings which still have good visibility and working stores in their plazas (this actually has sort-of happened on a temporary basis) or the old Circuit City area on Two Notch. (There is also distressed space in The Village at Sandhill, but I suspect they are not yet ready to accept lower market clients on a long term basis). Of course all those rents are probably still higher than Capitol Centre.

Written by ted on January 27th, 2010

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Movies Behind The Mall, 201 Columbia Mall Boulevard (Capitol Centre): Summer/Fall 2008 (protracted opening) (UPDATE: closed)   3 comments

Posted at 11:35 pm in closing

I first wrote about this building in a closing for Capitol Centre Theatre. At the time, I was surprised to see a projector sitting in the lobby given that the place had been closed for a number of years. I suspect in retrospect that the projector was going in rather than coming out. There was some speculation in the comments for that post that the place was to become a Spanish language theater, but in the event that seems to have been wrong (or to have changed) so that the building was to become instead a discount $2.00 movie theater called Movies Behind The Mall.

However, somewhere along the line something seems to have run somewhat awry. I don't want to minimize the difficulties involved in starting a business. I've never done it, and probably don't have the patience or energy to ever do it, and I wish everyone trying it well. (And from a selfish point of view, would really like a discount theater in my neck of the woods). That said, the opening of Movies Behind The Mall seems to have hung-fire several times. Notice that the marquee at first promises a 29 August grand opening. Next this is changed to a 5 September grand opening and then to "Opening Soon".

After that information remained for a while, a new poster was put up in the box-office advertising what appears to be a stage play, which I presume is to be performed live at the theater for most of November (the window sign manages to give the wrong web site, but from the price board, it would appear to be http://mbfproductions.net/, a GLBT themed production company). In the meantime, the concession stand has been stocked, arcade games have been rented, and coming attraction posters and floor displays have been brought in. It would appear that the play will take at least the prime 8pm weekend slots, and 2pm matinee so I don't know what that means for actually showing discount movies at the place. We'll see!

UPDATE 21 Nov 08:

They do seem to be open now!

UPDATE 26 Feb 09:

Well, that didn't last long.

I went by The Movies Behind The Mall yesterday to find it closed, and closed long enough that all the video-games and concession stand paraphenalia have already been trucked out. I think the place finally opened in November, and it's gone in February, so that's four months or less.

It's a real shame. I'd certainly like to have a "dollar" cinema closer than Saint Andrews Road, and you would think that the current economic conditions would be favorable for a cheap night out, though perhaps things are so bad they just couldn't compete with Netflix, Itunes and pirated movies over the Internet.

UPDATE 9 March 2009: Interesting note on MBF Production's site:

Stage 5 Theatre is looking for a permanent home for our production company. If you know of a location or, anyone with a location looking for a company that is progressive and even edgy at times, we would appreciate hearing from you or them. Movies behind the Mall, our old location, has gone into foreclosure forcing us out of that space. We were in full rehearsals for both shows, "Same Time Next Year" and "Second Weekend in September", and had to tear down sets and stage and put them into temporary storage while we search for a new performance venue. If you know of any available space we want to hear from you immediately. Your help and support is not only appreciated but needed.

UPDATE 29 September 2017 -- Added the street address to the post title based on an old phonebook listing for Capitol 8 Cinemas

UPDATE 30 January 2019 -- As reported by commenter Ken, this multiplex is open again as Spotlight Cinema Capital 8:

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The Free Times reports that the property which includes the theater is all owned by The Meeting Place Church of Greater Columbia. They don't seem to have put any restrictions on the theater though, and at this time the cinema is playing the "R" rated Serenity.

Cucos Mexican Cafe, Capitol Centre: 1996   4 comments

Posted at 10:48 pm in closing

In the mid-90s, Cucos Mexican Cafe was in the Capitol Centre strip-mall, adjoining Columbia Mall, the same place which was at the time home to Circuit City and Capitol Centre Theaters.

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.

Written by ted on April 16th, 2008

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Capitol 8 Cinemas, 201 Columbia Mall Boulevard (Capitol Centre): Feb 2000   9 comments

Posted at 1:23 pm in closing

Capitol Centre is a hard-luck strip mall directly across from Columbia Mall (it shares access from the loop road around the Columbia Mall parking lot). It has never prospered, and as Columbia Mall has declined, it has done even worse. Most of the places there that have come and gone, I didn't care about at all, but there were a few that caught my notice.

The Capitol Centre Theatres were one such place:

This was a typical multiplex, built before the current fad for stadium seating, not bad not great. I think its main problem was that being only a parking-lot away from the (twice dead and resurrected) Columbia Mall theaters, it was hard to establish a unique identity or to make it the default theater of habbit for locals. Back when Pat Berman was still doing movie reviews in The State, she did an interview with a local theater manager at a time when several local theaters were going under, and asked him if the market were overbuilt. He replied that no, it was "under-fannied" (too few fannies on seats). I think circumstances conspired to make Capitol Place Theater under-fannied.

You would think that working movie projectors would be valuable and salable assets, at least until the digital switchover of the last few years, but apparently not:

Not much of a theater without projectors in the auditoriums, but it wouldn't take much to put the lobby back in service:

This lets us date the closing to no earlier than 28 Jan 2000 when Eye of the Beholder opened:

It also lets us pinpoint the proximate cause of the theater's closure: Robin Williams

UPDATE 29 September 2017 -- Changed the post title to Capitol 8 Cinemas from Capitol Centre Theatre based on an old phonebook. Also added the street address from same.

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