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Phar-Mor #0229 , 272 / 287 Harbison Boulevard: 10 October 2001   18 comments

Posted at 11:38 pm in closing

Phar-Mor was a discount drugstore, though perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it was a mini-department store (think Walgreens, but larger) that filled perscriptions. This store on Harbison, next to the Barnes & Noble, is the only one I'm aware of in Columbia (I also know of one that was in Aiken at Aiken Mall). At one time, the Phar-Mor chain appeared to be a category beater, growing faster and bringing in more money than any of its competitors. Unfortunately in the aftermath it emerged that the whole thing was a giant crooked pyramid scheme with the founder cooking the books right and left. The chain went into bankruptcy, and the founder went to jail. I believe the chain struggled on a while after this store closed, but finally went totally under in 2002.

Ross Dress For Less has occupied the spot since Phar-Mor closed, and seems to be doing well. The strip mall seems to have regular turnover of smaller storefronts, but luckily has been able to hold on to (or in this case replace) the anchors.

UPDATE 26 Sep 2010: I've added the full address to the post title. However, while the current address appears to be 287 Harbison Boulevard, my older sources give the address as 272 Harbison Boulevard, so apparently there has been some re-numbering within that plaza.

UPDATE 20 March 2011: Updated the closing date based commenter Andrew's research, also added the store number "0229".

18 Responses to 'Phar-Mor #0229 , 272 / 287 Harbison Boulevard: 10 October 2001'

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  1. There was a Phar-Mor on Decker Blvd. in that psuedo-outlet mall across from Dent Middle School. There was also one in Savannah Ga.

    I may be wrong, but I believe the owner of Phar-mor was also the original owner of the MLB's Colorado Rockies.


    26 Oct 08 at 6:09 am

  2. I only remember going in that place once or twice, although i do have a vivid memory of seeing a poster or something advertising the newly released Simpson's Sing Christmas Carols cd, and me considering buying it as a Chrstmas gift.

    Other than that i just remember it being disorganized and kind of dirty.


    26 Oct 08 at 11:47 am

  3. what about Steak and Shake on Harbison and what use to be Pizza Factory in Ballentine


    26 Oct 08 at 6:06 pm

  4. I'm afraid I never noticed either of those, open or closed :-(


    26 Oct 08 at 11:06 pm

  5. I think Five Guys buried Steak & Shake. In fact, I had no idea they'd closed until I was sitting outside of Five Guys and looked over there!! I remember they were very expensive for a fast food place. If I was going to drop that kind of $ for a hamburger, I'd go to Five Guys!! Which I did!!

    Pizza Factory had been in Ballentine forever. They delivered to our neighborhood, which was the only joint to do so. We used to have coupons everytime for a BOGO, but they'd never even ask us for them, so we'd keep using them. You could literally get two large pizzas delivered for $11 w/o a tip. I just think they ran themselves into the ground. I know they had a lunch buffett, but I don't think too many people work in the Ballentine area to take advantage of that. I could be wrong... We've eaten at Guido's (their replacement) a couple of times. I've been by there several times to pick up a to-go menu for ordering later, and they never have one. I'm not going to go there and order to-go and sit there for twenty minutes. Plus, Gina's in Friarsgate is stellar.


    27 Oct 08 at 9:49 am

  6. There was also a Phar Mor on Broad River Road behind Applebee's, where Herman's Sports and HQ were, I'm almost positive. I used to rent VHS movies from the Harbison location. They used to have specials on "three fers." The Walgreens comparison is pretty fair. I rememeber the Harbison location went downhill very quickly. The entire store was almost empty before they closed.


    27 Oct 08 at 9:56 am

  7. I remember the one on Broad River and the one on Decker. The one on Decker was in Fashion place. It actually took the spot of Ross when they moved out sometime around 1988. Phar Mor was the best place to buy cds back in the early 90s, they were probably 5 bucks cheaper than everyone else.

    MR Bill

    27 Oct 08 at 3:11 pm

  8. I can't remember either the Broad River or Fashion Place ones. Man, Fashion Place has had some bad luck!


    27 Oct 08 at 3:21 pm

  9. oh yeah man, that one in Fashion place was Ross, then Phar Mor then I think it was a pet store and staples and not sure what it is now.

    Jonathan's right about the broad river one. It opened in the mid 80s and I think stayed open even after the harbison one opened. I remember going to the one in Spartanburg also. At one point you could rent movies there 3 for a dollar.

    MR Bill

    27 Oct 08 at 3:39 pm

  10. Hello..this is photo at Columbia south carolina? i looking for friend my father.. he have hourse nearly broad river.. if you know he. pls help connect to me..him name is Mr. William Addy (Bill) about 63 year old…long time ago never know news information about he.. if you know he. Pls connect to me..


    29 Oct 08 at 6:14 am

  11. The last surviving Phar-Mor I have seen was the one in Sarasota, FL. When I briefly lived there in 2001. I went in there like once or twice with my mom. I do remember running errands with the woman that my mom and I were living with and we went in there and all that stuff. I couldn't believe there was still a Phar-mor and all.

    James Greek

    30 Jun 09 at 1:23 pm

  12. Yeah, it was one on Broad River. I had an aunt who lived in the neighborhood behind the store, and she worked there part time.

    I remember when we lived off Decker, my mother used to rent all the wrestling tapes for my brothers from the Pharmor in fashion place. Randy 'macho man' savage is the main tape I remember.

    That's also where I used to buy my Andy's hot fries.


    7 Jul 10 at 9:23 am

  13. I vaguely remember the Broad River location of Phar-Mor that others have suggested near I-20.

    I think this one closed in late 2001:

    State - October 5, 2001 - D1 BUSINESS

    Phar-Mor closing three S.C. stores Phar-Mor Inc. has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Ohio to close 65 stores. The action is part of the restructuring of its operations under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Phar-Mor filed for Chapter 11 protection Sept. 24. Phar-Mor will close three stores in South Carolina, including its location in Columbia at 272 Harbison Blvd., and locations in Greenville and North Charleston.

    looking at Phar-Mor's Wiki page the company officially went defunct in 2002.

    I definitely remember going here on numerous occasions with my mom during my Elementary School days in the 90s. I can still mentally picture what this Phar-Mor used to look like, over 10 years since it folded up.


    17 Mar 11 at 10:47 pm

  14. A little further digging yields this info:

    Phar-Mor store #: 0229
    Address: 272 Harbison Blvd.
    City: Columbia SC
    Transfer location: Eckerd #1237, 6118 St. Andrews Rd.
    Closing Date: 10/10/2001


    19 Mar 11 at 10:19 pm

  15. That's good enough for me -- 10 Oct 2001 it is.


    19 Mar 11 at 11:24 pm

  16. I must have been too young and not interested in this type of store at the time. I didn't start buying CDs until I was 11 or 12 (2001-3) so I probably didn't even have this store register with me. Interesting to read about though.


    28 Apr 12 at 5:28 pm

  17. I worked at this PharMor back in the early 1990s. I remember that if you said on the written exam that you'd never stolen anything, they would not hire you. I said that I'd stolen a matchbox car from a friend when I was young and they hired me. The problem was, the store had no customers because Harbison was a ghost town in those years before the mall opened up, and I was only allowed to work about 5 to 6 hours per week most weeks. I ended up quitting there and working for Little Caesars pizza.


    3 Oct 16 at 11:30 am

  18. I am trying to remember where in Greenville the store was. I remember renting SNES games there as a kid but I was sooo long ago now


    5 Apr 20 at 10:54 pm

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