Business Columns & Blogs

December 28, 2012

Retail’s year in review plus a look at what’s coming

Columbia got some cool stores this year with a promise of more on the way in 2013. Here’s a look back – and ahead:

Columbia got some cool stores this year with a promise of more on the way in 2013. Here’s a look back – and ahead:

Downtown and beyond

The biggest retail story of 2012 was not just the new Whole Foods that finally came to Columbia, but the retail corridor that is emerging along with it.

Edens development company gets props for a new in-town shopping corridor that is bringing cool new national chains, such as Café Caturra, but also unique boutiques like Gwen Rawls Italian shoes and Nadeau furniture.

The corridor stretches roughly four miles between Trenholm Plaza and the Shoppes at Woodhill and is flanked by the gates of Fort Jackson. The centerpiece, on Devine Street near Fort Jackson Boulevard, is the new Cross Hill Market, anchored by Whole Foods, a grocery store with a cult-like following that features organic and other healthy fare. Its arrival was nearly a decade in the making.

The whole stretch is poised for more growth in 2013, with the first Smashburger in South Carolina that recently opened nearby, negotiations underway for property across the street at a former Burger King and Kmart moving out of its nearby location after its 50-year lease expired, opening space for new retailers. Trader Joe’s, another popular grocer, also will open in the coming months on Forest Drive.

Closer to Main Street, growth continued with a smattering of new stores. The Oak Table opened across from the State House and Cola’s restaurant opened nearby. The second generation of longtime Main Street menswear store Granger Owings opened Circa 1332 to appeal to the more casual side. And Something Special florist moved from its longtime Irmo location to Main Street amid the growth there.

The street is poised for a major growth spurt again next year as Agape Senior moves its corporate offices downtown, taking up a significant chunk of buildings. The senior healthcare provider also plans to open a vegan café, a 24-hour public fitness center, a pharmacy and other enterprises. Work also is expected to get under way on a private dorm project in the long empty Palmetto Center, which also should pump new life onto the street in the form of hundreds of college students.


The Harbison area saw several stores open in 2012, including Sephora, a popular cosmetics store, in Columbiana Centre. Forever 21, which opened the previous year in the mall, also expanded there this year.

And work finally got under way on a new shopping center on Harbison Boulevard that is poised to attract the state’s first DSW, or Designer Shoe Warehouse. Efforts to reach the retailer to find out when it will open have been unsuccessful. But the good news is that the buildings for the new shopping center – which also is supposed to have HomeGoods and Ulta – are beginning to rise.

Northeast Richland

Northeast Richland got the area’s first HomeGoods this year in the Village at Sandhill, as well as a Sephora in the JC Penney store there. The shopping center has room for growth in the coming year.

Dick’s Sporting Goods also expanded to Two Notch Road in Northeast Richland as the economy showed signs of improvement.

Also look at Killian’s Crossing – a few miles from Village at Sandhill – in the coming year for possible growth. Developers have started preparing roads and utility lines to attract retailers and home builders to what is planned as a mega-development in an area burgeoning with new car dealerships.

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