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Archive for the ‘North Main Street’ tag

Burger King, 3403 North Main Street: January 2012 (open again)   6 comments

Posted at 1:43 am in Uncategorized

Here at the corner of North Main & Sunset Drive is another Columbia area Burger King not serving hamburgers.

However in this case, unlike many cases where a "remodeling" sign is more a fond wish than a hard fact, I think we can expect this store to be back in business before too long as there is actual work underway inside and out.

Heck, even the french fries are being remodeled!

(Hat tip to commenter Andrew)

UPDATE 8 March 2012 -- Repainting has started:

UPDATE 24 October 2012: I've got some pix somewhere, but I shouldn't wait to find them to say that this Burger King is done remodeling and is open again.

Written by ted on February 14th, 2012

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McDonald's Hamburgers / King's Chef Chinese Restaurant, 1217 Sunset Drive: January 2012 (open again)   11 comments

Posted at 12:44 am in Uncategorized

Driving down Sunset to North Main the other day, I noticed that King's Chef Chinese Restaurant is closed -- closed and fenced off, to be exact. I'm not entirely sure when this happened, but I drove by a number of times in December and didn't notice anything wrong, so I'm guessing January.

Just from looking at the building, it was evident that it had been a chain fast-food place of some sort before King's Chef moved in, and a glance at my 1997 phonebook confirms that the original tenant was McDonald's. I don't recall when that closed (and don't have the directories at home to research it), but I think King's Chef has been there a good while, so I would guess early 2000s.

King's Chef is not the only re-purposed fast food in the area. Almost directly across the street is a Long John Silver's which has been turned into a TitleMax. (And of course, the Family Dollar next to King's Chef is a re-purposed Eckerd Drugs.)

UPDATE 6 February 2012: Commenter Thomas notes that there was a fire here and that they are rehabilitating the building, so I have appended "temporary" to the post title.

UPDATE 18 September 2012 -- It's open again (and has been for a while):


Written by ted on February 6th, 2012

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Cici's Pizza, 3730 North Main Street: 17 August 2011   15 comments

Posted at 9:58 pm in Uncategorized

If You Build It, They Will Come

But will they stay?

Apparently the city has poured two million dollars into this small shopping plaza on North Main, with very little to show for it.

Last year they lured Cici's Pizza away from its longtime location on Decker Boulevard and things were looking up. This year not so much. Recent years saw the closing of another nearby city sponsored restaurant, The North Main Deli, but just across the street Zesto's still seems to be going strong. Perhaps there's a message there.

(Hat tip to commenter MB)

Written by ted on August 23rd, 2011

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Trojan Labor Service / Workforce USA / 10,000 National Leaders / LJ, Inc / North Main Street Construction Office, 2321 Main Street: 2000s   1 comment

Posted at 12:12 am in Uncategorized

I found a number of different names for this building at the corner of North Main and Belleview Circle. As they all seem to relate to jobs or contracting, I have to wonder if at one time or another it was operating under several monikers simultaneously.

The street sign, which I would assume represents the most recent operation reads

North Main Street Construction Office
(LJ, Inc. General Contractors) (City of Columbia SC)

This sounds like the City hired LJ on an official basis, especially since the city seal is present. Perhaps it had something to do with the North Main Street roadwork of the past few years.

Written by ted on June 28th, 2011

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If It's Paper, 2429 Main Street: Late December 2010 (open again)   7 comments

Posted at 1:55 am in Uncategorized

When I started Computer Science at USC, we submitted "jobs" to the central campus computer on punched cards. These cards had 80 colums and were created on a "keypunch" machine, which was a typewriter-like keyboard affixed to a rather imposing and noisy machine about the size of a large gas grill. The punch would print what you had typed across the top of the card, and punch out chads underneath each letter or number to create a digital representation of the symbol. This was a very mechanical process and with lots of paper chips flying around, the machines tended to jam with some regularity -- so much so that the computer lab operators kept special tools (hacksaw blades carved into curved hooks) to unjam them. Obviously, since you were actually punching holes in the card, there was no way to "undo" a mistaken keypress. Once you got your cards punched correctly (or what you thought was correctly) you took them to a "card reader" which was sort of a cross between a vacuum cleaner and a las-vegas card shuffling machine, and assuming it didn't jam as well, it sent them down a leased line to the Amdahl at CSD (it had been an IBM-370, but the rumor we heard was that the guy who authorized buying it got sent on an all expense paid vacation by IBM and so the State required it to be re-bid).

I am going somewhere with this, and I'm starting to get there now: When your "job" was processed, the output was printed at the computer lab on a band printer with green fanfold paper, and it was printed entirely in upper case (and usually with a fading ribbon). So here's what I'm driving at: The whole process was more difficult than using a typewriter and the output looked worse. The idea that using a computer would make writing easier or look better would have sounded pretty stupid to me in 1980.

That's why it was a real revelation to me when I got access to the PDP-11 minicomputer at the CSCI department and discovered a non-IBM environment called Unix (the spirtual ancestor of Linux). Apart from its many advantages as a platform for programming, the first commercial sales of the system (which had been developed for internal use by then monopoly AT&T) had been driven by its documentation tools, including the text processor troff. Not only did the system have tools that made formatting documents much easier than typing -- the department actually had a printer which would print both upper and lower case!

I was hooked, and even though troff is now considered obsolete, I use it to this day for any significant document I have to do unless I'm specifically told I must use Word. (Or as I put it: If troff won't do what I want -- I change what I want). Thus, when it came time to do my thesis, I knew I wasn't going to type it on a typewriter. By that time, I had a daisy-wheel printer (remember those?) at home and a stripped down PC version of troff that would do for proofing when I couldn't access the department mini. The only fly in the ointment (aside from actually writing the darn thing) was the fact that the University required that all theses be submitted on 50% rag paper.

First of all, I didn't even know what that meant. It certainly sounded weird. How would I even know such paper? As it turned out paper with a high rag (cotton) content lasts longer, or as Wikipedia puts it (not that I could look it up there then!):

Certain cotton fiber paper is known to last hundreds of years without appreciable fading, discoloration, or deterioration;[1] so it is often used for important documents such as the archival copies of dissertations or theses. As a rule of thumb, for each percentage point of cotton fiber, a user may expect one year of resisting deterioration by use (the handling to which paper may be subjected).[2] Legal document paper typically contains 25% cotton. Cotton paper will produce a better printout than copy paper because it is able to absorb ink better.

OK, that sounded good, except for the part where I wanted to feed my thesis through a daisy-wheel printer in fanfolded, sprocket-driven form. Was my box of fanfold paper 50% rag? It was not. Was any box of fanfold paper at Softek 50% rag? Nope. Was any box of fanfold paper at any office supply store in Columbia 50% rag? Apparently not.

Enter If It's Paper. What I was looking for certainly was paper, and the implication of their name was If it's paper, then we have it. So, to bring this in for a landing -- the one time I walked into If It's Paper, looking for something I had never heard of until a few days previously, and which apparently not only did not exist anywhere in Columbia, but did not even have anyone who understood what I was asking for anywhere in Columbia, they knew exactly what I wanted and had a shelf full of it. Mission accomplished.

Of course, now I would google it and probably find someplace online within a few seconds -- I don't know if that was a factor in closing the store, but I do know I was glad to have it then.

(Hat tip to commenter BethB)

UPDATE 10 March 2011 -- Open again!

UPDATE 28 June 2011: I've been meaning to get some better pix of the store now that it's open again. The State also ran a nice story about the place. In essence, International Paper decided it didn't really want to be in the retail business despite the store making money and closed it. A local investor and the store manager got together to buy the name from International and re-opened as an independant business.

Written by ted on January 19th, 2011

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Pizza Hut, 101 Plumbers Road: late 2000s   no comments

Posted at 2:59 am in Uncategorized

The point when North Main Street turns into Wilson Boulevard and crosses over I-20 never seems to prosper for some reason. Or at least so it seems with it having lost Denny's, Gaz-Bah and Pizza Hut.

I suspect the Pizza Hut was one of those brand-destroying kiosk type locations and probably no big loss, but I used to notice the sign when I lived in Aiken, and would travel I-20 west many weekends. I thought I was familar with most Columbia Pizza Huts and could never quite place where it was, as I was expecting a freestanding building.

I have to say that the enclosing "Travel Plaza" has seen better days and is confusing to get in and out of to boot. I had no idea until I took these pictures that the little I-20 industrial frontage strip is called "Plumbers Road". I wonder if it had a plumbing dispatch office on it and got named that during the great 9-1-1 sevice street naming binge of a few years back or it has always been that. There is also a Day's Inn a bit further down the street, and I expect they must work really hard to find "reasons to pick our location" on their marketing...

Written by ted on November 30th, 2010

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Gaz-Bah Mini Shop, 7426 Wilson Boulevard: Fall 2010   2 comments

Posted at 11:57 pm in Uncategorized

Gaz-Bah was on Wilson Boulevard (what North Main becomes as it gets near to I-20 and heads to Blythewood) right next to the long defunct Denny's restaurant, and was open until fairly recently. I'm not sure when it closed, but the branding is still up, and the gas pumps have yet to be taken out. I find it a little odd that they felt it necessary to board the store completely up, given that the aforementioned Denny's has survived in good shape for years with no apparent vandalism.

As I was taking these pictures, one of those erratic Fall flocks of birds was in the area, moving from the high, I-20 visible sign to the roof of the store to the roof of the pump carport and back again. You never realize how many there are until they all take wing at the same time in Hitchcockian fashion.

I'm not sure why an exit gas station off a high traffic Interstate would go under, but I will note that the exit from I-20 to Wilson is a bit odd in that you come out on the other side of the street than you expect, and would then have to make a left to get to Gaz-Bah, while there is a travel plaza directly in front of you that requires no turn.

Written by ted on October 20th, 2010

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Long John Silver's, 3320 North Main Street: 2000s   6 comments

Posted at 11:44 pm in Uncategorized

This building, on North Main at the intersection with Sunset Drive, was obviously a fast-food joint of some kind, but I'm not sure which one. I believe at one time or another, a commenter said it was a Church's Chicken, but the street numbers don't match for that. If anyone can identify it, I will change the post title to reflect that.

Currently, it's a TitleMax/CheckMax which seems to be one of those chains favoring old fast-food locations. Interestingly, directly across the street is another "hermit crab" operation, a Family Dollar which moved into the old Eckerd's.

UPDATE 15 July 2010: OK, based on the comments (and confirmed by the 1998 phonebook), this place is identified as a Long John Silver's and I'm changing the post title accordingly.

Written by ted on July 14th, 2010

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North Main Deli, 3800 Main Street #A: 12 May 2010   13 comments

Posted at 10:31 pm in Uncategorized

Well, it appears the North Main Deli is no more. I never stopped there, and don't know a lot about the place, but from the sign on their door, it appears to be another casualty of the times. I believe the former Cici's Pizza from Decker is moving in next door, so I guess it's lose one, win one for this block of Main.

As a total aside, does anyone know if "North Main" is an official name? If you live on this section of Main Street, do you get your mail as "XXXX North Main Street", or just "XXXX Main Street"? I've seen it both ways, and I never know how to list the correct addresses in post titles and the alphabetical list.

(Hat tip to commenter Marsha.)

Written by ted on July 7th, 2010

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KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), 3507 Main Street: late 2000s   7 comments

Posted at 1:02 am in closing

I'm not really sure when this KFC closed, but the property looks so distressed that I'm putting it in the early 2000s rather than the last couple of years. I've never been a fan of chicken (or any other bird, come to that), so I have no standing to criticize the chain, but I always felt it was rather pusillanimous to change the official name from Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC: You sell fried chicken! Stand up for it! (I also didn't like the commercials with the animated Colonel -- I remember the real Colonel in commercials, and it seems disrespectful of your founder to make a cartoon out of him now that he's gone..).

The only other thing I have to say about KFC in general is that every time I see the "Livers & Gizzards" signage up, I think 'Lewis Grizzard'.

It seems a bit odd that there seems to be no attempt to sell the property, or at least I saw no "For Sale" signs in evidence.

UPDATE 7 Jan 2010: Comments say I was wrong about the closing period, so I have changed the post title date from 'early 2000s' to 'late 2000s'.

UPDATE 30 January 2016 -- It's now China Wing Basket:



Written by ted on January 7th, 2010

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