Imagine a store that's World Market meets Wal-Mart with some Home Depot on the side.
That's Southeastern Salvage Home Emporium, and its grand opening is Saturday at 7505 Garners Ferry Road (the old Wal-Mart-turned-Sears).
The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based chain gets much of its inventory from closeouts and liquidations, so while some merchandise will be consistent - including unfinished cabinets ranging from $41 to $171 - other merchandise will be available only while it lasts and will not be replaced, store manager Mike Hicks said.
The store cuts prices on imports by cutting out the middleman, Hicks said. He said the store's president goes on buying trips to China and Italy among other countries to handpick some of the unique merchandise in the store instead of paying an importer to do it, Hicks said.
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The store's showroom takes up about 80,000 square feet. An additional 50,000 square feet is dedicated to storage, which means customers can pick out the items they want, pay for them and take them home all in the same day. The store does not deliver or install its products.
While customers will find a variety of home and patio decor (a $79 carved horse head bench; kid-themed, wooden step stools for $14.99; and framed prints starting at $5) the biggest focus is on flooring - all of which is going to be on sale during the grand opening.
The store has laminate and hardwood flooring, ceramic tile, granite and slate flooring and a variety of imported rugs. It does not carry carpet.
Most of the wood flooring is tavern grade, which is slightly thinner than typical wood flooring and could show more imperfections.
Prices range from $1.29 to $1.79 per square foot for most styles. Most of the laminate flooring runs from 89 cents to 99 cents per square foot.
"We're more geared for the value-conscious customer," Hicks said. He said many of the store's customers are do-it-yourselfers or small contractors.
The store also has a large selection of kitchen and bath items, from unfinished solid-wood cabinets to bathtubs to decorative range hoods.
The chain got its start 30 years ago in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Columbia store will be the chain's 10th and the first in South Carolina.
Hicks said the chain is able to grow even during a down economy because more customers are looking for lower prices.
"Hopefully, there will be others" in the state, Hicks said.
The new and the old in Forest Acres
Forest Acres is getting an infusion of furniture and home decor.
MACK Home will open Monday in Trenholm Plaza, selling handcrafted furniture, accessories, lighting, art and jewelry. The store is located between the Fresh Market and Stein Mart.
Two local designers Anna Kemper and Marnie Clayton have joined forces to offer their products and design services in one store. Kemper previously was principal of Biba Interiors and Clayton was head of M.C. Interiors and Forty-One.
The new store will be the exclusive retailer of Mitchell Gold Furniture in the Midlands. Some of the other products include metal wall hangings and velvet upholstery.
Heather Jenkins will manage the store. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Across the street, The Consignment Shop recently opened at 5210 North Trenholm Road, inside Webb Rawls Galleries. Owner Carol Fowles sells furniture, antiques, silver, china, rugs and other home decor on consignment. She does not accept clothing.
Fowles started the shop because she had a lot of stuff sitting around that she couldn't use anymore and figured there were others like her.
"I had given everything to my children that they wanted," she said.
She recently opened a "Christmas corner" to sell "all the Christmas stuff that's been sitting in your attic."
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
- Kick off the holiday season at Vista Lights from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday in downtown Columbia. On tap: entertainment, refreshments and plenty of shopping as more than 60 retailers and restaurants keep their doors open for the festivities. Info: vistacolumbia.com
- Craving a bagel in Irmo? Stop by the newly opened Bruegger's Bagels at 945 Lake Murray Blvd. The 1,400-square-foot store with free wi-fi can seat 26 on the inside. It also carries sandwiches, salads, soups, paninis and Green Mountain coffee (fair-trade certified), and it caters. This is the Burlington, Vt.-based chain's third store in the Columbia area.
- Get away and get your hair done. Runway, a new hair salon, opened last month in Lake Carolina's Town Center at 315 Long Pointe Lane. Owner Carmen Green offers hair care and products. She said she wanted to create a salon with a homey feel convenient for Northeast residents. The salon is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.