When 27-year-old Taylor Stocker graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in fashion and retail management, she approached her mother, Judy Miller, about opening an upscale boutique in Columbia.
Miller jumped at the suggestion and the pair opened Monkee’s of Columbia, a franchisee of the North Carolina-based company, on Devine Street in February 2014. Since, the shop has been a popular spot for local women looking to buy designer clothes, shoes and accessories in a boutique environment.
Today, Stocker and Miller not only share the joy of managing the shop together but of experiencing life with Stocker’s 1-year-old twin sons, Deacon and Maveryck.
Taylor: My favorite restaurant is Takosushi because it is like no other and delicious. You have the choice between eating sushi – which is always my pick – or tacos. When I am in need of a pasta night there is no better place than Villa Tronco. Authentic Italian and the sweetest family you will know by name – not to mention the best cheesecake made in house you will ever have.
Judy: Devine Street is full of wonderful restaurants, and our favorites include II Giorgione, Devine Foods and Mediterranean Tea Room. On the weekends, we prefer to stay in or near (our home in) Irmo. Our “go-to” favorite restaurant is Alodia’s. It’s an excellent mix of great Italian food, family atmosphere and good friends.
Taylor: It is a treat stopping by The Oak Table before a show starts for a couple of drinks. This sophisticated restaurant overlooks the State House, has a terrific bar and a really cool atmosphere.
Judy: We enjoy the Palmetto Club for its wine tastings and food pairings and catching up with friends. My husband is really into craft beer, and one of our favorite new places is Craft and Draft on Devine.
Taylor: My husband and I have been new parents for the past year. Our “hot spots” continuously alter slightly as the boys grow and get older. Our absolute favorite place to go is the Riverbanks Zoo. The boys love being outdoors so there is no better place. It is a location the entire family, regardless of age, can enjoy.
Judy: One of my favorite weekend activities is to take a ride around Columbia on my husband’s Harley. It’s a great way to relax, unwind and see Columbia in a different light. We try to stay close to Irmo on the weekends, but we enjoy Lake Murray (and) watching and cheering the Gamecocks.
Taylor: When I do get the opportunity to take a parents night out, there are two spots I am typically back and forth between: Colonial Life Arena and Township Auditorium, which is my husband’s favorite.
Judy: We love shows and plays, especially at the smaller venues. At Town Theatre it’s not unusual to spot friends from college and high school on stage. We also enjoy the quaint, unique atmosphere of Trustus Theatre. For national shows we love the Township.
Taylor: My family really loves that we now have a minor league baseball team, the Columbia Fireflies. Spirit Communications Park is beautiful, open and even has a children’s play area. It is fun to take the boys to an afternoon game and watch from our blanket on the grass hill seating.
Judy: In addition to unwinding in our own back yard with family and friends, we love to explore the markets around Columbia. Some of our favorites include the Saturday Irmo Farmers Market and the downtown Soda City Market. For a different experience, we enjoy visiting the Columbia Museum of Art. It’s a great getaway to view incredibly interesting art in a very quiet, serene environment.