October 7 saw the launch of Bushel & Peck in the historic Charles Washington Hall, returning the site to a use it hasn’t enjoyed since the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Todd Coyle, treasurer of the Jefferson Growers, Artisans, and Producers Coalition (Jefferson G.A.P.), calls Bushel & Peck “… a sustainable, locally focused grocery store in the heart of downtown Charles Town.”
The Jefferson G.A.P. is a federally recognized non-profit organization, which will oversee Bushel & Peck, as it already does with the Charles Town Farmers’ Market.
“The Jefferson G.A.P. Coalition had an amazing opportunity through partnership with the City of Charles Town to place this grocery store right in the heart of downtown Charles Town—in a newly renovated building,” noted Coyle.
While the project was still in the formation phase, Coyle said a number of goals were established for the project to meet, including the desire to offer local products, support Eastern Panhandle farmers and cottage craft industries, foster community awareness and cooperation, and ensure local products are as affordable as possible.
“Consumers are demanding cleaner food, produced by the folks they know and trust,” he said. “Finding that food can sometimes be difficult—especially to people who are busy and need to get grocery shopping done quickly.”
He added, “Bushel and Peck will be a solution to this problem, while at the same time providing a tremendous opportunity for our local producers to easily reach those consumers who might not make an extra trip to buy directly from the farm.”
Recognizing and understanding the large population of Jefferson County who leave the area for work during the week was an important part of the success model for Bushel & Peck.
Coyle explained that Jefferson G.A.P. already has a strong base of support through the Charles Town Farmers’ Market’s 800 regular shoppers and 30-plus vendors. He also tipped his hat to the contributions of, and ongoing partnership with, the Charles Town City Council, Mayor, Charles Town businesses and employees, and the broader Jefferson County population.
Bushel & Peck’s offerings don’t stop at local products and produce. A variety of dry goods are available, as well as seasonings, almond milk, and more—from nationally recognized companies.
Incorporating this project into the re-use of an historic structure was a bonus, according to Coyle. “Bringing back to life a piece of history and staying true to its original intent makes this project a special one.”
Coyle can recall visiting the Charles Washington Hall as a child when it housed the New Central Restaurant, owned and operated by Charles Town mayor Nick Carson.
“There was also ‘The News Stand’ behind it,” said Coyle. “That’s where you could get the newspapers from everywhere. We kids got our MAD magazines there, and candy. It was a central source for all written news at the time.”
Before falling vacant, the building most recently housed Shu Chen’s Chinese Restaurant.
Located at 100 W. Washington Street, Bushel & Peck is open from 10am–6pm every day except Mondays (closed) and Saturdays (12pm–6pm).By H.S. Leigh Koonce