Ed’s Editions. With 40,000 books organized on shelves across two cozy rooms, Ed’s Editions on Meeting Street in West Columbia is one of the state’s largest used bookstores. On a rainy day, there’s no place better for plopping down in an overstuffed chair to read a chapter. The store specializes in South Carolina authors and hard-to-find titles.
Mast General Store. The building at 1601 Main Street that now houses the Mast General Store has seen a lot of of life — and death — since the 1870s, serving as an undertaker’s parlor, a bar and, in the 20th century, Efird’s department store and Lourie’s clothing store. Now Mast, with its lovely wood floors, is humming with locals and tourists enticed by its great clothing and shoe selections, delicious candies, jams and sauces and home furnishings.
Winston’s Gift Shop. Need a cute or quirky gift? You’re sure to find something special or unique for the graduate, mom or dad or the newly married at this charming gift shop that shares space with a florist on Old Cherokee Road in Lexington. The store sells the range from elegant Nora Fleming Cheese & Charcuterie boards to sets of whimsical butterfly or bunny magnets. And if you’re lucky, you might even get to meet Winston himself -- a sweet black pup the owners rescued from Pets Inc.
Mr. Bunky’s. Mr. Bunky’s Store is an old-time meat market, country store and restaurant along the highway to Sumter in Lower Richland. Folks stop in for the nostalgia as much as the fresh-ground sausage. A landmark along U.S. 378 since 1981, the proper address is 10441 Garners Ferry Road, Eastover.
Tasty treats. Need a break after shopping? Stop by one of the many new Columbia-area bakeries that have opened in the past couple of years. The Silver Spoon Bake Shop, in an old house on Devine Street near Five Points, offers a sumptuous display of pastries and desserts. (The proprieter went to French pastry school, after all.)
Circa 1332. Nothing gets us in the mood to shop on a Saturday morning like a Bloody Mary and a good lookin’ man. At Circa 1332 on Columbia’s Main Street, they “make it an experience,” offering customers a cold libation and a tasteful assist in putting clothes together – starting with nice-fitting jeans. The shop recently began offering its own private label for shirts and casual sport coats, too, manager D.R. Granger said.
Coplon’s. Coplon’s bills itself as the “luxury supplier of the achingly chic in the Carolinas” and its Forest Drive location, in the heart of Forest Acres, boosts haute couture from fashion stars such as Bruno Cucinelli, Michael Kors, Lela Rose, and Jason Wu. Don’t forget jewelry, cosmetics and shoes as you bask in the luxurious shopping atmosphere.
Bohemian Home Furniture. There’s something about those Ekornes Stressless chairs and sofas that make you want to drape yourself over the furnishings at Bohemian Home Furniture on Devine Street to admire the eclectic mix of furniture, rugs, lighting fixtures, accent pieces and art. Then you can amble over to Saluda Avenue in Five Points to try on some trendy clothes at Bohemian, the clothing store.
Gwen Rawls Shoes. Gwen Rawls fell in love with fine footwear in Italy and soon she brought that love to her native South Carolina with an Italian shoe boutique that could capture the heart of shoe-lovers everywhere. At Gwen Rawls Shoes, on Forest Drive in Trenholm Plaza, she’ll let you in on her favorite designers of shoes and purses. She also has a blog which you can find at www.gwenrawls.com.
Old Mill. Hearken back to another era with a stop at the Old Mill on East Main Street in Lexington. Within the exposed brick interior of this old cotton mill you can find shops, salons, spas, and antiques enough to occupy you for a rambling morning and afternoon. Then stop off for lunch at the Old Mill Brewpub or the Creekside restaurant. A 40-acre pond and spillway adds ambiance as you dine.
Flea markets. Prefer to plunder and haggle? Side-by-side, open air flea markets in Lexington County might be just the place to find a second-hand treasure. The U.S. #1 Metro Flea Market at 3500 Augusta Road and Barnyard Flea Market at 4414 Augusta Road are great places for weekend people-watching, too.
Peanut Man. Feel like a kid again when you bite into a candy apple or a Mary Jane from The Peanut Man. The store has grown from a cart set up in parking lots to three permanent locations in just five years. Find its delectable treats — from fudge to licorice — in Northeast Richland’s Village at Sandhill, on Lincoln Street in the Vista or on Dutch Fork Road in Ballentine.
Cromer’s P-nuts. This longtime Columbia gem bills itself as the “worst in town,” but here’s a secret: It’s got some of the best boiled peanuts and flavored popcorn you could ask for. Pick up a unique gift basket or try coffee or lunch at its newly added cafe on Huger Street, just off I-126.
Carolyn Click, Dawn Hinshaw, Kristy Eppley Rupon