5 minute read
Life’s Sweet at Sugar’s
Story by Natalie Caudle | Photos by Erin Householder
Tucked away in downtown Visalia is a secret garden; a tranquil space filled with terra cotta pots and California-grown plants. The open-air cactarium is fresh with artistic flavor. Aloe, snake plants, and jade line handmade shelves like little toy soldiers. Reminiscent of coastal hideaways, the unique corner is simply transformative; time marches a little slower as customers step inside Sugar’s Succulents.
Entertainers at heart, Bre and Rob Singleton find great joy in providing friends with an evening of food, drinks, and conversation. When first flexing their hospitality muscles, Bre focused on creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere with landscape accents of perfectly placed succulents. A natural artist, Bre realized she had a knack for plants and outdoor landscapes, specifically succulents. As a giving person, Bre wanted to share her new love with others and began an Instagram account where she gave tips and showcased her beautiful plants. With Rob by her side, Bre’s hobby morphed into a passion, and before she knew it, the Singletons had opened a mom-and-pop shop. The team was eager to share a little plant love with the local community.
Sowed in a downtown neighborhood, the heart of the business is to be a gathering place for locals by providing a creative corner where connections can thrive. The Singletons’ dream is for Sugar’s Succulents to be a destination, a place to unwind, and take a deep breath. “We want people to get a coffee, come in, walk around, and enjoy our shop. We personally love to provide a place for people to come and enjoy.” Bre adds, “We are that shop, a cool little place. Not something you’d expect when you walk in—a pleasant surprise.” Customers can find expert advice, a relaxing corner to pot plants, and, on specific evenings, even food truck tacos and conchas.
Dreaming beyond the retail of the succulent shop and mercantile, the Singletons created Plant Parties and Plant Nights in an effort to deepen community roots. Customers can reserve private Plant Parties to celebrate in a unique way with friends. Attendees spend their time potting plants and creating an arrangement while sipping a local brew. Sugar’s is often booked for bridal showers and birthday parties, and, every now and then, a wedding proposal.
Plant Nights are regular events where succulent lovers of all ages spend the evening getting their hands a little dirty. “We just wanted a thing where anyone could come and could afford it,” she says. “It’s to get the community together. I just love that small-town feel. It’s our way of inviting the community to come and hang out at our shop.” Rob and Bre happily open their doors and set up extra tables to accommodate larger crowds and local food trucks.
In a recent endeavor, Bre teamed up with BarrelHouse on Main St. and Temblor Brewing, in Bakersfield, for a monthly event, Plants and Pints. Guests sign up for a pop-up plant shop, which includes a plant bar and a pint of local beer.
Since opening their doors in 2017, Bre and Rob have expanded both their shop and family. Baby Callen was born in the summer of 2020 and now toddles around the space as Bre taps into her artistic side creating budget-friendly arrangements.
Like most businesses, the pandemic threw Sugar’s Succulents a curveball, causing a shift in how to best serve customers. Bre and Rob began a plant delivery service from Clovis to Tulare giving customers a convenient and unique option when needing something only a green thumb could supply.
Sugar’s Succulents is now celebrating nearly five years in business and is back to regular business hours—six days a week of living a plant lover’s dream. It’s the first succulent shop of its kind in Visalia, and Bre and Rob work hard to create a welcoming space. Stocked with countless varieties of plants and unique options for outdoor spaces, there are a plethora of choices for every style.
Customers love the made-to-order arrangements and the relaxing shopping experience when searching for the right plant to love. Meghan Martin, a Visalia native remarks, “I love how friendly and knowledgeable Bre is about her succulents. She will listen to the customers’ needs and come up with arrangements to meet them. It was fun to choose a container and watch her fill it with unique plants and then top it off with rocks to make it clean and tidy. Bre even provides her cell phone number to customers in case they have a question about the care of their plants!”
Bre and Rob see themselves as a unit, a package deal. Their talents and styles complement each other with a dynamic rhythm. Rob is fully invested in Bre’s passion for plants, a hobby that seeps into both their professional and private lives. When Bre and Rob were married in a surprise wedding at Watson’s Veggie Garden, Bre carried a bouquet of succulents down the aisle—succulents that are now in her home garden, still thriving. For Bre, succulents are more than a business, they’re representative of a legacy that can be passed down.
When all is said and done, the Singletons may just be a couple of local kids with a fun dream, but to the community, Sugar’s Succulents is a local stop where strangers roll up their sleeves and become friends.