In spite of having their grand opening two weeks before COVID-19 hit, The Factory at Columbia has survived and thrived because of its sophisticated but funky vibe. The 71,000 square foot former factory now houses a collection of locally owned businesses, craftspeople, a chiropractor, and a yoga studio.
Owner Darrell Lynn bought the space originally as a warehouse for his imported European antiques business, but he received so many calls from people wanting to rent space, according to a News Channel 5 story, that he decided to turn it into a “hip” little mall filled with antiques, uncommon restaurants, and other small businesses that make up a one-of-a kind shopping experience.
The building was built in 1951 and became the Publix — not to be confused with the grocery store chain – shirt factory in 1958, and then when the shirt factory went out of business in the 1980s, it became a cardboard manufacturing facility. It had been vacant for a number of years when Lynn bought it.
Lynn has chosen his tenants carefully, wishing to develop an eclectic makers’ market feeling, which he has done well. The building has a cool vibe and has become the hangout of many transplants from California, New York and Chicago.
A significant part of the building is taken up by The Columbia Antique Marketplace. They have 8,000 square feet of the building filled with everything from artisanal crafts to fine furniture from the past. Anyone looking for uncommon clothing, statement home goods, or period antiques to make their home distinctive will find it in one of their vendor booths. Those looking for a special chair are sure to find what they are looking for on their chair wall filled with pieces from both today and yesterday. It will be hard to walk away without something, like a wonderful vintage quilt or holiday table cloth.
On the main floor sits Lynn’s own high-end antiques store, Vintique.com; as well as Fork of the South, a southern inspired general store filled with goods from 85 makers and artisans; Leather Books.com, the largest supplier of leather bound books to interior designers in the country; Mountain Ash Home, which specializes in custom-made household decor and gifts including wooden signs, rustic furniture, and unique jewelry; Poiema Studio Gallery showcasing fine arts that feature beautiful landscapes; Southern Polished, where the Potter family creates fine leather sandals inspired by their trips to Italy, and Wear it Well Consignment, a boutique resale shop specializing in gently loved high-end styles – from vintage Valentino to trendy Old Navy — at an accessible price point. Soon to be a part of the family, Dwell Boutique, which will be offering 7,800 square feet of luxury home furnishings.
There are also some great places to get a bite to eat or something to drink. Restaurants and cafes include, B’s Goodalicious Coffee, B’s Salty and Sweet, Loco Lemon, Nashville Tea Company, Circle and Stars Pizza and Asylum Tacos and Cantina. Each of these locations offers artisanal food, baked goods, and/or refreshing drinks. The Local Lemon was started by a 15-year-old entrepreneur.
Events take place in the space frequently, including music on Saturdays and a number of vendor fairs including A Very Maury Christmas, a Bridal Show, and Christmas in July. The central courtyard is also available to rent for private events.
Keeping the industrial feel of the old factory, Lynn converted it into its present-day grandeur using many of the original features, like the steel windows and doors, as well as the floors, lots of piping in the ceiling, and brick walls. All additions to the architecture have played well to the original structure.
Only a few minutes from downtown Columbia, The Factory in Columbia just adds to the growing artisanal retail and food culture that is developing in the city.
The Factory at Columbia
101 North James Campbell Boulevard
Hours: Each Store Has Individual Hours