A pancake restaurant, a music school and superstore and a professional floor-covering center are among the newest businesses to open in Columbia County in recent weeks.
On Nov. 1, the long-awaited Evans IHOP opened adjacent to Kroger at Washington Road and Ronald Reagan Drive. Dr. Judy Downie, co-owner with her husband W.G. Downie, said she was proud to see the restaurant's doors open.
"It's like an answer to our prayers," she said. "We've worked a very long time to get it opened."
The couple, who also own the National Hills IHOP, have had customers from Columbia County beg them to open a restaurant in Evans for many years, she said.
On Oct. 19, Portman's Music Superstore completed its relocation from Gordon Highway in Augusta to Columbia Square in Martinez.
In addition to selling thousands of instruments ranging from brass and woodwind to guitars and drum sets, Portman's is also the home of the Southeastern Music Academy, where professional musicians offer lessons for children and adults in nearly all instruments sold by the store.
"We work with schools, and a lot of them are out this way," owner Jerry Portman said. This new location "is more centrally located for Columbia County and Richmond County, and Aiken County isn't that far away."
Portman's also repairs instruments and accepts instruments in trade toward the purchase of new equipment.
Also in October, ProSource Flooring opened the first location in the Augusta area on Industrial Park Drive in Evans.
ProSource is a membership-based flooring retailer that targets its business toward builders and designers, said Jim Cox, the vice president of ProSource of Augusta.
The 7,000-square-foot showroom is open for members with key cards, Cox said. Designers and builders with the cards can shop the showroom 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said.
"You can find anything that goes on the floor," Cox said. The showroom holds about 25,000 flooring items.
A FedEx-Kinko's store will open soon in the Mullins Crossing shopping center on Washington Road as will Yosko Japanese Steakhouse, in the former Castaway's near Publix.
In Martinez, O'Reilly Auto Parts will open soon in the former Eckerd Drug Store at the intersection of Bobby Jones Expressway and Washington Road.
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