There’s no doubt David and Bill like a good adventure. After leaving their prominent careers as successful architects in NYC over 12 years ago, they made their way to Charleston, SC to start their new life together. The focus was on creating a home within a small community. They wanted to open their own business implementing local commerce in efforts to help shape the community… thus, Charleston’s own little Sugar Bakeshop was born.
Bill has deep roots in the south and fondly missed the nostalgic culinary trades of southern culture. “I’d had this idea to open a bakery,” says Bill, “I grew up in a family of women who loved to cook and bake from scratch. I’d missed those fresh baked cakes and cookies when I moved to NYC just after college, so I had taken up baking as a hobby.” David encouraged Bill to go for this dream and take the plunge into entrepreneurship.
Both loving Charleston for the natural beauty, amazing architecture, history, beaches, culinary arts, and at the time relatively affordable housing stock, they went on their search for the perfect location to build their dream. “We decided we would move here and build a life together,” says David. “We looked for house/shop combinations because we liked the idea of live/work. Cannonborough/ Elliotborough was perfect for that. We set about using our design abilities to brand a shop and design our bakery.”
Things began to fall into play. They purchased their place on Cannon Street in downtown Charleston. As David finished up some architectural projects in London, Bill began working on the recipes that will soon become a cultural staple in the Holy City. “The hardest thing was the name” says Bill. “We eventually settled on Sugar Bakeshop. We liked that sugar was an elemental ingredient in our bakery, which would specialize in sweet baked goods. But also ‘Sugar’ is an old fashioned term of endearment. Sugar is about love expressed through baking.”
Local sourcing is a big part of the Sugar adventure. “Our baking is really pretty simple,” says Bill, “It’s all about being freshly baked using fresh ingredients. So sourcing things locally was [and still is] a primary part of our approach. “We have a beehive on our roof we use for honey. It doesn’t get more local than that!”
In the beginning, it was hard for them to connect with producers. It was all exploration and word of mouth. Who had produce? When was it available? Where was it located? Could they deliver? Then, Grow Food Carolina helped them solve that issue as well as for many food businesses in Charleston. Grow Food Carolina sources from local farmers and send out lists of availability every week. From there, David and Bill where able to build their local produce suppliers and grow grass-roots style, like they planned. “We still have a direct relationship with our egg purveyor who delivers fresh eggs every week” says David. “He and his wife have a family farm with their little children and I am proud that our shop is part of what makes their business work.”
To add to their “buy local, shop local” theme, they have included an array of local artisan products such as candle/soap makers, a tea towel/coloring book designer, a local cake topper maker, local writers, local artists and local card makers. “We always try to put Sugar forward as a creative place where we are open to new ideas,” says David.
Sugar is most definitely a part of this eclectic downtown Charleston community. They have always donated left over baked goods at the end of the day to local organizations like the Center for Women, My Sister’s House, and a couple of soup kitchens. Not to mention they have been a loyal client and donator in all of our BEAU Magazine events and have expressed that they are happy to help out their LGBT community. We LOVE these sweet guys! Happy 10th Birthday to Sugar Bakeshop! We all wish much success to you.
How the real “Sugar” began…
David and Bill met 15 years ago. After the legalization/Federal recognition of same-sex marriage, they married 3 years ago in Maine. “We met on the subway while going about our daily lives as architects,” says Bill. “We were each on a different train than usual. David had had an appointment that morning and I had had a client meeting. I had all my drawings and samples with me on the train. David noticed my drawings and samples and we struck up a conversation. We exchanged cards. Before David handed me his card he explained that it was his last one and that he wanted to explain to me some writing on the back of it that said ‘Glam and Jam Barbie.’ He was looking for a birthday gift for his niece Abigail. I found a lot of guys I encountered in NYC to be somewhat shallow and self centered. I thought it was really great that he had a family he loved a cared about… and a sign that he was a good guy.”
Sugar Bakeshop’s 10th Birthday Party will be help Saturday, November 11th from 11-5. Enjoy select goodies FREE! Our local Food & Artisan purveyors will be on hand for a special Market/Sidewalk Sale! We’ll have Music for your ears and treats for your palate! Please come!
Sugar Bakeshop has helped #Charlestonians celebrate life’s special occasions with your favorite Sugar Bakeshop flavors. Now it’s time to come celebrate with us! We’re throwing an old fashioned Dessert Party!
Check out http://www.sugarbake.com for more info on Sugar!
Photography by Olivia Rae James