SHOPPING

Cool shops, trendy retailers call Columbia home

krupon@thestate.comJune 22, 2013 

Whole Foods is one of the newest grocery chains to arrive in Columbia.

FILE PHOTOGRAPH/THE STATE

Cool retailers are hot on Columbia.

Just a few years ago, many Midlands-area shoppers were asking “why not us?” as Greenville and Charleston scored sought-after national brands that skipped this area.

But Columbia is coming into its own, landing in the past 12 months such hot shops as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Designer Shoe Warehouse — and coming soon, Urban Outfitters and Costco.

The trend started when Mast General Store two years ago opened its second South Carolina location on Columbia’s Main Street in the midst of a revitalization.

Just a month later, Whole Foods announced it would anchor a new upscale shopping center on Fort Jackson Boulevard.

As the economic recovery has gained steam over the past two years, the area has scored Academy Sports, HomeGoods and Quaker Steak & Lube.

Columbia still can’t check off of its list Costco, an Apple store or Cheesecake Factory. And shoppers will still have to drive 100 miles to Charleston to shop H&M when it opens there this fall. But the city’s cool quotient is ratcheting up.

And don’t discount those local innovative entrepreneurs who make Columbia’s retail and restaurant scene unique.

Five Points, a funky urban village, has everything from consignment shops to Papa Jazz, the city’s coolest music store, while the Devine Street area in Shandon offers boutique clothing and specialty shops.

Gwen Rawls brings an Italian flair to Trenholm Plaza with her upscale shoe boutique, which features Roberto Cavalli, Loriblu, as well as her own specialty line.

And coming later this year, Kristian Niemi’s Bourbon will bring a taste of the French Quarter to the burgeoning culinary cluster around Main Street.

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service