Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why can't we have one of these?

I've thought for a few years that a Mast General Store would be an awesome addition to downtown Raleigh, but thought that the city is A) a little too far east for the store, and B) a little too urban.

Well, that apparently hasn't stopped Columbia from getting one.

The new Mast General Store in Columbia has opened, a move city officials hope will help revitalize downtown.

Mayor Steve Benjamin and other officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning. The building will be in a renovated building at the corner of Main and Taylor streets.

Mast General locations evoke the look of a old-time general store, selling barrels of candies, food, clothes, and outdoor gears.

The North Carolina based company has locations across the country, including Greenville, but the Columbia store will be the largest. The new store will be 17,000 square feet with 25 employees, all from the Columbia area.

Columbia city leaders hope Mast General will help revitalize Main Street and attract even more businesses to the area. Mast General considered Columbia 12 years ago, but didn't think Main Street was ready for the store.

3 comments:

Melissa T said...

Thanks Matt. I am headed there this weekend and will be staying right around the corner. Mom will be excited to go too!

Allen Thomas said...

Having spent 3 years in Cola only (left 2 years ago after law school), this seems very strange to me. Main street is essentially Fayetteville street w/o bars or restaurants. All the bars/restaurants are in "the vista." The distance between the two is similar to the distance between Fayetteville St. and Glenwood area. Other than a few lunch spots and a Sheraton, there is nothing on Main street.

However, I do agree this would be a nice addition to dt Raleigh as a tourist attraction and place to get good outdoor gear.

Sarah W said...

One reason they may not have ventured this way is that there are already two very popular outdoor equipment providers in Raleigh –REI (national store) and the locally owned Great Outdoor Provision Co. Tom Valone (owner of GOPC) and Tom Cooper (owner of Mast) run very similar local outdoor businesses. Mast does have a "general store" approach that GOPC does not, but it is hard to see those types of goods selling when not in a mountain tourist area. Their main market would be outdoor equipment and that niche seems to be met already. Here is a great article about the owner of Great Outdoor Provision Co. and his business philosophy: http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/01/30/955539/great-outdoors-provides-his-means.html