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Liggett Rexall in Trenholm Plaza: 1970s   2 comments

Posted at 2:13 pm in Uncategorized


"Liggett's", as we called it, was in Trenholm Plaza more or less where The Fresh Market now is.

Liggett's was a Rexall drugstore, and like most drugstores, carried a good bit of general merchandise. Unlike most drugstores today, it also had a lunch counter, which, unlike Campbell's Drugstore across Forest Drive, boasted booths as well a counter seating. Before the invasion of Columbia by burger chains, Liggett's was one of the most convienient places in Forest Acres to have lunch. We didn't do it that often. I now eat out every day, but growing up, it was more like once or twice a week (almost always for Sunday lunch). I suspect we went to Liggett's when my mother was carting both of us kids around shopping. My clearest memory of eating there is the day my mother made me try ketchup, something she probably came to rue, since after that, I wanted it on everything!

Liggett's also had a now forgotten piece of equipment called a tube-tester. This was a complicated science-fiction looking console studded with tube sockets with a flip chart up above. You would look up your tube on the flip chart, put it in the correct socket, flip the indicated switches to the correct presets, let the tube "warm up" and then hit the test button. If the tube were good, a needle on the test meter would rise into the green zone. If it were bad, the needle would stay in red or amber. I was always pulling discarded radios and TVs from people's curbside trash on the assumption that I could fix them if I replaced the right tubes. There was actually something to this, but since we had several perfectly good radios and a working TV, my parents were generally not inclined to spring for buying new tubes when I found a bad one, and since my weekly allowance was $0.50, I wasn't often in a position to buy one. It was still fun testing though.

I'm a little hazy on exactly what happened to Liggett's. I have some idea that it might have been totally bought by Rexall, dropping the "Liggett's" name and then may have been bought out by Eckards, which definitely did eventually have a store in that general part of Trenholm Plaza. I think Campbell's outlasted it, and there was some sort of drugstore with a lunch counter that lasted at least into the late 80s (on Garner's Ferry), but I think all of the drugstores with lunch counters are gone from Columbia now. Am I wrong?

UPDATE 17 Nov 08: Thanks to commenter Dennis for the graphic of a tube tester. Try doing that with your Ipod!

UPDATE 14 March 2009: Added 1963 Yellow Pages ad.

UPDATE 30 April 2013: Added picture of the Rexall logo from an old sign displayed at the Antique Mall on Broad River Road.

UPDATE 11 October 2013: Here is an amazing picture of the old Trenholm Plaza, with Liggett's. Thanks to commenter Dennis for digging this up!

Written by ted on January 7th, 2008

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2 Responses to 'Liggett Rexall in Trenholm Plaza: 1970s'

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  1. I remember this store AND my dad using the tv tube tester! Ate there many times Remember Grant's at Midland Shopping center? Kind of a similar place.

    The original Trenholm Plaza had a huge sign, sort of like a gigantic umbrella that sprouted out of the very center of the parking lot. You could see it for miles.


    21 Aug 08 at 10:14 am

  2. Bought by Rite Aid


    10 Aug 13 at 7:08 am

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