Stone’s: We’re about relationships

Published 8:13 pm Friday, June 4, 2010

Saying Stone’s Home Centers are all about relationships with its customers and the community, the home improvement retailer that is based in Bainbridge recently celebrated its 51st year in business.

Henry Cutts, speaking at the monthly Chamber of Commerce breakfast held at the Charter House Inn Thursday, said Jim Stone founded Stone’s on April 17, 1951, on Webster Street in Bainbridge. The company has moved three times in Bainbridge since its founding, settling in a new building in June 2002 at 601 Calhoun St.

“It’s has allowed us to expand every aspect of our business,” Cutts said of the new location. Cutts said the company also has a wholesale distribution warehouse and a total of nine retail locations.

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Cutts then turned the program over to Carolyn Martin, the director of the Service Center located at 333 Airport Road, which Jim and Mary Stone were instrumental in starting in 1974.

Up until the 1990s, the center operated under the Decatur County Health Department, and in 2008, the center fell under the control of Georgia Pines.

The service center’s focus is on adult individuals with developmental disabilities. Presently, the center serves 111 individuals.

The center offers an array of services for both its clients and the community, Martin said. All of their clients are brought to the center and allowed to participate in work programs, recycling projects, craft programs, physical therapy or simple socialization programs with senior citizens volunteering their time to be champions with some of the clients.

Martin said some of the clients actually stand at the door of the center waiting for their senior citizen volunteer to arrive, and if they don’t, the client will get upset.

Another set of clients—a 12-member lawn crew—keeps up the lawns at the city’s cemeteries and the housing authority locations, Martin said of the contract the center has with the City of Bainbridge.

Another 50 individuals come to the center to participate in various crafts or other programs to help sharpen skills. Martin showed off some of the craft projects some of them completed. Other clients participate in the center’s recycling program, tennis team, bowling team and are looking forward to participating in the Special Olympics that was revived this year in Bainbridge.

The center, working in conjunction with Keep America and Decatur County Beautiful, also operates the recycling center on Alice Street where the public may take recyclable plastic, aluminum and paper. Presently there are 36 clients employed at that facility, sorting and readying the materials for recycling.

“Our goal it to train them to be a part of this community,” Martin said.