Archive for the ‘Richland Mall’ tag
It's not clear to me how a play area could be "out of order". I suspect its more like the area didn't get enough traffic to make paying to keep it clean worthwhile.
(Hat tip to commenter Matt)
After a bit of a kerfuffle with Richland County, the Palmetto Table Tennis Club ended up opening a ping pong plaza at Richland Mall, just behind the old TGI Friday's and in-between the elevator column and the entrance of the old Blacklion.
It seemed a nice use for an empty space, and there were perhaps half a dozen or more ping pong tables there at one time. When I went through in early December however, the plaza was completely bereft of tables (though all the posters and signage were still there).
UPDATE 19 December 2013: Well, I don't know what was going on, but the tables are back!
Sadie's, in the old S & S slot in Richland Mall is closed again, this time for good (though the sandwich-board sign remains optimistic). They had closed once before a year or so ago for a change of ownership, but apparently that didn't help in the end.
(Hat tip to commenter Matt)
Well, of course I never thought to get a picture of them, but every year since the 1980s, the main elevator court at Richland Mall hosted a full orchestra of animitronic bears playing Christmas music. The signage proudly announced that the conductor bear who stood with his back to the audience benches (which were in front of Barns & Noble facing the elevator) was 'Leonard Bearstein'.
Because, you know: Richland Mall, there was never a crowd for the bears, but generally there would be a couple of kids and parents, perhaps heading to or from Gymboree sitting on (or running around) the benches.
I don't know if there was too much wear-and-tear on the bears, or it's just that nobody cares anymore, or the last guy who knew how to put them together retired, but this year, the bandstand is not in evidence, Leonard Bearstein is not tapping his baton, and the holiday decor is Christmas trees only.
MBenton Personal Training / Ashley's Studio / Michael's Cleaners / Jackie's Uniform Center / Posh Pets, 3300 Forest Drive: 2011 etc 2 comments
Commenter Matt mentions that this building at the corner of Forest & Sunnyside Drives, more or less across the street from Zesto, is being remodeled from multiple suites into a single space, and now we can see that it is going to be a Matress Source.
Putting the address into google turns up a number of former tenants.
Since the web site of MBenton Personal Training still lists this address as their gym (ie: hasn't been updated), I suspect they are no longer around. Michael's Cleaners still has a number of locations in Columbia, but I don't know if one of them moved from here or if they are seperate ownership. Posh Pets had several locations, and seems to have moved this one to 3400 Forest Drive. Jackie's Uniforms has moved to Sunnyside. Ashley's Studio is not listed in the current phonebook.
(Hat tip to commenter Matt)
This State story from 29 January 2012 says that Bath & Body Works
[I]s in the process of closing as its lease expires.
Which makes me fairly comfortable listing the closing date as 31 January 2012.
I've never stepped into a Bath & Body Works, as I don't have a lot of requirements for a bath other than soap, but I always had an impression that it was kind of a scrappy chain since the only two I was aware of were this one in Richland Mall and one in Inlet Square Mall in Murrells Inlet. Neither mall could be called prime real estate, but the stores hung in there for years.
The Richland Mall store was at the edge of the food court (which is down to one restaurant) and just past the old S & S Cafeteria.
Luckily, there are alternatives:
As I've mentioned somewhere or another on this site, the last time I ate in a cafeteria was sometime in the mid 1990s when I found myself at a "Picadilly" at Regency Mall in Augusta -- I was distinctly underwhelmed. Before that, it was probably the S&S on Gervais when my Aunt was visiting town.
Growing up, however we ate fairly frequently at Richland Mall's original cafeteria, The Redwood Cafeteria and sometimes its follow-up Morrison's.
My general opinion of cafeterias was not high. As a kid it seemed to me that they could even mess up rice & gravy -- cafeteria rice was not like "real" rice at all. Instead of sticking together properly, every grain was separate and discrete. (I suppose it was parboiled or "converted" as Uncle Ben called it ["Q: What's white and runs up your legs? A: Uncle Ben's perverted rice!"]). Furthermore, they didn't have hamburgers. My parents insisted that "hamburger steak" was the same thing, but I knew it wasn't. Still going through the line was interesting, and the little butter-pats on paper never failed to fascinate.
Upon hearing that the Richland Mall S&S was to close on Sunday (30 Jan 11), I decided I would eat lunch there one day to check it out and maybe get some pictures. Arriving at my usual lunch time of 3:00, I was a bit confused. The doors were open and people were at the tables (and, yes, they were mostly older folks, just as the stereotype goes -- that's OK, I plan to be one someday, and probably sooner than I expect). The way I expected to get to the serving line however seemed to be blocked. I saw a possible second serving line, but nobody seemed to be tending it.
An enquiry finally established that they had taken down the serving line sometime before I got there, and would not fire it up again until 4:30, and that the second line was for take-out only -- which is a shame because it looked pretty good, with black-eyed peas, and other nice vegetables, rather more Southern than I remember the old cafeterias being.
So anyway, I did not get to eat at S&S before it closed (unless I get there tomorrow or Sunday, which I consider highly unlikely), but I did get some pictures later in the week, and captured several of their billboards (the one across Forest Drive from the mall is already taken by a new advertiser now).
This will be the first time Richland Mall has had no cafeteria in it, and can't bode well for the future of the mall, but then what has lately?
UPDATE 30 Jan 2011: Added the first two pictures, take just after the doors closed.
UPDATE 7 September 2012: Added picture of the Two Notch Road billboard above.
I've been putting off doing a post on Woolworth's because I don't have any pictures of the place, or even any ads. I'm sure I'll find a newspaper ad eventually, but they don't seem to have gone in for Yellow Pages ads at all.
Anyway -- Woolworth's was in the original open-air Richland Mall from the beginning. Woolworth's front entrance was on the Beltline side of the mall, and the back entrance opened into the mall's main traverse corridor. The way I remember it, Woolworth's was approximately in the middle of the mall. I'm definitely a little shakey on the layout of all the old stores, but I can definitely say that if you went out Woolworth's back door, a left turn would point you at White's on the far end of the mall. I believe that as you were walking to White's, you would pass Meri's and, in later years, The Happy Bookseller.
If you came in through the front door, there was more or less a clear corridor to the back door, and there were registers in both the front and back. Still facing the back, the right side of the store was more or less devoted to clothes, and I didn't usually go over there. The left side was much more interesting and had records, pets, various school and office supplies, the lunch counter and the restrooms.
Every year, about this time, we would go to Woolworth's for new school supplies. I liked Blue Horse brand because all the items had coupons you could clip and send in for premiums. The fact that I never got enough to send in and never actually got a single premium didn't deter me. (Somewhere about the house there is probably still a cache of Blue Horse coupons..). For pencils I liked Ticonderoga #3 (and always avoided Empire pencils) and for notebook paper, I liked "college ruled". Aside from the stuff we actually used, there was neat stuff that we never used, though we each had several. This included protractors and drawing compasses (with the deadly points).
The pet department didn't have dogs or cats -- it ran more to hamsters and gerbils as far as mammals went, turtles to represent reptiles, and lots of fish. There were several places in town we would get aquarium fish, but I think we got most of our "neons" from Woolworth's.
Of course Woolworth was famous, or infamous, for its lunch counters, but as this store was built post 1964, I'm prety sure it always served everybody (at least officially). The lunch counter was, as I said, on the left side of the store, and fairly near to the rear. We didn't eat there too often, but as I recall it, there was an actual counter with padded swivel stools arrayed around it, and then some booths away from the counter itself. I'm pretty sure I remember the aqua-enamel covered Hamilton Beach milkshake machines, and that the fries were crinkle cut.
The record section was to the right of the lunch counter (though still left of the central corridor) and almost against the back windows. There were a certain amount of "real" records shelved alphabetically, certainly not a deep selection, but probably a fair number of the days hits. The attraction for me however was the cut-out bins. In these, would be remnants: records that didn't sell for whatever reason (usually because they weren't very good...) with a notch cut out of the covers to indicate their status, and boxed up indiscriminately to be sent to places like Woolworth's at reduced prices. The records were in absolutely no order of any sort, but I was obsessive in those days (and broke, which helped) and I would look through each and every record in every cut-out bin. I know I got a number of records there over the years, but at this point, I can definitely recall two, both by the discount repackager Pickwick Records. Both were cheapo repackaging of Beach Boys material from the Capitol era. One, "Wow, Great Concert!" repackaged the first Beach Boys concert album, leaving off several tracks, and the second was an 8-track tape repackaging album tracks from the first two Beach Boys LP's (Surfin' Safari and Surfin' USA) leaving off the hit singles and adding their own typos to the song titles -- For years, I assumed that "Moog Dog" referred to the synthesizer, when in fact it was simply a typo for "Moon Dog". Actually, come to think of it, I also bought a non-Pickwick repackaging the Beach Boys pre-Capitol tracks at Woolworth's as well. (Always beware if you see an off-brand looking Beach Boys package that boasts "Surfer Girl" & "Surfin' Safari" it probably dates from the Hite Morgan sessions and has much earlier and more primitive performances -- interesting, but not what you heard on the radio).
When I first started going to Woolworth's, the bathroom was unique amongst all the bathrooms (that I was aware of) in Columbia: It was a pay bathroom. The door handle had a protruding mechanism with a coin-slot, and the handle itself was more like the handle on a bubble-gum machine than a usual door handle. I loved that thing, and annoyed my mother to no end by "holding it" while we were in White's (which had nice, free, restrooms) so that I could use the coin bathroom at Woolworth's. In later years, they disabled the coin mechanism and the restroom was free to all, though you could still see that it had once been pay.
If all this weren't enough, possibly the neatest thing about Woolworth's was the arcade game past the front checkout counters, against the front wall. This was the pre-electronic, pre-videogame era when in general, pinball machines were the only option. This particular machine had the general pinball format -- about two feet wide and four feet deep, but it wasn't a pinball machine. I wish I could remember the name of it, but it was some sort of "shoot the aliens" game. You would put in your dime, and your joystick would activate. The joystick would traverse right and left, and had either a trigger, or a firing button on top of it. It was connected to a plastic laser cannon at the front of the console, and moving the joystick would swivel the cannon right and left.
Shortly after the game came to life, a mechanical flying-saucer would pop up at the back of the game and move randomly left and right (and sometimes pop down behind the scenary to move invisibly). You had to point your cannon at where you thought the saucer was going to be by the time your blast got to it -- you had to guess what it was going to do and lead it. Every time you pushed the firing button different segments of lights along the top of the game would light up, indicating the progress of your laser bolt. To some extent you could still change the direction it was progressing in by adjusting your joystick, but the gross direction was fixed at the start of your shot.
If you guessed right and the saucer was in the area where your bolt impacted, it would make a very satisfying sound effect and all the lights would flash to indicate the destruction. You would also get points, but that was pretty secondary to me, since there were no prizes and I generally wasn't playing against anyone. And really, it was almost enough to just watch the machine go through its paces whatever the outcome. It's amazing what they did totally without computers or any electronics -- just mechanical know-how and electricity.
Woolworth's survived the change from the open-air Richland Mall to the ill-fated and enclosed Richland Fashion Mall. As I recall it, the new store was on the second level. If you came into Whites from the Beltline side, it would be out the right mall entrance to Whites. The new store was smaller than the old store, and didn't have pets. By this time, I was in college, and I only went there once or twice. I recall it as a pretty sad looking affair, and in fact the whole chain was in trouble by this time.
Fairly shortly thereafter, Woolworth's rebranded itself as Footlocker and shed its dimestore history. They kept a Footlocker store in Richland Mall (I think it was out the left mall entrance to Whites) but I had no interest whatsoever in that concept, and never went in.
Wonder if I still have that 8-Track?
Bonwit Teller / Dillard's / Blacklion / The Department Store, Richland Mall: 1990 / 2003 / 3 September 2005 etc 36 comments
It is somewhat typical of that snakebit project that all three chains are now gone. Bonwit Teller was a very upscale store, which, according to Wikipedia was founded in the 1880s. When the RFM store opened, the chain was new to South Carolina, so I went there once to check it out. I quickly determined that it was not a "guy place" at all, and I suspect that even for middle class women, there would have been a hint of Are you sure you are Bonwit Teller material? attitude.
At any rate, the whole chain (17 stores strong at the time) went bankrupt in 1989. Apparently since then, two attempts to revive the brand have come to naught.
After Bonwit Teller went under, the space was taken over by an operation called Blacklion, which apparently still exists in some form. They put up a number of billboards around town (I recall one in particular by Za's on Devine) touting a "Revolutionary new concept in shopping!" (that's not an exact quote, but the spirit is the same). Again, I visited the store once, and as far as I could tell, their revolutionary new concept was an upscale flea-market. The place seemed to be a collection of botiquey little indivdually owned kiosks selling upscale crafts. Interestingly as this 2006 press release details, one of them, Mountain Manor Gifts, did in fact move from Blacklion to the Barnyard Flea Market out on US-1. There was also an Italian lunch sandwich operation in Blacklion whose name escapes me right now, but they moved out of Blacklion to a vacant counter-equiped storefront on the second floor on the other side of Belk's and carried on for another couple years.
After Blacklion closed, there was some talk of turning the space into apartments for an urban village like the condo space at Sandhill. You can see in one of these pictures, the treatments at the end of the Blacklion building that were mocked up for that idea, but like many of the plans for Richland Mall nothing came of that either.
UPDATE 23 June 2010: Added Dillard's and The Department Store to the post title based on the comments.