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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

A Dream Fulfilled at Sugar’s Succulents

Apr 29, 2019 11:00AM ● By Enjoy Magazine

Getting Dirty

May 2019 Story by Natalie Caudle
Photos by Salina Marroquin

BRE SHINGLETON is the type of girl who gets things done; she digs deep, gets dirty and dreams big. 

Bre and her husband, Rob Singleton, have found great success as a young entrepreneurial team in their homegrown business, Sugar’s Succulents. But the path hasn’t always been smooth.

Due to difficult circumstances as a child, Bre learned to be independent at a young age as she cared for her two younger brothers, often moving houses and living with grandparents and aunts. The increased responsibility of her adolescent years created in Bre a great sense of maturity which helped pave the way for her business smarts and savvy.

As a teenager, Bre worked at a local home store in Tulare where her manager saw her keen ability for decor and gave her free reign over store displays and arrangements. It was here that Bre began to quickly develop her eye for design. After high school, Bre was accepted into a design school in Long Beach where she would receive formal instruction and grow her natural talent. Despite the great opportunity, Bre soon returned home to care for her brothers. Rob and Bre became an inseparable duo and soon discovered their joint passion for entertaining. The Singletons tied the knot and spent their free hours perfecting their outdoor spaces while creating a warm atmosphere for exquisite meals to be shared with friends.

As the couple developed their talent for entertaining, Bre quickly became fascinated with designing landscapes using succulents, a hobby that began small with gifts of aloe and jade. The popularity of the unique plants hadn’t yet reached the fever pitch of today and Bre found it difficult to find an impressive variety at local stores. As her hobby grew into a small obsession, Bre began propagating succulents and her desire to share her growing garden flourished, as well. Bre created an Instagram profile displaying succulents and cacti in pots, vintage coffee cans and handmade containers. The account had around 40 followers and shared gardening tips and tricks from a “paranoid plant mom.” In April 2016, the Singletons unexpectedly lost their Chihuahua, Sugar. The loss spurred Bre to rename her Instagram profile “Sugar’s Succulents,” a decision that acted as a catalyst to fulfilling a dream.

Bre and Rob made a goal in the spring of 2016 to create and sell succulent arrangements for Mother’s Day, an attempt to test the market and see if their love for plants was contagious. The entrepreneurial team made $600 in four days and knew they were onto something. In the fall of 2016, the Singletons rented a booth at the Rusty Roots show selling various and creative arrangements displayed in hollow logs, tool boxes and even an old newspaper stand. The duo found great success at the show and decided to make Sugar’s Succulents official. In January 2017, Bre and Rob formed an official business.

When Jay Peters saw Bre and Rob’s talent and fortitude, he insisted they rent the front corner of his building. Sugar’s Succulents, the store, is located in an industrial area of downtown, sharing space with Peters Construction, Bre’s full-time employer. The Singletons transformed the space into a lush and peaceful paradise. Succulents of all varieties are scattered about, planted in wagons and pots, with splashes of the business’ signature teal color found throughout the outdoor store and interactive workshop. The center of the shop holds a large table made from pallets and serves as a workbench for planting and designing. 

In an effort to not only sell succulents but to provide an experience for their green-thumbed patrons, Sugar’s Succulents expanded and now offers DIY workshops and private parties. Guests relax on the patio with a glass of wine or craft beer as they design and plant an original arrangement while receiving an introductory lesson on succulent care. The workshops are a perfect retreat for a girls’ night out, a bridal shower or a mother-daughter afternoon. But, succulents aren’t just for the girls. Glen Catalina, a regular customer, recently started gardening with succulents and enjoys the eccentric shop. “It’s fun to come look and play with the different plants. Bre’s done a great job.” Rob and Bre keep the shelves fully stocked, traveling to San Diego every few weeks to hand-pick plants and ensure their variety is unique.

Bre enjoys bringing the gardening experience to others. “It feels good to get dirty and design something. It is gratifying to see you made something so awesome while being removed from the stresses of the outside world.” Sugar’s Succulents offers a variety of services including landscape design and implementation. Customers are also encouraged to bring personal pots or sentimental containers to the shop to be filled with various succulents for a truly unique and personalized gift or centerpiece.

Sugar’s Succulents industrial style shop is a charming haven on School Street where the pace of life slows and you can roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty. •

Sugar’s Succulents • 717 W. School Ave., Visalia • (559) 798-4837

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