Groucho’s, yoga studio in Batesburg-Leesville hope to create space for community

Posted 1/23/24

An outpost of the popular Columbia chain Groucho’s Deli and Freedom Yoga & Wellness opened in early January.

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Groucho’s, yoga studio in Batesburg-Leesville hope to create space for community


The new year comes with new beginnings in Batesburg-Leesville, as two businesses have opened their doors. 

An outpost of the popular Columbia chain Groucho’s Deli, located at 139 N Oak St., and Freedom Yoga & Wellness, located at 112 Main St., opened in early January.

“We’ve all spent a decent amount of time in Batesburg and we thought it was time that we add another location for people to enjoy good food and good company,” said Perry Specht, co-owner of the new Groucho’s.

Specht is just one of six owners of Groucho’s Deli in Batesburg, along with Courtney Miller, Brandon Howard, Martez Johnson Ashley Manely and her husband Michael, who have been working in the Lexington Groucho's location for more than a decade each. 

“There's a bunch of us that have worked in the Lexington deli for over a decade together and we had always talked about wanting to open up a store,” Michael told the Chronicle. “We’re doing what we’ve always wanted to do.”

“We've kind of just grown up in the deli,” he added.

The deli is known for its iconic Dipper sandwiches and Formula 45 sauce; the first deli opened in Columbia’s University of South Carolina-adjacent Five Points neighborhood opened in 1941. 

The business has kept expanding since, with Groucho's website listing 29 existing locations, most of which are in South Carolina. There are also three locations in North Carolina and one in Georgia. 

“We want to provide a place for people to come and be comfortable,” said Ashley. “We want to become a part of the tradition of Batesburg-Leesville.”

The ownership team was enthusiastic and busy on opening day, excited to get to know the community more.

“When people get to know us, we get to know them,” said Perry, another owner. “We feel like it creates more of a relationship overall within the Batesburg community and then if we’re lucky, we’ll get to see the community grow with us.” 

New business owners aren't the only ones happy to see booming business. Ted Luckadoo, town administrator is excited to have more business coming into the town.

“The new businesses are creating a different vibe for that area and once we can get our infrastructure improvements done in addition, folks are going to see a different Historic Downtown Batesburg Business District than what we've seen over the past number of years,” Luckadoo told the Chronicle.

Not even five minutes away, Freedom Yoga’s grand opening was met with a roaring crowd ready and eager to learn. 

“The diversity of people who came out, it's been amazing,” Josh Carpenter Costner, co-owner of Freedom Yoga, told the Chronicle. “It was men, women, and every orientation, race and age group. It's been amazing to see.” 

The studio is owned by Josh and his husband Evan Costner. The couple moved to Batesburg-Leesville in 2017 when they took over as owners of Cotton Branch Animal Sanctuary, a nonprofit sanctuary for pigs that opened in 2004.

“We moved here from Charlotte which was fun, but I grew up in Savannah mostly,” Josh told the Chronicle. “We came down here and we didn't realize how amazing this community was, and we got involved very deeply.”

The Costners are previous owners of Homeland Craft Beer & Wine in Leesville, a beer hall that has remained open under new leadership since May 2023.

The yoga studio is located at 112 Main Street in a historical building that has been there for decades. The building was renovated by the Costners and returned to its former identity with a wall full of windows and original crown molding. 

“The building had been redone several times since the 1950s,” Josh said. “The original ceilings had been covered and so had parts of the windows. It was neat discovering what was under the boarding and plaster.  

Before it was a yoga studio, the space had been a barber shop, a grocery store and a gift shop. 

The Costners don’t plan to stop at just a yoga studio though. They hope to start phase two of their business plan by the spring. 

“Phase two is building the back end of this building out to have more space for a hairstylist, a massage therapist, an esthetician and a mental health care provider,” Josh said.

“We wanted to bring a sense of calmness, a sense of unity and mindfulness to the community,” Evan added. “With us being like the first yoga studio in town, we wanted to not only bring that but also some mental health services as well.”

They hope to make more services available by early fall if everything goes according to plan.

“We hope that we create an environment where it's very individually centered and where people feel like they’re at home, where they’re always welcome,” Evan told the Chronicle. “It doesn't matter who they are or what walk of life they come from, they’re part of our community and we want to be a space for acceptance.”

batesburg-leesville business, groucho's deli, Freedom Yoga & Wellness, lexington county openings, columbia restaurants


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