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Key Catalog Wholesalers, Bush River Road: 1970s   21 comments

Posted at 4:34 pm in Uncategorized

Actually, I'm not 100% sure this is the old Key Catalog Wholesalers building. My memory says that it was in Boozer Shooping Center first and then moved out here, but I could be wrong. (I'm sure someone will let me know :-)

At any rate, Key was an odd store that we visited infrequently. I think they were one of that vanished breed of stores where they had a catalog showroom with sample merchandise on the floor and when you picked something, they would go in the back and bring one out. (There were also catalog items which were not kept at the store).

I also think, and remember this as the only reason we went, that they had some sort of arrangement with Greenbax trading stamps (before Greenbax had their own store) such that your books of Greenbax were usable to get certain items for free or at a discount (depending on how many books you had). My memory is that when I started Boy Scouts, we went to Key to get sleeping bags and used trading stamps.

Contrary to appearances, there is a tenant in the building now. Apparently it is not a retail operation at all, and doesn't care if drivers-by see their name or not, but looking in the front door establishes that there is a nice looking reception area. Some of the parking signage suggests that they might be called Spherion, but that could also be left over from a previous operation, of which I think there have been several since Key.

UPDATE 10 June 2010: As I say in the comments, I think it's pretty clear by now that I was completely wrong about this being the place Key moved to after it was in The Boozer Shopping Center. At some point, I need to fix this entry by adding some Boozer pictures, and changing the text, but it will be hard to do without messing up all the comments about this building..

Written by ted on May 30th, 2008

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21 Responses to 'Key Catalog Wholesalers, Bush River Road: 1970s'

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  1. I don't remember Key moving here from Boozer Shopping Center, but they could have. Wow, that brings back memories!! I know Key was located where Manifest is now in Boozer. I know that this property was a Food Lion, and may have been one of the first Food Lion stores in the St. Andrews area. I know that there was a Big Star in Seven Oaks Shopping Center, which after several name changes, became a Food Lion. I'm not sure if this was a Big Star or not. I do remember that I like Sam Solomon's better than Key, because there was very little on the floor.

    This building housed a tele-market service for some time, like over at the Old HQ/Herman's Sporting Goods building on Broad River Road.


    2 Jun 08 at 12:58 pm

  2. Well, maybe I'm wrong about Key moving -- it won't be the first or last time. Yes, I think it was about where Manifest is when it was in Boozer -- certainly in that wing of the plaza anyway.


    2 Jun 08 at 9:59 pm

  3. Yep, the original Key Wholesale in Columbia was in Boozer Shopping center. I remember when I was in high school (early 70s) we'd drive over from the Trenholm Road area to shop there because it was 'cheaper.' There were two discount stores, Key and Sam Solomon's. Both were on the Bush River side of town. Sam Solomon's started in Charleston and was finally sold to Service Merchandise in the early 80s.


    8 Jun 08 at 2:22 am

  4. There was also a location on Devine Street (or is it Garnber's Ferry?) between the K-Mart and the McDonalds.


    1 Jul 08 at 9:49 am

  5. I've always wondered what this building was.

    Mr Bill

    1 Jul 08 at 12:57 pm

  6. Yes, Key was definitely located where Manifest is now. I remember going there as a kid with my grandmother. The place pictured was a Food Lion as far back as I can remember (mid-'80s)


    19 Aug 08 at 2:01 pm

  7. As an FYI, Spherion is a temp/contractor service. In my hometown (Nashville), they have an exclusive contract with the Dell Computers plant and facility.


    22 Aug 08 at 9:18 am

  8. This building was used few years ago as a discount book store. Sort of a Big Lots for books.


    22 Aug 08 at 9:53 am

  9. I actually worked for Key Wholesale on Garner's Ferry Roan, first part-time while in college, beginning during the Christmas holidays in, I think, 1971, then later for a fairly brief time as assistant store manager, under David McMaster, who had moved here from Albany, GA to manage this store. The home office was there, I think. Other locations included Augusta....This location predated the Boozer location, which we called "the new store" .. Some local people who worked there include Don Futch, Bob Hubble, John Sanders, Wanda Griffin, Shirley Johnson, and Al Kawohl.

    Hank McMillan

    30 Oct 08 at 11:47 am

  10. Hmm, I didn't remember the Garners Ferry location at all. Thanks!


    30 Oct 08 at 1:11 pm

  11. This building was built as Thrifty Mart Grocery. I think it opened either back in 1968 or 1969 maybe, or it could have been 1970 also. I do know that it was still Thrify Mart as late as 1975 or it could have been Food Town by then..I dont remember for sure. I do remember it being a book place for a while though.


    19 Apr 09 at 1:17 pm

  12. Does anybody else remember the spa/gym (don't recall the name) in the corner of Boozer Shopping Center with the large Atlas statue and torches on the roof? I was fascinated by the Atlas and globe and wanted mom and dad to buy it. I don't know what I thought we would do with a huge metal statue, but I thought it was cool. It and the torches were taken down in, as I recall, the late 1980s. I always wonder what they did with Atlas....

    59 Ford Wheelman

    14 Oct 09 at 6:27 pm

  13. European Health Spa. Also had one near Richland mall.

    Lou B

    14 Oct 09 at 7:41 pm

  14. Wow. I never would have remembered that name. Thanks.

    59 Ford Wheelman

    14 Oct 09 at 7:58 pm

  15. It was a Food Town before they changed to Food Lion. Key as at the Manifest location in Boozer, my mom worked there one Christmas season.


    15 Oct 09 at 11:15 pm

  16. Yeah, I went through a bunch of phonebooks at the library recently, and apparently my memory that Key moved here is just flat wrong. I'm going to have to revise and figure out how to fix it without making the comments make no sense.

    It ain't what you don't know, but what you know that just ain't so..


    15 Oct 09 at 11:19 pm

  17. I ride down Bush River Road a fair amount but this building makes no sense to me. It appears (from the street) that it is an office complex of some sort but I feel like it's the biggest mystery of Bush River Road (at least in my mind)


    9 Jun 10 at 11:12 pm

  18. I was always fascintated by the Atlas Statue on the Health Spa and wondered where it ende dup, it was awesoem especially when the torches were lit. Key wholesale was in there (always odd as was perpendicualr to Bush River), also it was formerly a S&H Greenstamp (or Greenbax) redemption store. There was also a very awesome hobby store that used to be in Boozer Shopping Center (bought a Mattel superstar airplaen there). It is sad to see so many stores closed, but I love Manifest enough to continue shopping there. Of course Dutch Square right next door has had its changes and in my opinion will NEVER be the same since Cromers and their monkeys left.


    12 Apr 12 at 12:37 pm

  19. This building was originally Thrifty Mart, then Food Town, Food Lion, a book store of some kind and a few other businesses also. It's been there at least since '69.

    Saturday's child

    12 Apr 12 at 3:00 pm

  20. lately, it had some sort of offices but that folded up and the buildign is for sale. This complex (in addition to the shops that are at a 90° angle in relation to this building) are other examples, besides what I pointed out last November that hasn't seen the new life people hoped when Walmart #4379 was preparing to open up across the street


    13 Apr 12 at 12:33 pm

  21. Key Wholesale was in fact where Manifest is today. They also opened a second location on Devine St near Ft Jackson Blvd where there was a big K Mart. The Atlas Statue was on the European Health Spa, which opened a second location across from Richland Mall on Beltline Blvd. The Hobby Shop was the Dutch Door Hobby Shop which the same family had the Dutch Door (artist supply store). Of course there was a Winn Dixie and St Andrew Pharmacy with the popular lunch counter. Dems Fine Jewelers, Duane's Hallmark, Barnett Wallcovering, Ed's Gun Shop, Field's, Winn Phillips State Farm, and a beauty & barber shop were other notable businesses. I worked in that shopping center from 1969 to 2004....


    29 Sep 20 at 1:41 pm

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