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Landmark Main Street building to be demolished

Main Street business reopens on Bush River road

For 60 years House of Fabrics has been in downtown Columbia, now the fabric store known statewide in the theater and dance communities has a new home
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For 60 years House of Fabrics has been in downtown Columbia, now the fabric store known statewide in the theater and dance communities has a new home

The House of Fabrics building, which has been a fixture at 1312 Main St. in Columbia since shortly after the Civil War, is being prepared for demolition.

House of Fabrics, which operated in the building for 60 years, relocated to 652 Bush River Road in November 2017. Juanita’s Design, which also was in the building, relocated a block away to Washington Street .

Matt Kennell, president and CEO of City Center Partnership, which encourages and guides investment in the central business district, said the owners, the Willoughby family, plan to rebuild, “but I don’t know what” will go there.

Kennell said he would like to see retail, a restaurant or a grocery, “something that would generate street level activity.”

The owners could not be reached for comment.

John Sherrer, director of cultural resources for Historic Columbia, said that the building could have told a story of Main Street through the years, as it had undergone many iterations and styles.

“But that building was unfortunately physically compromised,” he said. “It was in pretty bad shape, and had been for some time.”

The building has been deemed unsafe.

Lou and Hazel Kaplan opened House of Fabrics — known then as Chez Fabrique — in 1957 at 1709 Main St. in downtown Columbia, which is now the site of the Richland County Courthouse. Kaplan moved the business to 1312 Main St. after he purchased the building, where House of Fabrics remained from 1982 until 2017.

The store is now owned by Lori Brown, the Kaplans’ granddaughter.

Jeff Wilkinson has worked for The State for both too long and not long enough. He’s covered politics, city government, history, business, the military, marijuana and the Iraq War. Jeff knows the weird, wonderful and untold secrets of South Carolina. Buy him a shot and he’ll tell you all about them.

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