It’s been over 30 years ago when I first visited what used to be known as the Richland Fashion Mall in Columbia, SC. I will never forget my first ride on an escalator was there. Years later, when moving out on my own, I remember walking to the mall to purchase inexpensive clothing at the Crate store. There were other stores I enjoyed shopping at such as Parisians, Belk, Dillard’s, and Express. I also enjoyed going to Barnes & Noble just to sit and relax reading magazines.  I remember the food court was booming with different restaurants and there was also a little play area for kids. At the front entrance of the mall, there was a restaurant attached to it called TGI Fridays. They had some of the greatest wings. Another spot to eat for a good buffet was the S&S cafeteria. Oh my gosh, I cannot forget the rooftop movie theater. I remember celebrating one of my kids’ first birthday party at a place called Gymboree. He is now fourteen years old. 

It wasn’t very reassuring to see the stores slowly shut down. At some point, restrooms were no longer available. Sections of the mall closed off. The building started to deteriorate. Belk was the last clothing store in the mall. Barnes and Noble are the last to remain now until they move to their new location (which will be the first part of 2024).  

The thought of them knocking it down breaks my heart but I’m excited about what could come next. As a child, I remember riding with my parents while passing buildings and stores in my hometown they would say, “This used to be such and such” or “This used to be that“. It’s hard to believe now I find myself doing the same thing with my children. Stores and places don’t last for so many different reasons. Shopping is being done online more than anything. 

Photo Credits: Jabari Wade and Melissa Wade

As we close out 2023 and enter 2024, it’s time for something new. In life, situations will come about good or bad that we have no control over. We must embrace it and look forward to the best that will come about. It will be sad to see the process of them tearing the old mall down but I’m excited to drive by and see something new and beautiful!