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Downtown Charleston's Eclectic Cafe & Vinyl is closing

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Vinyl spinners and coffee lovers might have to find a new space to enjoy both those sweet sounds and sips. 

Garrett Garnos, the owner of the Eclectic Cafe & Vinyl at 132 Spring Street, is shutting down the operation and turning over the space to a new coffeehouse. The favorite downtown cafe for poetry readings, comedy shows, live music and some bites and brews is closing on May 27. 

Garnos assures that the closure is not for financial reasons but that he never found himself in the position of actually running the property himself. 

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On the website, in an open letter to the public, he writes, "In some funny sense, the Eclectic Cafe was really a construction project that got out of hand; I never contemplated remaining its operator. The thrust of the project was the cry of a boarded up, neglected, old building to become something the entire neighborhood could enjoy, and that motivation remains as strong as ever.

"The decision to close the Eclectic Cafe was not a financial one, unless time be stupidly reduced to a commodity, and it would not have been made if I were not confident that the new tenants, Fernando Lange and Conny Ahlgren, share my values and have a vision for the space that will improve upon my own."

The new tenants will be operating a similar cafe within the space that will serve breakfast, lunch, coffee, espresso, pastries, wine and beer. According to their concept, the space will also still include international music, art books and magazines. 

The future of live music and art performances at the space, however, is uncertain.

"Eclectic has been the catalyst for smaller artists and entrepreneurs to share their work with the community," says 9 to 5 Magazine founder Taylor Czerwinski, who has hosted two events at the space. 

"Garrett has helped me and 9 to 5 have a place to grow with genuine intention and support. I don't know where we will go next, but I am very thankful for what we could accomplish there." 

Before closing the current project, Eclectic will be having a vinyl sale starting Monday.

Everything will be 30 percent off what is marked, and another 30 percent of each sale will be donated to The Unspoken Word, a nonprofit local poetry organization that has made the cafe somewhat of a home for readings, workshops and open-mics. 

"Eclectic has been a special and versatile place in Charleston," says Unspoken Word co-founder and local poet Derek Berry. "As for The Unspoken Word, we're keeping our eyes open for what's next. We have shifted through several venues in the past and continue to grow as we inhabit new spaces. Hopefully what comes next retains the magic of Eclectic."

Matt Foley, also a co-founder of The Unspoken Word, adds, "This is definitely a sad loss for Charleston and the arts community. I'm just really appreciative of Garrett and the Eclectic staff, especially folks like Gabriela Natali and Nabil Aasiya-Bey, for creating such a welcoming environment for the poetry community and all the creative folks in Charleston who shared their work at the cafe." 

Local musicians Kevin Church, Becca Smith and Kyle Ray Brooks will be playing a free songwriters-in-the-round event at Eclectic from 8-10 p.m. on May 24. This will be followed by a $10 performance by Katie Rose and Pierce Alexander at 8 p.m. on May 25. 

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Reach Kalyn Oyer at 843-371-4469. Follow her on Twitter @sound_wavves.

Kalyn Oyer is a Charleston native who covers arts & entertainment and food & bev for The Post and Courier. She's a music festival & concert photographer and used to write about music for the Charleston City Paper, among other publications.