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Archive for September, 2010

Something's Happening Here (Intersection Center)   11 comments

Posted at 11:34 pm in Uncategorized

What it is ain't exactly clear..

I'm kind of bummed over the Chung King remodel. I took lots of pictures of that figurine, and half promised myself I'd pry it off some night.

The whole Intersection Center complex has been for sale for years. I didn't see those signs on 4 Sept 2010 when I took the "new" pictures here, so perhaps it finally did sell. I would have expected in that case however that the new owner would have bulldozed the whole place, not started renovations on 40 year old buildings that were in poor repair to begin with. I wonder what will happen to the stalwarts like Hook 'n Needle that have remained open on Diamond Lane against all odds?

UPDATE 30 Sep 2010 -- Well, they're also (possibly without meaning to) got the Service Merchandise sign turned on for the first time in 8 years!

More changes:





UPDATE 21 Jan 2011: Intersection Center is to be the new campus for Word of God Church Ministries, and the old Sam Solomon/Service Merchandise building will be a 3000 seat Sanctuary. I'm glad to see this place rehabilitated!

UPDATE 28 June 2011: Added complete 4 September 2010 photoset.

UPDATE 22 September 2012: Added pictures above of the conversion of the Service Merchandise store into the chapel, and the two Intersection Center signs being converted into church signs. Added 23 October 2011 photoset.

UPDATE 24 September 2012: Added third picture of (finished) Broad River Road sign. Added 30 August 2008 photoset.

UPDATE 26 September 2012: Added 27 June 2009 photoset.

Photoset 30 August 2008

Photoset 27 June 2009

Photoset 4 September 2010

Photoset 23 October 2011

Basic Advertising   9 comments

Posted at 1:03 am in Uncategorized

Written by ted on September 7th, 2010

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Richland Mall: The Map   79 comments

Posted at 11:55 am in commentary

As promised below, this is commenter Dennis's map of the original Richland Mall. He also sends this note:

Hi ted

Well, finally, here's a first attempt at a Richland Mall layout, circa 1968.
Please feel free to correct!

Obviously it is just a sketch, and proportions etc. are extremely
approximate. Not to scale!

1. J.B. White's

2. a jewelry store -- King's?

3. no idea -- what was in this area?

4. Hickory Farms

5. The Shop for Pappagallo (women's shoes way too expensive for our family)

6. Baubles 'N Things (not sure about this one)

7. Mr. Popper's

8. Meri's Records

9. maybe this was Baubles 'N Things

10. ?

11. Pet-A-Rama

12. Ruff Hardware

13. Berry's on Main (actually at Richland Mall - always thought this was a
dumb name)

14. Winn Dixie

15. Redwood Cafeteria - not sure this was a plain rectangle; it may have
been an L shape. For a while the corner closest to White's had a separate
entrance and a little soda fountain area.

16. Hickory Farms' second location after the moved "across the aisle."

17. Woolworth's

18. Colonial Stores / Big Star

19. Eckerd's

20. What was here? A little travel agency, maybe? Remember travel agencies, before the internet?

21. Gerald's Shoe Repair

22. Merle Norman Cosmetics (or maybe they were 23)

23. Russell Stover (before they put their own building way out in the
parking lot)

24. coin laundromat; owned by the cleaners next door. The manager had a little walk-thru between the two.

25. dry cleaner's -- Ed Robinson's, maybe?

26. automated Post Office, like the one at old Woodhill Mall. An exercise in frustration every time.

27. Russell Stover's own building, far enough from the mall to make sure
they went out of business.

The white boat shapes in the center walkway were fountains when new, then, like every other property owner that gets completely fed up with the trouble and expense of fountains, the owners turned them into planters. Sometimes they covered them with carpeted plywood and used them as stages. I met Jolly Jim and J.P. Sidewinder there one Saturday. Was there a third one down closer to White's?

The white lines between Woolworth's and Colonial show the bike rack, used constantly by me.

The little gray inset into Colonial was their loading dock, which always
stunk. Speaking of stink, there was a really ugly dumpster in the parking
lot right out the back door of Redwood Cafeteria that reeked and bred vermin in ways that defy explanation.

28., 29., 30. The shady backside of the mall had a few offices that held no
interest for me. One was a State Farm agency, I think, and one was the
mall's business office.

Thanks, Dennis!

Have at it folks..

UPDATE 19 Sep 2010 -- Well, I went down to the library today and ended up looking in the old "City Directories". I hadn't really paid a lot of attention to those, since they tend not to have interesting ads like old phonebook yellow pages. HOWEVER what it turns out they *do* have is complete (or at least pretty complete) listings of shopping center tenants. Herewith the Richland Mall listings for 1962 (which I believe was the mall's first year of operation), 1975 and 1985:




UPDATE 21 June 2011: Added [at top] a view of the old Richland Mall including Whites, Russell Stover, Richland Mall Theater, and part of Redwood Cafeteria from an old Chamber of Commerce promotional book.

UPDATE 9 February 2012 -- Well Richland Mall is rezoning:

According to The State:

The new zoning allows the mall owners “all kinds of options,” including space for offices, residences, hotels, restaurants and schools, according to Mark Williams, Forest Acres’ city manager.

UPDATE 21 May 2020 -- Here's a nifty color shot of the old Richland Mall centrial corridor at the Colonial. Unfortunately I can't inline it due to copyright, but it's worth a click.

Written by ted on September 4th, 2010

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Jewelry Mart, 4601 Forest Drive Suite B: 31 Aug 2010   1 comment

Posted at 11:35 pm in closing

This one was a well planned closing. The "for lease" sign, and the "closing sale" signs had been up for a couple of months before this little store, on Forest Drive right next to Bruegger's Bagels, shut down. I'm assuming it closed at the end of August since month-boundries make sense when you have time to plan, though I didn't notice the vacant space until today.

I never went into Jewelry Mart as it didn't seem targetted at my gender or demographic but one of my aunts did stop in once, and mentioned that the staff was very pleasant and she struck up a conversation, actually leaving with the manager's mix-cd of store music after she complimented him on his taste in songs.

I believe that this is the first vacancy for this little strip. It was all built a few years ago, so up until now it has had the original tenants.

UPDATE 2 Feb 2011 -- It's to be Wristwatch Doc watch sales & repair:

UPDATE 14 Feb 2011 -- apparently Artisan Jewelers is the official name (but why not put that on the roadside sign?):

UPDATE 16 November 2017: Adjust address in post title, add tags.

Written by ted on September 3rd, 2010

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Woolworth's, Richland Mall: 1990s   11 comments

Posted at 12:24 am in Uncategorized

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.

Conversely, if you came out the back door and turned right, you would go past Jackson Camera, Eckerd's and head down towards the laundromat and Winn Dixie.

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?

Written by ted on September 3rd, 2010

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Bloomin' Idiots Garden Market and Plant Shoppe, 626 Meeting Street: summer 2009   3 comments

Posted at 12:17 am in Uncategorized

I'm not sure when this plant store on Meeting Street closed -- there was a sign on the door, but none of my pictures of it came out because of glass reflections and light ink. According to their website though, they opened (or planned to open) in the Spring of 2009, so I'm guessing they were there about a year. Again, from their site, the place was to be more than a nursery, with local peaches and other produce as well as plants and trees. It sounds a little like the niche that Grice's was in.

To me it seems like a pretty good location (It's true that there are big-box stores (and Wal Mart) not too far away, but you have to go through the bottleneck of lights in Triangle City and the big merge on Augusta Road to get to them), but apparently in the event, not good enough.

UPDATE 9 Sept 2010: Changed closing date in post title from 2010 to 2009 based on comments.

UPDATE 20 July 2011 -- It's now a drumming studio:

Written by ted on September 2nd, 2010

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Bell's Hamburger Drive-In, 1040 Meeting Street: 1970s   35 comments

Posted at 2:38 am in closing

I don't actually know what this Meeting Street building (now Chiva Auto Sales) was. I do like it though. The look of the roadside sign, the look of the roof overhang, and the way the windows of the main building are laid out (and the way they slant) make me think it was a fast-food drive-in. Does anyone recall this place?

UPDATE 1 Sept 2010: From the comments and the 1970 phonebook, I'm able to verify this as a Bell's, and am changing the post title. Also, it was definitely open as late as 1970, so I'm changing the closing date to "1970s".

UPDATE 3 December 2014 -- I am copying these pictures from the Chiva Auto Sales closing because they actually give a much better view of the old building, and most people will probably come looking for Bell's rather than Chiva:















UPDATE 3 December 2014 -- The building has now been razed:









UPDATE 11 August 2018 -- Commenter Candace Nelms sends in this City of West Columbia Instagram image of the Bell's in operation sometime in the late 1960s:

Written by ted on September 1st, 2010

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