We have been manufacturing and selling, first book and Bible covers, and then bags, for many years, beginning in 1950, soon after we were married. Actually, when we started we did not know or intend that it would become a business. In fact, it was little more than a hobby for a long time. Our first roll of vinyl was kept under the bed, cutting was done on the kitchen table, and the stitching was done on an old treadle sewing machine in our small two-room apartment in the town of Carthage, Missouri.
The products we made were especially adapted and designed for use by fellow members of our faith, Jehovah’s Witnesses. Since we knew from experience what was needed and desired in the way of book and Bible covers, bags to carry literature, etc., we could make such items and sell them to our friends. Gradually the word got around and we began to receive orders by mail. We then mimeographed a small price list of the things we could provide. In time the small margin of profit began to help support us and our family. We lived modestly and I was able to serve in the full-time unpaid volunteer ministry (known as Pioneer Ministry) for 30 years until health and nerve problems prevented continuing.
To keep up with the demand, we began to select and purchase products from other suppliers and offer these along with our own items, which we continued to manufacture. After a number of years the “enterprise” grew to the point that we began to hire help. Now we employ 25 to 30 people, the two of us retaining the management continuously from the beginning, and the realm of sales has broadened to include other professional people and the general public. As far as possible we choose employees from among friends and acquaintances who we know to be trustworthy and reliable, offering “equal opportunity” to qualified people as required by law. We have always been able to find sufficient, dependable help to take care of the work load so that we can still pursue our more important personal goals.
In 1990 we moved the business to Aurora, Missouri–12 miles east of Monett where we had been located since 1951. Over the years as the work expanded, we simply ran out of space. We found our business scattered out in 8 different storage buildings over a radius of six miles! This stifled our efficiency to say the least.
We looked at several commercial buildings in the area, but they were either too small or too expensive or both. Finally we were directed to this building in Aurora with adequate space at a good price. It took a lot of repairs and modifications but it was a good move and we are able to serve our customers better.
This has been and continues to be a rewarding business–if not in a monetary way, then in satisfaction of providing good items at reasonable prices and dealing with customers who are or become our friends. We regard it as a divine blessing! We enjoy quick bits of news from all over the country when telephone orders come in. Then, there are the visits to our showroom by friends traveling through the circuit, vacationing in the beautiful Ozarks/Branson area, etc. Sometimes they come in to purchase something, sometimes just to say “Hello”
The pleasure is ours.
We thank you for your interest in our company, our service, and our products.
If you are one of our many customers already, we send special thanks.
Hopefully we can be of service in the future.
Carl & Betha Stoops