BOONE LIFE: Hallsville contractor's business steady despite economic downturn

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
William Stone has worked as a contractor in Hallsville since 1979. Despite the economic hardships that many contractors have faced in the recession, Stone’s business is as lively as ever.

HALLSVILLE — Tools and building supplies clutter the red E-350 Super Duty work van that William Stone drives to his job sites, yet he always seems to know where to look for a particular tool or bag of bolts.

Stone, 55, has worked as a contractor in Boone County since 1979. He notes that the contracting business overall has “really dropped off drastically in the last couple years.” Yet his has not. His small-town business is as busy as ever and even gets several calls a week from out-of-work contractors looking for employment.

According to a National Association of Home Builders news release, the Remodeling Market Index, which measures how much work remodelers expect, fell from 43.2 to 37.5 in the Midwest between July and September 2009. Any number less than 50 indicates that market conditions are forecast to worsen.

Stone points to his long-term presence in the community as the source for his steady flow of work requests in the poor economy. The customers he knows well refer him to their friends and relatives, who in turn pass his name and his business, A D & D Contracting, on to others.

His work ethic is another factor that Stone associates with his consistent business. He will take jobs other contractors might turn down, such as working on sewer lines or crawling beneath houses. “When you really try to please somebody and go out of the way, even if you’re not the cheapest person, but you do what you say you’re going to do and you do a good job, they’ll call you back,” he said.

While he has worked with new construction in years past, general remodeling is primarily requested now. Stone explains that remodeling is especially significant during the economic downturn because people are more likely to keep what they have “instead of selling or buying new.”

Stone worked as a dishwasher and a cook as a young teenager, but those jobs required working in the same places every day – something Stone did not wish to do. “I definitely like working for myself and moving around from job to job,” Stone said.

Along with the diversity of job sites, Stone also appreciates the variety of work he gets as a contractor. “Usually you have something different to do everyday,” Stone said.

His son, Shane Stone, 21, worked with him occasionally throughout middle school and high school. He joined his father’s work full time shortly after he graduated in 2007 and plans to continue working in contracting indefinitely. “I grew up with it," Shane Stone said. "It’s what I know."

William Stone’s wife, Dolores Stone, who helps with the clerical aspect of the business, describes A D & D Contracting as “a collaborative effort on everyone’s part.” She explained that without her husband’s knowledge and experience the business would not exist, but that he needs people to help him with it as well.

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Jim Lynn April 20, 2010 | 1:01 p.m.

Nice story. Good to see a small business doing well in this economy.

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