Iconic downtown Clemson building sold

Original Mr. Knickerbocker store will close its doors this month.

Mr. Knickerbocker building, 354 College Avenue, Clemson
Mr. Knickerbocker building is located at 354 College Avenue, Clemson

By Mike McMillan

The sale of one of downtown Clemson’s most iconic storefronts housing the original Mr. Knickerbocker store was finalized in late April, and on Wednesday, the store’s owners announced via Facebook that the location planned to close its doors permanently. Mr. Knickerbocker has several other locations throughout the Upstate that will remain open.

The property, at 354 College Ave., was sold to 354 Clemson LLC as an investment. The store, which has been the original location for Mr. Knickerbocker, was part of Clemson’s downtown for 45 years.

“We’ll be making a change,” David Spearman, president of Mr. Knickerbocker said earlier this week. “It’s all been a surprise for us.”

Details about the sale of the 5,175-square-foot property are still being hammered out. Laura Harmon, of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, handled the sale of the property on behalf of the buyers.

“It’s just such an iconic property,” she said. “It’s so unique — it’s just so hard to put a price on it.”

Harmon said the buyers plan to keep the property as is.

“Hands down, it was all about the nostalgia,” she said.

On Wednesday evening, the shop’s Facebook page posted news that it planned to close the original downtown location.

“It is with great difficulty we announce the closing of our downtown Clemson location,” the store’s 8 p.m. Facebook post said. “We will announce any new locations plans as soon as we finalize details. We have had the pleasure of serving so many amazing Clemson fans since 1973 at this location and we cherish all of our memories we have collected and our friendships we have made for a lifetime, for that has been our greatest pleasure and success. We love our Clemson customers and we hope to see you at our Hwy 123 location next to Publix in Clemson, our “Shops At Greenridge” location on Woodruff Road in Greenville and our sales outlet store in Central. …”

The shop will have a moving sale through may May 12, the post said, and concluded with, “Go Tigers from the family of James and Betty Spearman, the original Mr and Mrs Knickerbocker.”

The store opened in April 1973 by James and Betty Spearman as a men’s clothier. It expanded in 1974 to add Clemson memorabilia and clothing as the school’s football program rose to national prominence.

The shop expanded several times over its lifetime and has since opened three other locations — one on Tiger Boulevard, one in Greenville, and one in Central. The store offers all manner of Clemson-themed items for men, women, and children, and plenty of unique collectible items.



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