Bobby Barkley mans the Sugar Magnolia table at the Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market. Read on to learn more about Bobby and the business. Credit: Ron Baxley, Jr.

This is part of a continuing series on individuals and businesses at the Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market. The market is located behind Visit Statesboro! / the Statesboro Visitors Center and Convention Bureau at 222 S. Main St. The market’s annual Shopping by Lantern Light event is also featured in this latest installment.

Colorful characters, camaraderie, cookies, and so much more

At the market, Bobby Barkley, store manager for Sugar Magnolia Coffeehouse, can often be seen manning their table of baked goods and other items with owner Caroline Joyner. Bobby often dons one of his colorful, brimless baseball caps, and smiling and greeting people without a hard sell, he creates a casual, friendly atmosphere as many of the vendors at the market do.

“We get to meet many new faces and introduce them to our brand (at the market); we also like getting to meet all the vendors from around town. Many of our vendor friends from the farmers market sell their retail products at our coffeehouse! It’s all about community and local supporting local,” Bobby said.

Sugar Magnolia brings sweet and savory items to market

At the market, Sugar Magnolia offers baked goods, artisan breads, house-made granola, and pastries. They also offer a different sandwich each week. Throughout the summer months, they brought a blender to make smoothies, which Sugar Magnolia began offering when they opened their Coffeehouse in April. In addition, Bobby offers other selections from what can usually be found at the Sugar Magnolia Coffeehouse, located at 100 Brampton Ave, Suite 1-I. 

“We are constantly changing the items we bring to the farmers market to ensure customer satisfaction,” he said.

Bobby exclaimed, “At the market, we bring a sample of the pastries we serve at our two locations, and we try our best to rotate some of the ones we bring, but at the end of the day we must bring our fan favorites!”

Recently, he offered soft sugar cookies at the market that were the size of a large man’s hand or more and were covered with sprinkles of all the colors of the rainbow.

Delectable cheese rolls from “Sugar Mag” (Photo Courtesy Sugar Magnolia)

“We offer our products in many different portion sizes! But our half pound cookie is a guest favorite right now,” Bobby said.

He said, “Lastly, we do have many vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. Typically, I bring a vegetarian sandwich option to the farmers market just because I know, food-wise, their options are always limited there.” 

Diversity and acceptance also on the menu

Customers and others have commented on the multi-colored, brimless baseball caps Bobby often wears. Customers have sometimes confused them with a yarmulke. (A yarmulke is, of course, a skullcap sometimes worn by some of the Jewish faith.) Nevertheless, Bobby was not wearing a brimless baseball cap during a recent visit to the market. But he had been seen by “Grice Connect” in one several times before then.

Bobby said, “I am not of the Jewish faith. (My caps) are just brimless baseball caps. I do get that very often though because I can normally be found wearing one of my caps.”

When he was thought to be of the Jewish faith because of his misperceived yarmulke, Bobby was asked about the diversity in the area. He stated that he feels very welcome in the market, at Sugar Magnolia, and in Statesboro in general.

“… as a queer presenting gay man, I do feel like Statesboro is very open to diversity and accepting of all. I have felt embraced by this city ever since I moved here five years ago,” Bobby, who is originally from Albany, Georgia, said.

Bobby has been working in restaurants since 2017 and has been with Sugar Magnolia since 2020.  

Bobby enjoying a smoothie in one of his famous caps at the Coffeehouse location (Photo: Tyler Calloway)

“I’ve managed our coffeehouse since it opened last April, but our owner Caroline Joyner bought Sugar Magnolia in 2018,” he said.

A long history at the market

Bobby said Sugar Magnolia has been a vendor at the Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market since before Caroline purchased the business. After she purchased it, they continued that tradition at the old location with the tents near Synovus before the covered facility was created.

“We love the new venue; it’s very nice. We’re very excited for it to be open to the walking trail behind it,” Bobby said. “We do however miss the accidental foot traffic we got from the Synovus Bank location.”  

Outside market days, Sugar Magnolia offers Coffeehouse, Bistro, and catering

Sugar Magnolia regularly attends the market as a vendor but also has two brick-and-mortar locations: Sugar Magnolia Coffeehouse (100 Brampton Avenue, Suite 1-I) and Sugar Magnolia Bistro & Bar (106-C Savannah Avenue), both of which have been featured on Grice Connect in the past. 

Bobby said, “Both of our restaurants partner with local farmers and vendors whenever we can and utilize as many local ingredients as possible. However, since local flour is not currently an option, we source the highest quality of unbleached, non-GMO, and kosher flour with no bromate or artificial preservatives.”

The coffeehouse was previously featured in this article:

The bistro has a wide variety of offerings from artisan pizzas which range from Mediterranean style to more of a Tex Mex variety. Shrimp is even offered as one of the toppings for a pizza there. In addition, they serve a variety of soups and salads and some unique sandwich offerings and non-traditional burgers. Next, they offer some pasta dishes with gourmet spins. Their entrees match some fine dining establishments with filet mignon, salmon, and roasted Portobello, for example.

The full menu for the bistro can be found here, and for information on their catering options, you can call (912) 317-8386.

Sugar Magnolia’s motto is “Everything delightful, everything delicious.” This pizza from the Bistro looks to fit the bill! (Photo Courtesy Sugar Magnolia)

Sugar Mag will join Shopping by Lantern Light with other vendors

The market’s popular annual Shopping by Lantern Light event will be held Tuesday, Nov. 22 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at the new indoor/outdoor venue located at 222 South Main Street.

“We will be at Shopping by Lantern Light, and we are so excited!” Bobby said. “It’s always one of our favorite events!” 

This event is held annually on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to benefit the Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market and Market2Go. The vendors will have their own tables and table coverings plus battery lamps or lanterns to adequately illuminate merchandise. No electric lights or open flames will be allowed to be used. Therefore, the guests truly can shop by lantern light.

“Lantern Light” perfect for holiday shopping

The annual event is an excellent opportunity to shop local and shop small for the holidays, as well as to pick up local delicacies for your Thanksgiving meal.

According to Market Manager Willow Farmer, “In the spirit of the market, we invite a variety of vendors to sell locally or regionally produced food and craft items. With an emphasis on produce, prepared food, and decorative items, this event highlights products that are perfect for Thanksgiving and holidays.”

Shopping by Lantern Light marks the end of the market season until 2023.

“We are always sad to see the market end (for the season), but we will continue to offer our quality products year-round on Market2Go, at our coffeehouse, and at our bistro,” Bobby said.

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Ron Baxley, Jr., who is new to Grice Connect, has been a freelance (and at times full time) journalist for over a decade total and has been a creative writer almost his entire life. Though across the border...