Updates at the Village at Sandhill

COLUMBIA, S.C. — With the recent closing of businesses in the Village at Sandhill area, many are wondering what the future of shops in this area might look like.
“By most metrics, I think it is our fasting growing submarket in the greater Columbia MSA,” Bobby Balboni said. 

Balboni, the senior broker at NAI Columbia, one of the developers for the Village at Sandhill, says the company is working to bring new businesses to the area. 

“We want a healthy balance of good local businesses. Having more vacancy three of four years ago opened the door for smaller businesses to get their foot in the door out there at a lower price point where they can be successful. But then, you want to mix it in with the names that everyone’s excited about,” Balboni said. 

Developers of the area say hair studios, indoor playgrounds for children and restaurants are some of the many businesses coming to the area. 

“Our occupancy rate is about 15% up from what it was two or three years ago. so we’re on the right track. We want to get to 100%. We’re not quite there, but making a lot of progress,” Balboni said. 

Despite higher occupancy rates, there have been businesses who have left the area. 

“Bankruptcy at a national level, that got accelerated three or four years ago, so you have a lot of vacancy come at once. Because of that. And a lot of times, it was out of our hands as owners or leasing agents. They had a quoted cut 150 of stores nationally and there was no way to restructure the rent or restructure their lease to make them stay,” Balboni said. 

Business owners say the area benefits their business. 

“They’re bringing other people. For example, someone’s going to Reeds Jewelers right next door to us. Well the person that’s with them, ‘hey, I didn’t know there was a wig store let me go see do you have toppers, do you have this to lace front or different things’ so they just, you know, buy them bringing their guests. They’re able to see our sign and see what we have and that’s my opportunity to say hey this is what we do.”  Leslie Simpkins, owner of National Wigs, said. 

Simpkins moved to the Village at Sandhill area a year ago, she says more people are starting to move in.

“There’s business coming around, there’s actually a salon suite, that’s coming. There is another store, right beside us that’s coming, and it’s one across the street that’s coming. So it’s starting to grow, it’s starting to pick up,” Simpkins said. 

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(Article courtesy of WLTX