HOUSTON (FOX 26) - One Houston-area boy is burning the candle at both ends by attending school during the day and building his own charitable business during time away from campus. He wants to help support the U.S. military and honor veterans. While he was preparing a huge order, just in time to sell his products at the Sugar Plum Market in Stafford, he shared his story with FOX 26 News.
Grant Mize, 12, is transforming wax into candles with heart. He is one candle making, fund raising tween! It all started during his science fair project in 2014. He was testing candles, to compare paraffin and natural wax.
"I figured out that soy wax burned cleaner and longer than paraffin or man-made wax and I really liked making the candles, so I turned it into a business," says Mize.
It started out as a small project in his family's kitchen. He soon started selling so many candles that he had to advance to a larger operation in his family's garage -- the Sweetwater Candle Company was born! Mize knew from the start that he would share the profits.
"I really wanted to give back to people who support the country and have fought for this country, so at first I did the Wounded Warrior Project," says Mize. He donated to the organization then saved a portion of the funds until he made $150 to adopt his furry friend Dixie.
"She has been really good for our family and really sweet, and that's why I adopted her," says Mize with a smile. "I wanted to find a charity that did the same thing for veterans." That's when Mize teamed up with Freedom Service Dogs of America. Because his own rescue dog is so important to him, he donates part of his proceeds to help adopt rescue dogs then the organization trains them for veterans with disabilities.
"So they're not just giving veterans a better life, but also giving the dogs a better life," says Mize. He has been able to donate more than $1,200 so far. His mother, Heather, is always working by his side, helping make the products are picture-perfect, but Mize is truly the master-mind behind the company.
"Most of everything he has done has been what he has come up with -- his thoughts, his motivation that has made it what it is," says Mize's proud father Mark.
Mize sure is learning about time management. It takes days to create a batch of candles, yet he still maintains a straight-A report card, plays in the band and plays basketball at his school.
"It takes definite hard work, they learn it's a good work ethic," says Heather. "You don't just wake up and it happens -- it takes a lot to get to that final part and to make it to market and marketing is involved. They've even learned about sales taxes."
Mize and his younger brother sell their meaningful products alongside one another. This means the electronic devices are put away and they are learning important life's lessons like carrying on conversations with adults.
"When they're at a show, they're not just sitting, idling and letting people pass," explains Mark. "They're talking to people and selling the product, so I think all of the experience has been really good. We have tried to spend our lives, whether it's the school they attend in Sugar Land or missionary-type work, to instill in them these types of values. They seemed to have observed it and now they put it into practice, both of our boys, we are very proud of them."
"It makes me feel really good that I'm helping out other people," says Mize.
You can help Mize help others. He is selling his products at the Sugar Plum Market in Stafford from Nov. 4 until Nov. 6. He hopes you'll help support his important cause. Mize unveiled his new fall candle collection.
"I have vanilla bean, pumpkin spice and lemon pound cake is my favorite," says Mize. "We have beeswax for allergy sufferers and also leather smell. For Christmas, we have season spice, candy cane and peppermint. We also make them in gift sets that include my brother's product called Soshen (soap and lotion mixed together in a bottle)." That product benefits pediatric leukemia research. He says he sells a lot of these gift sets for teacher appreciation and Christmas gifts.