1601 Main Street
Site of Lourie's Department Store
What became one of Columbia's most successful high-end clothing retailers started in St. George, South Carolina when immigrants Louis Lourie and wife, Annie Friedman Lourie, founded a junior department store in 1912. After attending college in Columbia, their sons, Sol and Mick, established Lourie's Department Store at 1431 Main Street in 1948. The brothers endeared themselves to Columbia's African American community soon thereafter. In 1949, Lourie's was the only store willing to rent tuxedos to 50 male Allen University students serving as ushers during a performance of famed black soprano Marian Anderson at the Township Auditorium. One year later, the store moved to 1437 Main Street.
Lourie's expanded in 1960, adding a women's department, alteration shop and fur salon, following the purchase and dramatic modernization of the three-story Efird building at 1601 Main Street that involved enclosing windows, covering the brick exterior and installing a large company sign on two elevations . Additional stores in Dutch Square, Columbia Mall, Trenholm Plaza, and Columbiana Mall opened between 1970 and 1990 and were managed by the third generation of the Lourie family. The flagship store at 1601 Main Street closed in 2009.
This property’s rehabilitation in 2011 marked another chapter in Main Street’s revitalization. Through sensitive restoration of key features, Mast General Store re-established the essence of the building’s early 20th-century appearance as Efird’s department store. Notable aspects of the work included awning and window restoration--facets of the structure that were modified during the property’s time as Lourie’s. Inside, restoration work revealed the building’s original pressed-tin ceilings and wood floors, which were integrated into the décor of both Mast’s store and the Lofts at Lourie’s, apartments that occupy the building's second and third stories.