Richard Polite was born in Charleston in 1951 and raised on Strawberry Lane before his family
moved to Cannon St. near President St. After attending Burke High School, where he played
football, Polite served in the U.S. Army and served one tour in Vietnam. In this interview, Polite
recalls growing up in segregated Charleston and later working at the Naval Shipyard. He
explains why he enjoys the job he has now held for 12 years driving a truck for the City of
Charleston’s environmental services department. The job affords him the opportunity to serve
and interact with the public. Hazardous working conditions and mismanagement have
nevertheless led Polite and many of his coworkers to establish a union this past year. While there
is no shortage of dissatisfaction among his coworkers, fear of losing their jobs in a poor economy
has kept many of them on the sidelines.
“Sugar” is a bakery located on Cannon Street in downtown Charleston, S.C. that was founded by Bouffard and Bowick in November of 2007. Bowick, a native Tennessean, and Bouffard, a native of Vermont, have replaced an old vegetable stand with a new sweet shop. Both men worked in New York as architects, but moved to Charleston twelve years ago to pursue their dream of baking.
In this interview, Bowick and Bouffard discuss their career backgrounds and inspirations, and how their background in architecture relates to the process of baking. They also discuss family connections to Charleston and local cuisine, the relationship between history and Charleston history in recipes, and how customers are attracted to the historical side of certain treats. An openly gay couple, Bowick and Bouffard also comment on the warm welcome they received upon moving into the neighborhood and what it says about how Charleston has changed in the last decade.