What was once a liquor store called That Place Party Shop, has transformed over the last 40 years into a booming three department business. From gummy bears and fine wines to cooking supplies and an extensive brunch menu, what is now called it includes a café, retail shop and wine store. The original owner Dennis Hiltner began expanding the business in the 1970s after customers started asking for sandwiches. Today The Gourmet Shop employs approximately 45 people and is one of the largest businesses in Columbia’s Five Points Community.
In February 2019, after spending years working first for South Carolina’s governor’s office and then for The Five Points Association, Amy Beth Franks announced her purchase of The Gourmet Shop. Despite never dreaming she would be a restaurant owner, Franks said, “I knew I worked too hard to work for anyone but myself.”
A staple in the Five Points community, The Gourmet Shop remained true to the original they have only made small changes over the years, developing and expanding to fit the needs of its customers. With the support of former owners Dennis and Linda Hiltner, Franks is aiming to keep that tradition alive.“We try to be as much as we can for as many people but it’s the same Gourmet Shop it has always been despite a change in ownership” said Franks.
Open seven days a week the café portion of The Gourmet Shop caters to a variety of customers. “We have elected officials and college students eating side by side” said Franks. While she herself enjoys the waffles, the chicken salad and the CPA are among some of The Gourmet Shop’s most popular café menu items.
The retail shop portion of the business has everything from candies and artisanal cheeses to chandeliers made out of spoons for sale. The store’s aesthetic is visually pleasing and a wonderland for children and adults alike. Many customers come in seeking items and ingredients used in the café. According to the owner the preserves are a fan favorite .
Just a few paces right after entering the store, customers find themselves in a wine lovers’ paradise, with over 1,000 different wines to choose from. Aside from the impressive beverage selection, the store boasts the only walk in cigar humidor in the entire city. Between wine tasting classes and event catering. The Gourmet Shop has more than you could imagine.
Striving to make sure their customers receive the very best, it is no surprise that The Gourmet Shop has a lot of community support.
Why may customers choose to visit this business versus others? Employee Will Emery said, “People choose to come here over other places because it is a small business that has changed so little over the years.”
A classic business with big goals and the familiar comfort of home. The Gourmet Shop is a must stop destination for tourists and locals alike. Amy Beth Franks is sure to grow the business while keeping it true to its roots.
“We are going to stay true to the brand and the character,” said Franks, “I hope people will come and see it for themselves if they don’t believe it.”