I have customers who’ve been with me since the first day I opened, and a lot of people have been shopping here for 35 years. One day I was talking to a young woman, who was very professional and business-like, and I asked where she was from. She said she lived in Chicago – and this gives me chills – she said, “I never feel like I’m home until I come to Portfolio.” And I’ve had a lot of people tell me that, that they feel like they’re at home here. It’s very touching.
Five Points has roots – it’s old timey and up to date at the same time.
I’ve lived in Columbia since 1971; a long time. We moved to the Wales Garden neighborhood in 1979, and I started Portfolio Art Gallery – a nationally recognized, specialty visual art, gift and jewelry shop – in 1980. We moved here because we liked the shopping village area, and I can walk to work – I do all the time!
I opened in the little Devine Street-facing space for 17 years before we made the shop bigger, expanding into the Saluda Avenue side, which used to be a liquor store. We cut a hole in the wall, and the liquor was still there. You can still see where people lined up to buy their liquor by the wear on the floor.