Piecewise Coffee expands in Cayce, announces 2nd location in Columbia

Posted 1/12/24

More moves on the Lexington County coffee shop scene.

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Piecewise Coffee expands in Cayce, announces 2nd location in Columbia


More moves on the Lexington County coffee shop scene.

Piecewise Coffee Company, Cayce’s resident independent caffeine parlor, has purchased Blūm Coffee and is set to open its second location in Blūm’s former space at 2824 Devine St. in Columbia’s Shandon neighborhood.

Since opening her Columbia coffee shop at the age of 23 in 2018, Fran Knudsen has moved to Charleston and opened a second Blūm down there. Now, she’s sold the Columbia shop to Zach and Jacob Kirby, the twin brothers who bought Piecewise in 2022. The Cayce coffee shop initially opened on State Street in Cayce’s River Arts District in 2019.

The new Piecewise location is set to open on Jan. 22.

Zach Kirby told the Chronicle that proximity to the University of South Carolina should be big for Piecewise in its new location, as students who live on the other side of the Congaree River are already a big part of their clientele in Cayce. 

Beyond that, the Shandon area feels like home to the brothers, whose family has been in the Columbia area for more than 100 years.

“My grandparents went to Dreher High School, my great-grandfather was a pharmacist in Five Points back in the ’40s and ’50s,” he said. “So we've always had a kind of a special place for Devine Street and for Shandon and for Columbia in general.”

Kirby said the Columbia location will feature the same menu as Cayce, with a mix of regular and seasonal coffee and espresso options (made with beans from Greenville-based roaster Methodical). The next couple weeks will be spent training the staff on Piecewise’s drinks and repainting the Devine Street space to match Piecewise’s aesthetic. 

But beyond shifting from the green-heavy look of the current space, Kirby said the transition should be pretty easy, as the vibe of Blūm and Piecewise is pretty similar.

He said he never saw Blūm or any of the other independently owned shops in Columbia’s burgeoning coffee scene as competition, saying that he frequently keeps in touch with other owners in the area about how they’re doing. They’re not the enemy, he explained, putting a clear circle around who actually is.

“I'm not trying to put Blūm out of business,” Kirby said. “I'm trying to put Starbucks out of business.”

The opening of the brothers’ second shop adds to an already busy January for Piecewise.

Just this week, the Cayce location completed an expansion of its nextdoor auxiliary seating area and meeting space, the Mailroom, taking over The Studio Square, a photography studio that was located between the Mailroom and Piecewise’s main coffee shop space until it closed in October.

Kirby spoke with enthusiasm about the natural light that now streams into the Mailroom from its large windows along State Street. And the extra seating has been needed, he said, explaining that since he and his brother bought the shop in September 2022, revenue has grown by almost 30 percent.

“Our tagline is that we're a community space that happens to sell coffee,” he said. “We want to be a safe place for students and for the neighborhood to come and hang out and just do life together. And that means we need more seats, so people can sit and talk and catch up.”

Piecewise’s recent moves continue a string of coffee-related activity in and around Lexington County. 

West Columbia’s Brickhouse Gourmet Coffee & Tea Co. recently purchased longstanding Five Points coffee shop Drip, while Chapin’s Bart’s Crazy Good Coffee Shop took over the spot previously occupied by Irmo’s Tribal Coffee Co. to establish its second location last summer.

In the Town of Lexington, the Studio B salon closed its brick-and-mortar location in the Old Mill at the end of October, with the same owners set to replace it with The Tent Coffee Shop, a sign for which has already been hung.

Also in October, drive-through chain Clutch Coffee joined a growing array of coffee options in the town when it opened along Columbia Avenue, joining fellow drive-through chain Biggby Coffee, which opened on the other side of town along South Lake Drive earlier in 2023.

piecewise coffee company, lexington county business, columbia dining, devine street, shandon neighborhood


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