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Archive for the ‘Diamond Lane’ tag

Intersection Vacuum Center, 12 Diamond Lane (Intersection Center): 1990s   3 comments

Posted at 12:16 am in closing

OK, this one makes me doubt my memories. (I'm sure more of these closings should do that..)

This is the store where I bought my sister a vacuum cleaner back in the 1980s. I can't remember what kind it was -- some sort of off-brand canister model that seemed fairly solid, I think. It lasted more than ten years for her, and if that's not Electrolux longevity, it's not bad.

The thing is that I was dead certain the place was called Intersection Vacuum Center, which made sense because it was located at Intersection Center. However, clearly at the time this place moved to Lake Murray Boulevard (where it still is), it was called Vacuum Mart. Further, there is an Intersection Vacuum Center in Columbia, but it's apparently on Two Notch near Columbia Mall.

The only sequence of events that would make my recollection correct is if this building was Intersection Vacuum Center which at some point moved out and was replaced by another vacuum store. Anyone have a better memory about this?

UPDATE 16 May 2010: Added full street address, tags.

UPDATE 22 January 2020: Add map icon, update tags.

Written by ted on December 16th, 2008

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Real Estate School of South Carolina, 10 Diamond Lane: 2007 (moved)   no comments

Posted at 7:36 pm in Uncategorized

Here's another now empty store-front in Intersection Center. In this case, the business is still around and appears to have a nicer, free-standing facility now.

According to their sign, they've been moved for almost two years at this point, and I believe Intersection Center itself has been on the market for at least that long. I'm sure that wanting to present a more upscale image than a run-down strip mall allowed was a big factor in the move, but I wonder if they also expected that the place would sell and be demolished long before now. I'm a little surprised it hasn't, but I guess nobody is going to bet on redeveloping a struggling retail corridor in this economic climate. The few places still hanging on there are probably safe until the buildings are actually condemned.

Wonder how the Yard Sale turned out?

UPDATE 21 July 2011 -- Here are the school's new digs off Sunset Boulevard:

Written by ted on October 31st, 2008

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Chung King Restaurant, 20 Diamond Lane (Intersection Center): 1990s   8 comments

Posted at 11:38 pm in closing

I like to take pictures in the afternoon, because it seems to me the light is best then (leaving aside the fact that I rarely get my act together before 1 or 2pm anyway if I don't have to..), and so since I happened to be out in the Intersection Center area one Saturday afternoon recently, I decided to walk the whole place and take a bunch of pictures. I think I've already used some, and others will show up from time to time.

This former Chinese restaurant really caught my eye because of the life-sized cut-out figure still affixed to the front wall. I wouldn't call it fine art, but someone put a good bit of work into it once upon a time and it's a shame that it will probably go under the wrecking ball sooner or later. I was going to get a lot closer to the building and do my standard trying to look into the doors etc, but as I turned the corner, I saw a Highway Patrol car sitting beside the next defunct business. I believe there was a major drunk driving crackdown on at the time, and I suppose they were watching Broad River for people they could pull. I know I wasn't doing anything wrong, and I know the Highway Patrol could care less about most non-car related shenanigans, but it made me a bit nervous, so I made sure to flourish the camera very ostentatiously, and tried to look very much like I was not "casing the joint"...

I don't know what happened to Chung King. I think a lot of Chinese restaurants are family run and operate on a shoestring. Perhaps the place put the kids through college and it was time for mom & pop to retire. Perhaps being in a dying strip mall meant there was too little drive by traffic. To me it seems like the place has been closed forever, so I'm saying 1990s in the tag line, but apparently it was open recently enough that one of the online restaurant sites thought it was worth entering in their database -- something that does not give me a great deal of confidence in the rest of their listings!

UPDATE 22 January 2020: Add map icon, update tags.

Sam Solomon / Service Merchandise, 3 Diamond Lane (Intersection Center): 1982 / 2002   42 comments

Posted at 7:08 pm in closing

During the 1970s, Dutch Square was a major retail hub for Columbia. Columbia Mall in Dentsville had not yet been built, and Columbiana Center in Harbison was not even on the radar. While Dutch Square thrived, the surrounding area thrived as well. Cookesbury Books did a good business across the street, Boozer Shooping Center was at its peak, and Sam Solomon dominated nearby Intersection Center.

At the time, I always assumed that Sam Solomon was a national chain, but I have since found out that it was a Charleston based outfit. As I recall, it had something of a hybrid floor-concept. There were a few "catalog" stores which had only sample items on the floors as opposed to the current nearly universal "all our merchandise is on the floor" sales model. In these stores, you would look at items, and take coupons to the checkout at which point your items would be brought from the warehouse and rung up. At Sam Solomon's, larger items were displayed as samples while smaller iterms were taken by the shoppers themselves to the checkout. Sam Solmon had a little bit of everything, though my memory is that it skewed away from clothes and towards jewelry. I didn't care much about either. Whenever I came, invariably in the company of my cousins making a power-shopping trip to Columbia, I would concentrate on the electronics and gadgets (which I couldn't afford) and the paperback books (which I could -- sometimes). I remember in particularly getting a copy of Asimov's The Stars, Like Dust and a number of "Kenneth Robeson"'s Avenger books.

I don't know the story of Sam Solomon's demise, but have found a New York Times story dating its bankruptcy and takeover by Service Merchandise to 1982. By that time, the Dutch Square area was already losing its luster, and Intersection Center was particularly badly hit. Apart from the vacuum cleaner store at its entrance and Service Merchandise, the anchor, I think every store there turned over or went empty. By that time, I was driving and had a little money, but Service Merchandise never really had anything to interest me. For a while they billed themselves as "America's Leading Jewler", but they were already in decline when they lost that title to Wal-Mart. The last time I went in, it was rather sad. Most of the store was empty except for the central part where they were running a retail operation no bigger than a typical drugstore. I was a little surprised, googling later, to find that they had lasted until 9/11 when the retail crash took them out for good.

Intersection Center never even came close to recovering. I believe about the only operation left there is an ethnic grocery of some sort, and currently the whole tract is up for sale.

UPDATE 5 March 2010: Finally remember to add Service Merchandise to the post title.

UPDATE 16 May 2010: Added full street address, tags.

UPDATE 30 Sep 2010 -- Well, with the ongoing work at Intersection Center someone has (possibly unintentionally) got the Service Merchandise sign illuminated for the first time in 8 years:

UPDATE 22 January 2020: Add map icon, update tags.

Written by ted on February 12th, 2008

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