Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Save The Bakery

Charleston’s Bakery, a 100-plus year-old building on the West Side that is home to several bands and artistic and creative endeavors, is in trouble. One of their largest tenants is moving out, the building needs some major repairs, and the owner is considering writing it off and turning it over to the bank for foreclosure.

20229468_1611394092218418_5080029927190434310_oLocated in the original Purity Maid Bread Factory, the building currently houses the rehearsal space for Byzantine, Farnsworth, Time And Distance, Beggars Clan and all of John Poole’s musical projects.

It’s also home to the Hole in the Wall Studio, Greg Hunt’s Recording Studio, Limelight Theatre Troupe, HepCatz Design International and Dawghouse Boxxing and MMA Gym.

But there are more than 20 Vacancies. The roof needs repair and the HVAC system has some serious needs as well.

The owner, Phil Shafer, has put his neck on the line providing space for creative people in Charleston, but without tenants, he can only do so much. Without some sign that more people will come in and rent space, he will have no choice but to get out from under the financial burden. The monthly operating costs for such a huge building are enormous, and without renters, almost impossible to maintain.

20024202_1611394928885001_667934194727861176_oChris Ojeda, of Byzantine, has been spearheading this effort to raise awareness of the plight of this incredible work space. He sees potential in the building as an all-ages venue, with plenty of other uses for the rooms in this massive facility.

When Byzantine returns from their US tour with Sacred Reich in October, the plan is to stage a donations-only concert in the loading dock area.

Unfortunately, the Bakery may not make it to October without some immediate action.

Chris has started a Facebook Group, Charleston Music & Art Collective, which you have to ask to join, to raise awareness and brainstorm ways to rescue this building from the fate of the Quarrier Building. In case you don’t remember, the Quarrier Building was home to LiveMix Studio and rehearsal spaces for bands, art studios, martial arts dojos and all sort of creative projects before Sacred Heart got their hands on it in 2010, and booted out all the tenants and let the building sit unused for more than five years.

It was a major blow to the local arts and music scene, and forced Radio Free Charleston to start recording bands on location instead of in a controlled studio environment.

I would hate to see history repeat itself with the Bakery.

If you have a band or need studio space, or instructional space, or just a place to store equipment, contact the number in the graphic below. If you know anyone who needs incubator space for a business, or a place for small-scale manufacturing, please turn them on to this gem on Charleston’s West Side.  And ask to join the Facebook Group so you can keep up with future developments.

PopCult Note: The photo at the top of this post is taken from Jerry Water’s excellent My Home West Virginia website. The rest of the images are taken from Chris Ojeda’s Facebook posts.



  1. Debbie

    Hi. I am a marketing and branding person that resides here are on the west side. I think there is a kickstarter campaign that could be done to raise the money and maybe even an event. I can position this as viral on Facebook and I would suggest doing a short video done with a handheld interviewing all the folks involved. Go big or go home! 🙂

  2. Marsha Poffenbarger

    Can it not be used for loft living, sell enough lofts to keep space for the Arts and Music What a great place to live. Write a grant, urban renewal money? Find investors ~ there has to be something! Baby boomers want one floor plan living and we’re all just a bunch of old hippies!
    I’m in!

  3. BEP

    Is that per month? That’s cheaper than the storage unit I had in Charleston. Maybe convert a portion of it to storage?

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