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Archive for the ‘Sparkleberry Crossing’ tag

Let's Dish, 111 Sparkleberry Crossing Sute 5: 23 April 2010   4 comments

Posted at 3:10 am in Uncategorized

Let's Dish was a take & bake operation in Sparklebery Crossing at the intersection of Sparkleberry and Clemson Roads. It's a regional chain, but I believe this was the last location in South Carolina. Personally I don't really understand the appeal of the concept. I can certainly understand not wanting to actually cook at home, especially involved dishes, but it seems to me that take & bake still leaves you with dishes and silverware to clean up, plus you don't get out of the house. Of course I realize not everyone actively dislikes eating at home as I do, but it still seems a minimal benefit. Steak Out seems to have failed with a similar concept, but as far as I know, Piggly Wiggly's "Dream Dinners" take & bake is still going.

I think Sparklebery Crossing seems to have dodged the bullet of perceived failure -- so far. They have had Coldstone Creamery, D's Wings, Al Amir, and Za's Pizza all go under, which is a lot for such a new development, but to date they have managed to get reasonably top-tier replacements (though D's was vacant for quite a wihle).

(Hat tip to commenter Jason)

Written by ted on April 28th, 2010

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D's Wings Northeast, 111 Sparkleberry Crossing (Clemson Road at Sparkleberry): October 2008 (closed again)   38 comments

Posted at 5:27 pm in closing

I've written about D's before. Recently in the comments people mentioned that several other D's had now closed. I was over in the Harbison area, so I decided to check that one out, but found that I actually didn't know where it was, and had been thinking of Wild Wing (which is still open). After that, I decided to check on this location, which is on Clemson Road at Sparkleberry in a strip mall which has seen a number of restaurants flounder.

What I found was a little odd in that while there was a floor sign offering a "franchaise opportunity" (when "opportunity" is used in this way, I always decode it as in the immortal phrase from Pogo: We are confonted with insurmountable opportunities!) for this restaurant, the one in "Bythewood" and the one in Harbison, all the lights were still on, and the place looked as though it had been straightened up for business, not closing. Nonetheless it wasn't open. Still, it looked so not closed that I hesitated to post on it. Then when I was on my way to Brixx the other night I stopped by again and saw a very definite sign saying that the place would be reopened on 16 October, though it also used the dreaded "renovations" word which often indicates more of a fond wish to re-open someday than anything else (especially as no renovation work was visible through the windows). So, we will see tomorrow!

UPDATE 17 Oct 2008:

Well, they did not reopen on 16 October..

UPDATE 6 May 2009: They are definitely gone for good now, so I have taken the "(temporary?)" tag off the post title. I have also updated the post title with the full street address of the store, and added the word "Northeast" to the store name.

UPDATE 10 Jan 2010: A new operation "7 Grill & Bar" is moving into the old "D's" slot:

UPDATE 28 April 2010 -- The D's replacement, 7 Grill is now open:

UPDATE 11 December 2012: Interesting tip from commenter Frank to the effect that D's will be reopening here soon. These pictures pretty much confirm it. The 7 Grill marquee is still up, but the interior has been filled with D's stuff. In fact, that cigar store Indian is almost certainly the one from D's on Beltline so it would appear that the Beltline store is moving here!






UPDATE 23 October 2015 -- OK, this is getting a little hard to follow, but this location (D's Northeast) closed in 2008, then the building became 7 Grill which closed, then the D's from Beltline (which was a seperate operation) moved here, and now it has closed. As you can see by the door note, this latest closure came sometime before 15 September 2015:











UPDATE 7 December 2016 -- Now a J Peters:


Putt-Putt Fun Center, 105 Sparkleberry Lane (near Clemson Road): 2007   24 comments

Posted at 5:02 pm in closing

Well it seems I always get around to taking pictures of Putt-Putt locations too late. This location on Clemson Road only lasted a few years, and was completely torn up before I got around to going out there.

If I recall correctly, they had a go-kart track which was out in the area with the fire-extinguishers on the light poles. I'm not entirely sure, but I believe the actual "building" part of the "fun center" might still be standing. There is a building in the back of the area which now seems to be a welding school, but the shape of the back of it makes me think it might have been designed for a lot of in-and-out traffic to the golf course and race track.

It looks like we are to get another Interstate hotel here, which is kind of a shame, as Columbia has lots of hotels, but at this point, no minature golf courses. Or am I wrong about that? Come to think about it, the only actual working "Putt Putt" brand course I can think of is this one at the base of Atlantic Avenue in Fernandina Beach:

UPDATE 25 June 2010: Added full street address to post title. The place was actualy officially on Sparkleberry Lane, not Clemson Road as I had thought.

UPDATE 19 March 2013: Well, for whatever reason, the Wingate Inn never happened, and now, 5 years later, the parcel is still for sale:


UPDATE 9 August 2017 -- It looks like this parcel has finally, for real this time, been sold to be the new home for nearby Frank's Carwash:





UPDATE 10 August 2018 -- Now the site of the new location for Frank's Car Wash:


Coldstone Creamery, 101 Sparkleberry Crossing Suite 5 (Clemson Road at Sparkleberry Lane): 2007(?)   10 comments

Posted at 4:32 pm in Uncategorized

I believe I stopped at this Coldstone twice, having ice cream once, and a milkshake once. Both times, it seemed to me that they were doing a good business. I noticed the other day, however, when I was taking pictures of the nearby former Za's location that they are now closed. I've put down 2007 for the closing date since they aren't listed in the 2008 Bellsouth phonebook, but it could have been 2006 I suppose.

When both Bruster's and Coldstone closed in Forest Acres, my thinking was that Bruster's had a bad location and business model, but I was puzzled by Coldstone, which seemingly had a good spot by Starbucks in a high foot-traffic area of Trenholm Plaza. Seeing the Clemson Road Coldstone closed got me thinking there might be something up with the chain itself, and lo-and-behold, I ran across an interesting Wall Street Journal article to exactly that effect last night. It seems that Coldstone franchisees must pay back to corporate on gross sales, and that they have to use suppliers with very high markups:

Even as they rave about the quality of the ice cream, numerous franchisees say the numbers in Cold Stone's business model didn't add up. The cost of running one of the shops was so steep that making a profit was daunting, especially in an economy where a $4 scoop was a pricey indulgence, they argue. They also contend the company cut their margins even further by offering two-for-one coupons and making them buy costly ingredients from a single supplier. Some argue that the company's rapid expansion crowded stores too close together -- and brought in too many inexperienced franchisees.

To quote from an even more interesting followup comment by a disgruntled Coldstone franchisee:

Another issue is Cold Stone’s agreements to receive kickbacks from the companies that it requires franchisees to use. This is over and above the 9% that they charge franchisees based on gross sales. These agreements drive up food costs for franchisees and forces them out of business. As an example, I recently purchased 24-24oz. Pepsi bottles from Sam’s Club for $14.21. Yet as a franchisee, I was required to buy 20oz. bottles directly from the distributor. I believe I was paying $21.65 for 20-20oz bottles of the very same product. Therefore I was paying more than $7 more for product from the distributor and receiving 96 less ounces. Shouldn’t a franchisor negotiating on behalf of nearly 1,400 franchisees be able to negotiate a better price than I can get walking into my local wholesaler?

There are some very sad stories at the second link. I do get snarky on this blog, but every failed store was someone's dream.

UPDATE 21 April 2010: Added full street address to post title.

UPDATE 28 April 2010 -- It's now a Subway:

Written by ted on June 19th, 2008

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Za's Brick Oven Pizza, 120 Sparkleberry Crossing (Sparkleberry Lane at Clemson Road): 2006   10 comments

Posted at 1:17 pm in Uncategorized

UPDATE: Commenter Mike has credible, event-tied memories that place the closing no earlier than 2006, not the 2003/2004 I mention below. I've updated the post title to say 2006.

The original Za's in Shandon is a nice place. It has an improbably attractive waitstaff, which is also very attentive: a rare and prized combination. The pizza is also quite good. They have had calamata olives for years when it was very rare to find them on menus, and the sauce is quite tasty as well. As a glutton for pizza, I can quibble that their pizzas at 8" are a bit small, but that's minor. With the closing of The Parthenon, Za's is definitely in the running for Best Pizza in Columbia though I consider that that category has no clear winner at present.

I also like that they are a restaurant that is serious about staying open for their posted hours. You can get full cheerful service if you walk in 20 min before closing, and besides that, they are one of the few nice places in town which stays open until 11pm on Thursday night.

Considering all that, I was very interested when Za's opened a second store on Clemson Road (at Sparkleberry). If I was out and about on the Interstate, it promised to be much easier to drop by there than wend my way into Shandon. In the event, I believe I made it there two or three times. The food seemed about as good as the original location, but I thought the wait-staff was both a mite less attractive and a mite less attentive. The first is nice, but not really important. The second is.

The last time I tried to go was for lunch on a Mother's Day. I'm not really sure what year it was, I'm gonna say 2003, but it could have been 2004. At any rate, there was a sign on the door saying "Closed for Mother's Day", which struck me as extremely odd, since Mother's Day is a big deal for most restaurants. Since they were closed and shuttered the next time I went by, I concluded that the sign was a bit disingenuous as such signs often are (for instance Bruster's and Coldstone's).

I don't know exactly why things didn't work out for them, but that particular plaza on Clemson has seen a number of high profile businesses come and go. Perhaps the traffic they anticipated would pass by on the way to the Village at Sandhills has not been quite to expectations.

Oh well. At any rate, the original Za's still seems to be going strong so I can still get my late-night fix on Thursdays. Not sure if they have "Martini Monday" or "Wine Wednesday" though.

UPDATE 21 April 2010: Added full street address to post title.

Written by ted on June 16th, 2008

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