FOREST ACRES, S.C. — The City of Forest Acres is booming with new businesses. The city has become a boom town of sorts for dining and specialty retailers in the past few months.
With all of the comings -- and a closing or two -- here is a roundup of what's recently opened and what's opening soon:
Zoe’s at 4855 Forest Drive is closing and will reopen as CAVA, a fast-casual restaurant specializing in Mediterranean cuisine. The CAVA company bought Zoe's and is slowly converting restaurants in the chain. CAVA's menu items include build-your-own salads, bowls, pitas, and RightRice (a high protein, high fiber grain made of 90% vegetables) dishes. Meat choices include lamb, chicken, and beef, and vegetarian options include falafel and roasted vegetables.
The venerable Trenholm Plaza is getting HomeGoods and Sephora stores in the former Stein Mart location. That space was divided into three retail areas. After HomeGoods, a sister company to T.J. Maxx and Marshalls specializing in home furnishings, kitchenware, and accessories; and Sephora, a store offering skincare and beauty products, are established, a third retail space will be available for lease.
Legacy Martial Arts has opened a studio in Forest Park (Lowes Foods shopping center) at 4711 Forest Drive. This will be the fifth location in the Midlands area for the family-oriented martial arts studio. Classes begin at age 4 through adulthood.
Next door to Legacy is Waxing the City studio. Remove unwanted hair and get bikini-ready with one of the licensed estheticians.
Crumbl Cookies is opening a second Midlands location in Cardinal Crossing. The national chain cookie shop features a rotating menu of 4 to 5 different specialty flavors each week – think chocolate chip, raspberry cheesecake, lemon poppy seed, and caramel popcorn, for example.
Also in Cardinal Crossing, Ice Box Cryotherapy has opened. Ice Box specializes in whole body cryotherapy (exposure of the body to ultra-low temperatures, ranging from -200 degrees to -256 degrees Fahrenheit for three minutes) to reduce inflammation, improve circulation and relieve pain. Ice Box also offers compression therapy, red light therapy, and facial treatments. Thinking of multiple treatments? Memberships are available.
Molto Vino is a self-serve wine bar that occasionally hosts special dinners, classes, and events. The location in Cardinal Crossing is the second in the Columbia area.
Poogan’s Southern Kitchen has scheduled its grand opening for Monday, August 22, facing Forest Drive in Cardinal Crossing. The first Columbia location from the popular Charleston-based restaurant group will feature an outdoor dining space, a full bar, a state-of-the-art kitchen, and a private dining room for events. Poogan’s will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner – to-go and delivery will be available for brunch and dinner. The menu includes items such as chicken & waffles, shrimp & grits, pimento cheese fritters, and Poogan’s biscuit pot pie.
Duck Duck Goose, a children’s clothing store is opening next door to Be Beep A Toy Shop at 4525 Forest Dr.
Kudzu Bakery & Market has completed its expansion into a second storefront at 4600 Forest Drive and now sells an array of kitchen items in addition to freshly baked bread, pies and cookies, and freshly made sandwiches.
Finally, Lexington Medical Center has bought 5133 and 5143 Forest Drive. The hospital system plans to open a family practice and OB/GYN office. The two-story, 20,000-square-foot facility should open by end of 2023.
The ongoing interest is showing Forest Acres to be a desirable spot for retailers and the city is a one-stop destination for many shoppers. The city is also the only Midlands location for Trader Joe's grocery.
"Forest Acres continues to evolve, and quality of life remains a top priority for our city council," Mayor Frank Brunson said. "We were fortunate that our commitment to providing premier shopping and dining, clean and safe streets, and destination parks along tree-lined streets all resonated with home buyers in the recent real estate market."
One question that remains is the future of Richland Mall. Once the home of upscale fashion stores Bonwit Teller and Parisian, the two-story mall at the intersection of Forest Drive and Beltline Boulevard has been mostly vacant for the past 15 years. Belk and Barnes & Noble remain.
"While we are still early in the process of our goal to redevelop the Richland Mall, we can say we remain very hopeful," Brunson said of the mall. "The property owners are still under contract with a developer that has a proven track record. That developer is currently in the due diligence phase of the contract."
He added that there are still "a lot of pieces to this redevelopment puzzle" that will still need to fall into place.
"It is a project that city council counts among its chief priorities," the mayor added. "Seeing the property repurposed with quality and sustainable development is important to the citizens of Forest Acres and our greater region at large."