Year Founded: 2003
Business Type: Wholesale
Location: Martinsville, VA
Number of Employees: 15
"We challenge ourselves a great deal and listen to our customers quite a bit and I think that's the key. We expose ourselves to customers as much as we can and we take that data and figure out the best way to pursue opportunities that we think exist."
– David Stone, Owner and Founder
In a place where textiles moved away years ago, David Stone began, of all things, a fabric business.
"I grew up in Martinsville when we were making 240 million sweatshirts a year, and now we make no sweatshirts." Stone said. "I still kind of have this deep-seated need to bring that back to our area in some way."
Solid Stone Fabrics found its niche in stretch materials, and today, business is brisk.
Sea World or Disney performers don their costumes. Schools and universities across the nation fly flags and banners made by Solid Stone Fabrics. The Virginia Museum of Natural History, an outdoor outfitter in Richmond and a gymnastics company in Virginia Beach are all clients.
But it wasn't easy.
Stone, who after he moved back to the area to be closer to family, found his company gaining traction just as the economy collapsed. "That was a real tough two year period," Stone said. "Thankfully, none of our buyers went under, but even now we are coming back from that."
Describing himself as "only slightly obsessed" with his business, Stone cares about more than the bottom line. He's active in an alphabet soup of local organizations: Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, the Small and Minority Business Owners Association and Piedmont Arts Association.
For several years, Stone purchased shirts and ties for graduating seniors at his alma mater, Martinsville High School. His latest endeavor: helping a fellow entrepreneur launch a consulting service that helps other people start a business.
Aside from accolades, the Resilience Awards helped Stone secure his next round of funding through a Small Business Administration official he met in the University of Virginia's Rotunda at the award ceremony.
Perhaps, Stone said, a bit of Solid Stone Fabrics' resilience will rub off in Martinsville. "Maybe it's a stepping stone or a building block. I know a couple companies here that I'd like to push to apply. They are doing the same kind of things that we do and have the same goals of helping the community. So hopefully it will stimulate folks, to not only pursue the award, but also pursue growth and prosperity."