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Harbor Freight Tools to add Columbia location; Middleton brewery plan hits a speed bump

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Harbor Freight Tools

Harbor Freight Tools is the latest home retailer to find a home on Garners Ferry Road. Mike Fitts/Staff

COLUMBIA — Hardware retailer Harbor Freight Tools is working on its fourth location in the Columbia market, adding a store on Garners Ferry Road.

Work is underway at East Pointe Plaza shopping center to convert a former Save-A-Lot grocery location to a Harbor Freight store. No opening date has been announced, but the store is advertising that it is hiring staff.

Harbor Freight, a retailer focused on home repair, construction and automotive equipment, is looking to expand nationwide into new locations, according to the company website.

This location brings Harbor Freight Tools to the fast-growing corridor east of downtown. Its other current locations are at 577 St. Andrews Road, 8513 Two Notch Road and 814 Main St. in Lugoff.

East Pointe Plaza is anchored by Ollie's Bargain Outlet, Southeastern Salvage and Home Outlet, a home remodeling store. 

It also now is home to the recently opened Thrash the Smash Room, the third rage room in the Midlands, where customers can come destroy items as a way to relax.

Brewery hits a bump

Plans by a Columbia family of developers for a massive brewery in the historic building at 3452 N. Main St. were slowed a bit when the Columbia Planning Commission voted 5-3 on April 5 to defer action on their site plan until their next meeting.

The commission was being asked to approve changes to the streets around the brewery and an adjacent new office building that the Middleton family plans to use for offices for their medical businesses. 

A traffic study for the street and parking changes was not complete for the meeting, so the city staff recommended the delay.

Scott Middleton, representing the family, said he was surprised that the study was not complete and that no problems with traffic at the site were apparent.

"I'm a little upset about that," he said.

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The project's plan would close one side street and build parking around the perimeter on several sides. It also would include about 180 parking spaces that the brewery and offices would share at different times of the day.

The Middletons hope to use the former Stone Manufacturing plant to house a large brewery that will be a destination for the North Main area. 

Commercial real estate agent Jim Daniel of Catawba Properties said the closing of Phillips Street access as part of the plan could be a problem for another nearby company, Sox & Freeman tree service. 

The company uses the streets to get its large trucks in an out of its nearby facility, which will become more difficult if the street is closed, he said.

After the vote Greg Middleton, one of the co-owners of the new brewery, expressed confidence that the project will be approved promptly.

"We are confident the project will move forward with community support, and we will continue working with the City of Columbia and all stakeholders, as we have from the very beginning," Greg Middleton said in a statement. "We are excited to bring this landmark development to a community that has not seen significant community-building development in years."

The next commission meeting is May 3. 

New Northeast apartments

A project to bring 288 apartments to Northeast Richland was approved by the Planning Commission at its April 5 meeting.

The project, called Colonial Creek apartments, will consist of 12 buildings and a clubhouse at 300 Clemson Road, not far from the intersection of Spears Creek Church Road and Interstate 20. It is within Columbia city limits and will connect to its water and sewer system.

The complex is a project of Fitch Irick Partners of Charlotte.

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Have any Midlands business news to share in the column? Reach Mike Fitts at mfitts@postandcourier.com

Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mikefittsat140

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