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Archive for the ‘Sparkleberry Crossing’ tag

San Jose Restaurante Mexicano, 801 Sparkleberry Lane: October 2012 (temporary?)   3 comments

Posted at 11:52 pm in restaurants

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I haven't eaten here too often, but it was fine the times I did, and it has certainly managed to outlast most of the other restaurants in the Sparkleberry Crossing development, so I'm a little curious about what's going on at the San Jose on Sparkleberry Lane. I take it that the place will reopen after the facade work currently in progress, but I'm puzzled as to why it's being done in the first place. As I recall it, the building looked nice enough, and rather southwestern, with its stucco exterior. I can't see that adding bricks over that will improve things (though from the work around the side windows, it will still have a bit of southwestern flair), and it certainly can't be cheap.

UPDATE 13 December 2012: Updated the closing date from "December 2012" to "October 2012" based on commenter Sidney's info.

Written by ted on December 10th, 2012

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Nan's Notes, 111 Sparkleberry Crossing Suite 6: June 2012   1 comment

Posted at 12:09 am in stores

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This 2004 story from the Columbia Star is a nice little write-up, and implies that invitation and stationery shop Nan's Notes started in this Sparkleberry Crossing storefront sometime in 2003 (probably late 2003). I noticed a few weeks ago that a closing banner was up, giving them around a nine year run -- not bad at all in this economy.

The article also mentions in passing that they got a good bit of business from people who noticed the shop while at one of the strip mall's restaurants, so I suppose that the demise of Al-Amir, Coldstone Creamery, D's Wings, Let's Dish, Mirage and 7 Grill can't have helped.

Written by ted on June 30th, 2012

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Hot Rock Massages, 120 Sparkleberry Crossing Suites 5 & 6: Early April 2011   1 comment

Posted at 1:15 am in business

This upscale massage chain had several storefronts in Columbia which, as reported by commenter Jimmy, all went belly-up by early April. This one is at the corner of Clemson Road & Sparkleberry lane, on the upper level of the same building which also housed Za's, Cafe Corner Coffee and Vino 100.

I would guess these places are a casualty of the fact that massage (unless for an actual medical condition) is something of a luxury good, and is a hard to justify expense in a down economy. On the other hand, there certainly are local massage studios that still seem to be doing well.

(Hat tip to commenter Jimmy)

UPDATE 23 May 2011 -- Added night picture of lighted sign, which is still (so far) up and working.

Written by ted on May 5th, 2011

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Vino 100, 120 Sparkleberry Crossing: 2010   1 comment

Posted at 12:02 am in stores

"100 great wines for $25 or less" -- it sounds like a reasonable enough idea, but the as Corked found out, the area may not be ready for wine stores. Or possibly they sold their 100th bottle and achieved their mission.

Is there another two story retail gallery in the area? I can't think of one right now.

Written by ted on February 12th, 2011

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Caffee Corner Coffee, 120 Sparkleberry Crossing, Suite 1: 2010   no comments

Posted at 9:00 pm in restaurants

This coffee shop, at the corner of Sparkleberry Lane and Clemson Road, and in the same building as the former Za's pizza was one of those places that seemed to have adopted the business strategy of never being open. You know the kind of place -- you're sure they're not out of business, yet every time you drive by the lights are off. Now maybe my view is skewed by Starbucks and expecting a coffee shop to at least be open while it's still light outside during the summer, but my experience is that every time I found myself driving home from Sandhill via I-20 and really wanted a cup of coffee, they were shut. The one exception was when I was in the area around lunch time and found they did, in fact, make a decent latte.

At any rate, they are now definitely closed 24/7

Written by ted on February 9th, 2011

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Mirage, 111 Sparkleberry Crossing #1: 2010   no comments

Posted at 1:11 am in restaurants

I first wrote about this space at Sparkleberry Crossing in the closing for Al-Amir (which has since returned to the north east with a Sandhill location). I believe Al-Amir was the first tenant in the space, and the interior design somewhat reflected their Mediterranean/Middle Eastern heritage, which you can still see in the shape of the internal windows here. If you look at the Al-Amir link, you'll also see a tile fountain in the center of the foyer. I think that Mirage kept that for at least part of it's tenure, but as you can see here, it is now gone.

Mirage was one of those odd places that never seem to be open when you go by, but never seem to be out of business either. In fact, at least twice I saw the place looking deserted with no cars in its part of the lot and went so far as to park and get out the closing-cam only to walk up to the doors and see that although it was not open, it wasn't out of business either. Maybe it was the name. After all, a "mirage" is something that appears to be there, but is really not..

UPDATE 10 April 2013 -- It's to be Henry's:

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Written by ted on October 26th, 2010

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7 Grill, 111 Sparkleberry Crossing #12: 16 Oct 2010   5 comments

Posted at 11:51 pm in restaurants

Well, this is not a good week for restaurants. This is the third restaurant closing in a row I've done, and all of them very recent instead of 20 years ago...

I first wrote about this building almost exactly two years ago when D's Wings Northeast closed.

7 Grill was the next tenant there, and opened about six months ago. Their web site is still up, and I have to say the menu looks pretty good. Unfortunately I never got there partly because it is a good ways to drive and partly from just forgetting that it was there.

Sparkleberry Crossing seems to be having a bit of trouble really getting established and a number of operations have come and gone there. It's not a bad location -- there's fairly easy access from I-20, the connector with Two Notch isn't bad, and there's driveby traffic heading to Sandhill, but somehow businesses keep going under there.

(Hat tip to commenter O'Reilly)

UPDATE 11 December 2012: Interestingly it appears that the Beltline D's will be moving to this spot.

Written by ted on October 18th, 2010

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Let's Dish, 111 Sparkleberry Crossing Sute 5: 23 April 2010   4 comments

Posted at 3:10 am in restaurants,stores

Let's Dish was a take & bake operation in Sparklebery Crossing at the intersection of Sparkleberry and Clemson Roads. It's a regional chain, but I believe this was the last location in South Carolina. Personally I don't really understand the appeal of the concept. I can certainly understand not wanting to actually cook at home, especially involved dishes, but it seems to me that take & bake still leaves you with dishes and silverware to clean up, plus you don't get out of the house. Of course I realize not everyone actively dislikes eating at home as I do, but it still seems a minimal benefit. Steak Out seems to have failed with a similar concept, but as far as I know, Piggly Wiggly's "Dream Dinners" take & bake is still going.

I think Sparklebery Crossing seems to have dodged the bullet of perceived failure -- so far. They have had Coldstone Creamery, D's Wings, Al Amir, and Za's Pizza all go under, which is a lot for such a new development, but to date they have managed to get reasonably top-tier replacements (though D's was vacant for quite a wihle).

(Hat tip to commenter Jason)

Written by ted on April 28th, 2010

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Putt-Putt Fun Center, 105 Sparkleberry Lane (near Clemson Road): 2007   23 comments

Posted at 5:02 pm in attraction,historic

Well it seems I always get around to taking pictures of Putt-Putt locations too late. This location on Clemson Road only lasted a few years, and was completely torn up before I got around to going out there.

If I recall correctly, they had a go-kart track which was out in the area with the fire-extinguishers on the light poles. I'm not entirely sure, but I believe the actual "building" part of the "fun center" might still be standing. There is a building in the back of the area which now seems to be a welding school, but the shape of the back of it makes me think it might have been designed for a lot of in-and-out traffic to the golf course and race track.

It looks like we are to get another Interstate hotel here, which is kind of a shame, as Columbia has lots of hotels, but at this point, no minature golf courses. Or am I wrong about that? Come to think about it, the only actual working "Putt Putt" brand course I can think of is this one at the base of Atlantic Avenue in Fernandina Beach:

UPDATE 25 June 2010: Added full street address to post title. The place was actualy officially on Sparkleberry Lane, not Clemson Road as I had thought.

UPDATE 19 March 2013: Well, for whatever reason, the Wingate Inn never happened, and now, 5 years later, the parcel is still for sale:

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Written by ted on July 10th, 2008

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Coldstone Creamery, 101 Sparkleberry Crossing Suite 5 (Clemson Road at Sparkleberry Lane): 2007(?)   12 comments

Posted at 4:32 pm in historic,restaurants

I believe I stopped at this Coldstone twice, having ice cream once, and a milkshake once. Both times, it seemed to me that they were doing a good business. I noticed the other day, however, when I was taking pictures of the nearby former Za's location that they are now closed. I've put down 2007 for the closing date since they aren't listed in the 2008 Bellsouth phonebook, but it could have been 2006 I suppose.

When both Bruster's and Coldstone closed in Forest Acres, my thinking was that Bruster's had a bad location and business model, but I was puzzled by Coldstone, which seemingly had a good spot by Starbucks in a high foot-traffic area of Trenholm Plaza. Seeing the Clemson Road Coldstone closed got me thinking there might be something up with the chain itself, and lo-and-behold, I ran across an interesting Wall Street Journal article to exactly that effect last night. It seems that Coldstone franchisees must pay back to corporate on gross sales, and that they have to use suppliers with very high markups:

Even as they rave about the quality of the ice cream, numerous franchisees say the numbers in Cold Stone's business model didn't add up. The cost of running one of the shops was so steep that making a profit was daunting, especially in an economy where a $4 scoop was a pricey indulgence, they argue. They also contend the company cut their margins even further by offering two-for-one coupons and making them buy costly ingredients from a single supplier. Some argue that the company's rapid expansion crowded stores too close together -- and brought in too many inexperienced franchisees.

To quote from an even more interesting followup comment by a disgruntled Coldstone franchisee:

Another issue is Cold Stone’s agreements to receive kickbacks from the companies that it requires franchisees to use. This is over and above the 9% that they charge franchisees based on gross sales. These agreements drive up food costs for franchisees and forces them out of business. As an example, I recently purchased 24-24oz. Pepsi bottles from Sam’s Club for $14.21. Yet as a franchisee, I was required to buy 20oz. bottles directly from the distributor. I believe I was paying $21.65 for 20-20oz bottles of the very same product. Therefore I was paying more than $7 more for product from the distributor and receiving 96 less ounces. Shouldn’t a franchisor negotiating on behalf of nearly 1,400 franchisees be able to negotiate a better price than I can get walking into my local wholesaler?

There are some very sad stories at the second link. I do get snarky on this blog, but every failed store was someone's dream.

UPDATE 21 April 2010: Added full street address to post title.

UPDATE 28 April 2010 -- It's now a Subway:

Written by ted on June 19th, 2008

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