Archive for the ‘Trenholm Plaza’ tag
I was never entirely sure whether this store in a corner of Trenholm Plaza next to the old Radio Shack location was LA Bag Lady as in Los Angeles or La Bag Lady as in kind of French. Their site uses the "La" capitalization, but goes on to namecheck L.A., so I'm still not entirely sure. At any rate, it was never a matter of prime importance to me as handbags are way down on the list of things I pay attention to.
Interestingly, all the phonebooks I have access to at home list only the Sandhill location for the shop, but this one definitely existed until very recently, as you can see in the picture at the top of Eden's Trenholm Plaza site page.
(Hat tip to commenter mamarose)
UPDATE 9 May 2012 -- Here are some pictures I dug up from Trenholm Plaza's redevelopment back in 2008. They are from 2 July and 5 September of that year:
The Kitty's Hallmark location at Trenholm Plaza was in exactly the opposite situation of that of their Dutch Square location. In the Dutch Square case, the mall would have been glad for them to stay on, but given the current state of the mall, it didn't make business sense for Kitty's. In the case of the Trenholm Plaza store, Kitty's would have gladly stayed, but according to The State the mall owners think they can lease the slot out at a higher rate. That remains to be seen as I believe there is already a vacancy on that side, but in general they have been successful in "upscaling" Trenholm Plaza over the last several years. It's also an interesting issue with the plaza that it had two Hallmark franchaise stores almost next to each other as Books-A-Million also sells Hallmark items. Of course they have two grocery stores, two shipping operations, three banks and numerous restaurants, so duplication is not a *big* issue..
Anyway, this Kitty's was one of my go-to locations for birthday and christmas cards. While my all-time favorite line was the long discontinued Hallmark Lite brand ("One third less serious than regular greeting cards"), the Hallmark Shoebox line is almost as good, and I've certainly picked up a number there over the years. In the meantime, Kitty's maintains a number of other locations in the Midlands.
(Hat tip to commenter Andrew)
For most of my life, this building was a Gulf Station and was our default family choice for gas and light service.
After the place closed as a Gulf, it seemed to go through several phases that I am now hazy on. In particular, I think there was a period after it was a full service station and before Circle K when it was still a gas-only station, but without service. During this period, the service bays were closed, but the car-wash bay was still in operation, and you could get a code to with each fill-up to go through the wash.
Circle K took over the place in sort of a half-hearted way. They never really committed to making the place a "modern" convenience store, and the service and wash bays remained walled off, but unconverted, forcing the convenience operation into a really small cramped space. In particular, they never put in interior bathrooms as all stores now do, and the old Gulf restrooms on the Trenholm Road side of the station remained the only ones (though they were never ADA-ed).
Though the place remained my default gas station, there were some inconvenient touches to that aspect as well. First they gradually closed off the Trenholm Road door. At first sometimes you would go and it would be open and sometimes it would be locked, then finally it was always locked. Second, they took the pump locks off the pump handles. That meant you had to hold the pump handle throughout the whole fueling operation. I think some places feel this is a safety issue, but I say that's bunk. Thirdly, from time to time, they seemed to have the slowest pumps in SC. On those days, I think if I had not pre-paid, I would have just driven off rather than wait for the gentle trickle to creep up to $20. (Of course nothing *creeps* to $20 nowdays..)
Initially when the place was a Union 76, even though the store itself was technically a Circle K, they signage played up the 76 affiliation, and the Circle K branding was almost invisible. Sometime last fall, they completely, and messily, disaffiliated from Union 76, knocking out the logo panel on their street sign, and pasting Circle K branding on the pumps (take off the pumps now that the CK is closed).
(Hat tip to commenter Matt)
UPDATE 23 May 2011 -- various pictures as below:
On 17 May, it appeared that the underground tanks were being pumped dry:
On 18 May, they started digging up the underground tanks. Hopefully all those holes in the tanks were made during the excavation:
By 21 May, the tanks had been carted off:
By 22 May, the hole has been partly filled in, the pumps are off in the corner, and the next step is unclear. Knock the building down? Start an interior refit?
UPDATE 16 June 2011 -- Hmm. New sign, and it appears that the building is slated to be torn down. A ground lease is a type of lease where the tennant gets to build on the land during the lease period, and of course build-to-suit means a new building as well. Looking at the supports for the canopy on the Trenholm Road side, it appears that they have already decided that backing into things doesn't matter anymore..
UPDATE 18 July 2011 -- Well, demolition has started. Already the canopies have been knocked down. They haven't torn into the building itself as far as the walls go, but it sure doesn't look like it's long for the world:
UPDATE 19 July 2011 -- Well the end has come! Interestingly, the bathrooms were the last piece left standing. I shot some video of them knocking down part of the bathroom wall, but it didn't come out:
UPDATE 19 July 2011: The whole building is down now. Also added first pic of Circle K logo at top:
UPDATE 20 July 2011: Add 18 July 2011 photoset below.
UPDATE 21 July 2011: Today they knocked down the street sign and the trailer is gone. (No pix yet). Also I added the 19 July photoset below.
UPDATE 23 September 2011 -- Well, the place is apparently to be a Circle K again according to the new sign in the lot. And in the meantime, the old chargecard sign hangs on..
UPDATE 5 May 2012 -- It appears that new construction has finally started, or at least excavation:
UPDATE 21 May 2012 -- Landscaping and excavation continue and now they have boarded out the foundations for part of the new construction. Apparently they will be building in what was green space in the former Bell's Drive-In as well as the old Gulf/Circle K lot. At least my memory is that Gulf & Bell's sort of shared a parking lot, but that Bell's itself sat in this little strip between the gas station and the drugstore which never had a building after Bell's was torn down:
UPDATE 2 June 2012 -- The new underground tanks are going in:
UPDATE 6 June 2012 -- Looks like it's going to be a fairly small building:
UPDATE 17 August 2012 -- The new building is almost ready to open. In fact, I saw a car pull up to the "Redbox" and apparently rent a movie:
UPDATE 12 September 2012 -- The construction is finished, and the new store is open. I was conflicted as to whether I should mark the post as "open again" given that it is a completely new building, but in the end I did. If it ever closes again though, it will get a separate closing..
This corner space at Trenholm Plaza was most recently occupied by The UPS Store, but when I was growing up, it was Ed Robinson's, though I probably never knew it by name.
My mother did not believe in clothes dryers, opting for a clothes-line in the back yard. This was fine most of the time, but since rain is not unknown in the Columbia area, every now and then we would be faced with a need for clothes that were not yet dry. In addition to that, in the 1960s I had the impression that our washer was something of a lemon. There were fairly frequent calls to the service man, and more than once I recall the floor covered in sudsy water.
When we needed clothes washed or dryed, there were two choices: either the laundomat by what is now city hall on Trenholm Road, or the one in Trenholm Plaza. I think that when my mother had to deal with us children, we tended to end up at Ed Robinson since she could let us "free-range" around the plaza while the clothes were cycling.
As I recall, the staffed laundry was in the east end of the building with the laundromat area being in the west end. The laundromat area was filled with tables and wheeled hampers, and smelled of soap and hot lint. As I recall, the tables were some sort of plastic, or covered with plastic and hued aqua-marine. I would sit on them, and swing my legs back and forth (this must have been before I could read, or I would have had a book). As a boy I was fascinated by mechanical devices of all sorts, and I was particularly fixated on the gas dryers which lined the west wall. Not only did they have sort of retro-spaceship-control sliders for varying the temp from "warm" to "way too hot", but they were large enough (floor to ceiling) that I could imagine actually riding in one (this was during Gemini & Apollo) with more room to spare than the astronauts had. The start (or "blast off") process was particularly satisfying as you put your quarter in a slot way at the top of the machine (I had to use a chair), turned a knob which had a very satisfying action, heard your coin drop with a cheery plink, and then got to push the starter button which wound the whole thing up.
The washers were not quite as interesting, but did have a variety of little plastic tops you could put on the agitator for reasons which escape me now, and of course you could always play "open the lid -- washer stops" / "close the lid -- washer starts" until my mother would make me stop so she would get a full wash from her quarter.
I'm not sure when the cleaner closed. I know it was still there in 1970, but think it was gone by the time I left town in 1985. As for myself, while I agree with my mother that line dried clothes are nicer than tumble-dried ones, I don't have her patience. The line is still in the back yard, but the clothes go in the Kenmore. (And for all that I tend to be a "they don't make them like that anymore" guy, I don't think I've ever had to call service on a modern washer or drier..)
The original plan for Trenholm Plaza was to tear down the whole wing, and The UPS Store moved across the way in anticipation of that, but in the event the economy collapsed and management scaled their plans back to doing a remodel instead. Most of the spaces have been re-filled, but the old Ed Robinson space is currently still empty.
UPDATE 29 November 2011 -- It's to be a Cafe Caturra:
UPDATE 7 February 2012 -- The Cafe Caturra looks about ready to open:
As usual, I got to the library about 5 minutes before closing time, and was trying to look up several things. One of them was old City Directory listings for Trenholm Plaza. In the event, I got two, one for 1964, when I would have been three years old, and perhaps dimly conscious that we were going to the same places a lot, and one from 1970 when I would have been nine years old, and looking forward to Western Auto visits to window shop at all the "hobby batteries" and bicycles.
I'm pretty sure Trenholm Plaza was a golf course not too many years before 1964, so that wave of stores is probably pretty close to the original list:
While many of those stores lasted for years, the USPO is the only original tenant left.
There are a lot of hold-overs in 1970, but a good bit of turnover as well:
Interestingly (to me), I can't for the life of me recall a Gene's Pig 'n Chick in Trenholm Plaza at all, and I would have thought it would have stuck in my mind. I don't recall those dentists either, and in fact am a little surprised by seeing non-retail there.
Of these TP stores, I've done closings for:
UPDATE 11 October 2013: Look at this great 1979 picture of Trenholm Plaza. Be sure to zoom all the way in, and pan around. Thanks to commenter Dennis for finding this!
I see from the sign on the door that Rogers Brothers has another store in Florence, which I did not know. It seems this section of Devine Street has been volatile over the last few years, with Al Amir and Saffron closing next door and Birds On A Wire, Ben & Jerry's and Tiffany's closing across the street.
(Hat tip to commenter Matt.)
OK, you knew you were going to be seeing these pictures again, right?
Frankly, until I saw the old pictures, I had completely forgotten there was ever a store called The Banker's Note in Trenholm Plaza, and even after seeing them, I had no idea what it was, or what it sold.
As you can see, the store was east of the A&P and more or less where the current Books-A-Million is. From this shot, it's unclear to me if it included the corner location where the plaza dips north.
Doing a bit of googling turns up this information:
by 1997 the firm had renamed itself to VSI Holdings, Inc.. I'm a bit unclear as to whether a change of ownership happened then, but I don't think so, as the HQ was still in Smyrna.
Ten years ago last month Suchik opened the first Banker's Note store in Roswell, Ga., outside Atlanta. In 1981 he took the four-unit operation public to repay his manufacturer-partner, with profits. Two years ago there were 32 of the units averaging 4,000 sq. ft. One year ago there were 42 Banker's Note stores. At this writing, there are 72 units with 18 more planned by the end of the current fiscal year.
The five year plan, Suchik said, calls for year plan, Suchik said, in sales by the fiscal year ending Feb. 1, 1991. For the year ended Feb 1, 1987, sales hit $34.8 million. Wall Street sees the chain pulling in a volume of $47 to $53 million for the current fiscal year.
In the next five years, store expansion will be concentrated in the nine southeastern states The Banker's Note already operates in from North Carolina down to Florida and Westward to Tennessee and Texas. The chain possibly will invade adjacent markets in Oklahoma and perhaps Arkansas, Suchik added.
Its ambitious expansion plans, the proliferation of off-pricing and discounting by traditional stores continue to force constant adjustments. "In this business no one can afford to rest on his laurels,' said Suchik.
It appears that VSI had wider ambitions than just clothing, and that in 1999 they made a move into the software business. Maybe that didn't go so well, because by 2001 the owners were shopping the company around, looking for a buyer. It looked as if SPX would do the deal, but the deal unexpectedly fell-through later that year. Apparently after that, the company tried to wind down in an orderly fashion, but in late 2002 a lawsuit by "recalcitrant creditors" forced them into an unplanned Chapter 11.
One thing I don't see anywhere is any mention of why they ever called themselves The Banker's Note. It's certainly not a name that suggests apparel. I'm not sure when this store closed, but it was definitely gone by 1998.