20th Sugar Plum Market rings in holidays while supporting Fort Bend charities

In its 20th year, the Sugar Plum Market attracted people ready to shop and help the Fort Bend Junior Service League raise money for area charitable organizations.

The 2020 market was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so vendors and attendees alike were excited for this year’s in-person event held Nov. 4-6 at the Stafford Centre Performing Arts Theatre & Convention Center.

Since the market’s start, it has raised more than $3.3 million for area charities. Some of last year’s recipients included Access Health, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston, Brazos Bend Guardianship, Catholic Charities and Child Advocates of Fort Bend.

The total amount of funds raised from each market is usually released in December when checks are presented to the organizations.

“FBJSL is beyond excited to celebrate the 20th Sugar Plum Market anniversary with our community partner and title sponsor, Memorial Hermann Sugar Land,” said FBJSL President Heather Allen. “We want to thank our sponsors, volunteers, vendors and market patrons for their continued support which allows us to better serve the citizens of Fort Bend County.”

There were more than 100 vendors, including 44 that were new to the event.

Sam Wallace owns Custom Cape Shop and had children’s superhero capes of many varieties and colors. Her now 13-year-old oldest son inspired the venture when he wanted to have matching party favors for his fifth birthday party. When she couldn’t find well-made capes in stores at reasonable prices, she decided to sew them herself. After the party, friends urged her to sell them.

This was Custom Cape Shop’s fifth appearance at the Sugar Plum Market. Wallace explained she keeps returning “because when a kid puts on a cape, they become a superhero. And it makes them stronger, and it makes them more confident. We love inspiring imaginary play.”

Pet products business Asleep in the Boat was first marketed by its owner, Vicki Lynn, in April. Lynn would walk her dogs and take them places but sometimes struggled to manage the dogs and the things in her hands, like her phone, poop bags and credit cards. She created her signature walker vests that have lots of pockets and carabiners to attach leashes, if desired, for a hands-free effect. Lynn said business at the market had been good.

ShannieGirl owner Shannon Palmer has been selling her women’s capes, wraps and scarves for 17 years. She designs the new unique pieces, which are then manufactured in Ecuador. Palmer said their quality and design and the variety of style options keeps business strong. She likes to sell at the Sugar Plum Market because it supports FBJSL and the vendors are treated well.

Teen brothers Grant and Ben Mize work alongside one another in their two businesses. Grant, 17, owns Sweetwater Candle Company which offers hand-poured soy candles. Ben, 16, sells all-natural bath products in his business Soshen. Grant donates 20 percent of his profits to Freedom Service Dogs of America, an organization that trains rescue dogs to be service dogs for wounded veterans. Ben donates 20 percent of his profits to Texas Children’s Hospital. They package the products together in gift sets.

Sugar Land resident Emily Murphy estimated this was her fourth Sugar Plum Market. She appreciates visiting all the vendors and that the market is a smaller setting than the Nutcracker Market, held each year in Houston.

For Murphy and many others around the Fort Bend area, the Sugar Plum Market begins to ring in the Christmas spirit and gets the holiday season going.

On Friday morning, Richmond resident MacKenzie Shimek was making her second visit to the market this year. She was just getting started but had purchased some Christmas decorations, candles and items for her children at the preview night on Wednesday.

“There’s lots of good vendors, and we like to support the Junior League. I have a lot of friends on the committee,” Shimek said.

The last day of the Sugar Plum Market runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Stafford Centre Performing Arts Theatre & Convention Center, located at 10505 Cash Road in Stafford. General admission tickets are $15. For more information, visit www.sugarplummarket.com.