Columbia Antique Mall owner Conrad Powell sits at the front desk of one of the store’s two warehouses. He says most of the items in the store were bought from estate sales all over the country. R. Darren Price/The Carolina Reporter
Oil cans sitting on a shelf at the Columbia Antique Mall. Customers have been able to buy everything from small items like these to large furniture at the store’s Harden Street location for more than 30 years. R. Darren Price / The Carolina Reporter
By Hank DeHart Edited by R. Darren Price Posted Feb. 24, 2010
Few retailers, even in the antique industry, offer the variety of the Columbia Antique Mall.
The store's two warehouse-style showrooms at 602 Huger St. may not look like much to passing motorists, but they are packed with classic collectibles and high-end nostalgia.
"We have real antiques. A lot of antique malls have gotten away from antiques," owner Conrad Powell said. "We try to have things others might not have, so there's something for everyone."
From gas-station signs five feet in diameter, to shelves packed with records, to a period French desk and other ornate furniture, the shop appeals to a wide variety of tastes.
"If you collect whatever it is that you collect, we'll probably have some of it," Powell said.
Powell finds the items in his store from a variety of sources, but said some of his buying practices are a trade secret. He said the store was buying from all over the country and in Europe, but has had to discontinue the latter due to the value of the dollar.
"I like it, I really like it," patron Sheila Mellette of Gaston said. "We just like old antique stuff, period."
Mellette made the 20-minute trip from Gaston to look for glass doorknobs and an antique mirror for her home.
"I just like decorating with old stuff," she said.
The Columbia Antique Mall has been at the corner of Huger and Blossom Streets for 30 years.