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Sounds Familiar, 4420 Rosewood Drive: February 2009   30 comments

Posted at 1:22 am in Uncategorized

Well, that was a bit sooner than I had expected. For some reason, I was thinking that the Sounds Familiar flagship store on Rosewood was staying open through February, but when I went over there on the 26th, the place was already closed and emptied out. I've written about Sounds Familiar before, here and here. I guess over the years, I was in this store the most, though the Myrtle Beach store was probably my favorite. The last thing I specifically recall buying here was the ABBA Gold greatest hits collection sometime last summer -- used. I know I bought a good bit of beach music here including some ripete LPs, (For the longest time, that was the only way to get Lamont Dozier's Cool Me out though it is finally on CD now), and some interesting "import" CDs (though they basically stopped carrying those in later years).

The counter "podium" was an interesting feature of this store. The area where the registers, CD players and computers were was raised about a foot off the store floor on a wooden platform which is still there. The only reason I can think of for doing such a thing is so the staff could keep an eagle eye out for "shrinkage", but the effect was such that when you picked out your CDs, it was like approaching the throne: Oh please, your majesties couldst thou smilest down on me that I might purchase these graven disks of recorded sounds?

I haven't checked out the place being advertised in the window signs, and am not sure what the connection with Sounds Familiar is, if any. At any rate, the closing of this store marks the end of a local success story (20+ years is a pretty good run!), and puts us one step closer to the end of the "music store" era.


Refit for The Little Gym has started.









Refit continues.





UPDATE 2014-10-21:

Added pictures above of refit to turn the old store into The Little Gym.

As of today, The Little Gym is open, having moved from p1190880_tn.jpg

Written by ted on February 28th, 2009

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30 Responses to 'Sounds Familiar, 4420 Rosewood Drive: February 2009'

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  1. They had a pretty decent collection of obscure local (sc) rap.


    1 Mar 09 at 11:53 pm

  2. Interesting. I have to admit that's a scene I know almost nothing about -- good for them!


    1 Mar 09 at 11:55 pm

  3. good for who? the store closing? Sounds Familiar? there local collection? ......thats a bit ambiguous


    3 Mar 09 at 5:33 pm

  4. Hmm, I thought that was pretty clear: Good for Sounds Familiar for supporting local artists.


    3 Mar 09 at 5:38 pm

  5. LOL at the last two comments.

    I drove by last night and was surprised to see it closed up but definitely not shocked. After a moment of thought I was actually dumbfounded that they lasted as long as they did.

    The times they are a changin'


    5 Mar 09 at 3:04 pm

  6. This is a nice site, reminds me of the History Room at RCPL's main branch.


    3 Apr 09 at 10:04 pm

  7. That room is nice. I've gotten a lot of old phonebook scans from there.


    3 Apr 09 at 10:49 pm

  8. One of the former managers licensed beach music hits for a series of compilation CDs called "Ocean Drive" on indie label Ripete Records. The series of CDs is revered within the beach music scene.

    This store was sometimes better about getting imports and indie dance singles than even Manifest. Either that or they came in and went out too fast at Manifest.


    24 Jun 09 at 10:25 am

  9. Yes indeed, first on LP and then on CD, Ripete records were essential for a Beach Music collection. They're still around too.


    24 Jun 09 at 10:41 am

  10. i rememeber this place, what happened to the tcby?


    4 Feb 11 at 10:33 pm

  11. is the blockbuster still there?


    4 Feb 11 at 10:33 pm

  12. @Aliina yes this particular Blockbuster location is still going but Blockbuster Video filed for bankruptcy last September

    What was the Verizon locaiton in this picture is no more though and Little Caesars is there now...


    4 Feb 11 at 10:38 pm

  13. i love lil ceasers pizza especially the crazy bread, i dont fancy their sauce though


    5 Feb 11 at 7:25 am

  14. I camped out all night at the Rosewood location for tickets to the Guns ' n ' Roses / Metallica concert @ Williams-Brice. When the doors opened in the morning, the Sounds Familiar folks took the names of the fans who camped out over night, and then ran all of the tickets for us in a row. That way, there wasn't a stop-go while tickets are selling all over the country in between each order. I think I was 4th Row center. My seats were so close to the stage that the Jason's bass from Metallica made my heart skip throughout their gig. Kinda uncomfortable. However, I did get to slap James Hetfield's hand when he walked into the crowd. Ahhh...the adventures of pre-internet.


    24 Dec 13 at 1:53 pm

  15. I remember when Pete Smolen opened his first Sounds Familiar in the shopping center across from the Veterans Hospital on Garners Ferry Road, I can never remember the name of that shopping center. I believe he then moved to the Mall that housed Target just down the street closer to town.


    2 Jan 14 at 12:39 pm

  16. I don't remember Sounds Familiar being in Landmark Square? Where was it?


    2 Jan 14 at 1:46 pm

  17. Landmark Square, thanks. This was back in the late seventies. I know Ted said that 20 plus years was a good run but, it was probably closer to 30. Sounds Familiar was roughly three or four store fronts to the left of the dollar store next to big lots. This is or was about the time when the Payless gas station was where the bank is now, closest to Wendy's. I worked at payless after I got out of High School and that was 1975. I remember talking to Pete one night after a few beers, wondering if he ever thought about having an underground FM Station. He told me he had wanted a radio station for years. I think I got the idea after seeing the movie FM that some of us discussed on Columbia Closings.


    2 Jan 14 at 4:41 pm

  18. Check out this You Tube Video, if I was able to copy it correctly. If not go to You Tube type in Sounds Familiar Record Store.


    2 Jan 14 at 5:05 pm

  19. The link above was recorded in 2009. In the video Pete Smolen says they have been in business in Columbia for 32 years which puts them opening in 1977. The original Woodhill Mall did not open until 1978. So I started second guessing myself. I'm sure I am correct about the store in Landmark Square being Sounds familiar, and since I have remembered Pete's name for this long, I'm convinced I'm not hallucinating. It's just been so long ago.


    2 Jan 14 at 5:39 pm

  20. Wasn't the one that was at Landmark Square and moved to the old Woodhill Mall "Flipside"?


    3 Jan 14 at 12:22 am

  21. Rick, your post brought back some good memories of browsing the album selections at Sounds Familiar. While I was in there one evening I asked Pete if they had an album by The Stabilizers, which I had just heard a song by on WUSC. After doing some searching and head scratching he said no, and then remembered a copy behind the counter they had received recently. He handed it to me and said 'Here, you can take this one home. Let me know what you think of it.' I was totally surprised to receive free music from a record store. Here is a link to one of the songs on what I considered a great album by an unknown band:


    3 Jan 14 at 2:55 am

  22. I remember hearing about Flipside on the radio, but don't recall it at Woodhill Mall (which, in the spirit of Christmas time, I must say that I recall they had some mighty hot elves helping Santa out in the mid eighties).


    3 Jan 14 at 7:49 am

  23. For those that have Netflix, I suggest "I Need This Record." That video that Rick linked to could have been a segment.


    3 Jan 14 at 11:06 am

  24. I definitely remember the Flipside at Decker, but not so sure about Woodhill.


    4 Jan 14 at 11:29 am

  25. I sent Pete Smolen an e-mail at the business he owns now called Ripete Records asking for clarification. If I get a reply I'll post it here.


    4 Jan 14 at 1:07 pm

  26. The 1st Columbia Sounds Familiar opened in 1976 at Landmark Sq. and after a few years relocated to Woodhill Mall (next to Coplans) and then on to the Rosewood Dr. Location in the summer of 1990. At its height, SF had 6 stores.
    There were 3 locations in Columbia, 1 in Myrtle Beach, and 2 in Charlotte, NC (those 2 were condensed into one store and moved to Asheville, NC).

    Rusty Shackleford

    7 Feb 14 at 4:21 pm

  27. Folks, it appears to me as if a Children's gym of some sort is about to set up shop here...


    5 Sep 14 at 2:52 pm

  28. According to my sister, this will be the "Little Gym", moving here from Beltline by the old D's/Sulley's location.


    6 Sep 14 at 12:08 am

  29. The storefront is going through a complete remodel as I type.


    25 Sep 14 at 12:29 pm

  30. This was the go to place for concert tickets back in the day. I would camp out and always land great tickets. Felt bad for the people that would line up at the Carolina Coliseum and other places that had no clue that Sounds Familiar was an official ticket outlet back in the day. Good times from my childhood and young adult days spent camping out and grabbing great concert tickets there.


    1 May 24 at 7:40 pm

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