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The Free Times, 1534 Main Street: 2018ish (Moved)   10 comments

Posted at 12:58 am in closing



Way back in the dark ages when I first started this blog (working by candlelight on a steam-powered computer), I wondered why I wasn't getting any hits or comments. I figured I would eventually get traffic from Google but it wasn't happening, and I felt like I was posting into a black hole. I finally decided I could either give it up, or take a shot at doing a little advertising.

After poking around on their website for a while, I figured that I could afford a month or so online advertising with The Free Times, and looking at their requirements, I came up with this ad:

Original ad for Columbiaclosings

Although I was really dragging (it later turned out I had pneumonia..) I burned it to CDROM, made an appointment and took it down to this office (which was pretty nice). Things went very smoothly (which was good because I could barely sit up straight), and the ad rep was helpful, looked at the files and got right on it. The next day, as I recall, the ad went up, and almost immediately I started getting comments (I suspect some were from Free Times staff the guy had told about my odd little project).

(It also later developed that I wasn't getting any Google traffic because the default WordPress setting is "do not allow this blog to be searched". Who knew..)

Anyway, that was the only time I went in this office. I know that before this location, they were at Sunset Boulevard near the Chicken Plant, and that after the Post & Courier bought them, they moved to a building on the corner of Gervais & Harden where they are now.

UPDATE 28 March 2022 -- Here is their current office at 2101 Gervais Street:


Written by ted on March 19th, 2022

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10 Responses to 'The Free Times, 1534 Main Street: 2018ish (Moved)'

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  1. I just stumbled upon this website because I was shedding tears of nostalgia for my childhood memories of going to Decker Mall and Columbia Mall (what has been Columbia PLACE mall for years). I am almost 43 years old and have been out of state for years. I came back home to NE Columbia recently, and these locations have a dear place in my heart. Is there ANYTHING open in either place so I can go inside to have a trip down memory lane one last time? Or before I make the trip out there, will I be sorely disappointed? Thank you and thank heaven I found what I have about these places from this website. I am so grateful.

    Emily Mandeville

    20 Mar 22 at 3:46 pm

  2. Decker Mall has been converted into city offices and storage. Columbia Mall is still open, not much worthwhile but it is still kept in good shape.

    Dan R

    20 Mar 22 at 6:30 pm

  3. Macy's (nee Rich's is still in Columbia Mall. That's something I guess.


    20 Mar 22 at 8:38 pm

  4. The Macy's ted referenced is the last remaining anchor tenant Columbia Place Mall has. I don't think there is much left of Columbia Place Mall these days though it's been at least 3-4 years since I last set foot in the Dentsville area mall. This year is 20 years since it was rebranded Columbia Place. The thing of it is, the neighborhood reputation of Columbia Place Mall isn't what it used to be.

    Decker Blvd. isn't what it used to be. I can remember The State running an article called "Business Flock to Northeast" talking about things that moved from Decker Blvd. up to Sparkleberry Square/Spring Valley area (and this was before the Village at Sandhill came onto the scene). Among the stores that moved: Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Target and Kroger. Plus Pier 1 was in front of Columbia Place Mall and moved out there as well around that time (though Pier 1 has since liquidated companywide). Dent Middle School was completely rebuilt a few years back as well. Several chain restaurants have folded and are now 'hole in the wall' types as well.

    About 10-12 years ago they decided to rebrand Decker Blvd. as the international corridor but I don't think it has brought much of anything exciting to the scene.


    21 Mar 22 at 9:20 am

  5. When I worked at Columbia Mall in the 80's, Continental Sound was still across the street, McDonalds was still there right past Winn-Dixie, Kmart was still there also as well as Circuit City, Toy's are us and several other places I cant remember 35 or so years later. But it's all gone or closed now and looks nothing like it did. Nothing stays the same for sure whether for the good or bad. Columbia Mall was a hot spot for sure from the time it opened until sometime after 1990, but after that it all started to change.


    21 Mar 22 at 3:55 pm

  6. Anyone remember what year Yogi Bear's Honey Fried Chicken closed here in Columbia? I remember it from the mid 60's, but dont know how long it lasted since I rarely went on that side of town back then unless going to Sesqueech, Sasquatch, Sesquee, Sesquie Park.


    21 Mar 22 at 4:01 pm

  7. People remember Yogi Bear's here.


    21 Mar 22 at 5:40 pm

  8. ken holler

    21 Mar 22 at 8:23 pm

  9. Hi Emily, I am 45 and have similar memories. Those were some good times.

    I often have recurring dreams, probably anxiety related, where I'm stuck in Columbia Mall and everything is closed. :-)

    Mr Bill

    22 Mar 22 at 2:14 pm

  10. The Free Times is dead. Long live our corporate overlords.

    Justin S.

    23 Mar 22 at 6:33 pm

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