BCI’s story began over 60 years ago when two business-minded women shared a desire to create opportunities for people with disabilities. Jane Crider and Margaret Holmes believed that every person should have the right to use their abilities and skills to lead a productive life.
Their operation began in 1959 when they transformed their passion into a working business model. At the start, their home-based candle shop in St. Charles, Mo. employed one adult with a disability as a candle maker. As news of their efforts spread, so did the number of adults with disabilities who saw an opportunity to use their abilities and benefit from working in the community with Jane and Margaret.
On March 1, 1960, the two women, along with seven other community activists, incorporated as Boone Center, Inc. With backing from personal loans and the proceeds from the candle-making business, the new company purchased the Hilltop Candle franchise and made a down payment on a building to house their rapidly growing venture. The enthusiastic response of both customers and employees energized and inspired the partners, leading them to expand their services to include furniture refinishing and repair.
As their reputation grew, so did the confidence of local businesses and the support of the St. Charles community. Gradually, cynicism and skepticism faded and were replaced with appreciation and admiration for the Boone Center employees and the quality and quantity of work they produced.
By 1984, Boone Center, Inc. was large enough to require two separate facilities, and in 1990 the company stepped boldly into the contract packaging industry with the purchase of its first automated equipment. By 1995, incredible growth prompted the consolidation of BCI's two facilities in St. Charles and O'Fallon into one newly constructed site in St. Peters. Growth continued. In 2005, much-needed warehouse space was added at the company's main campus in St. Peters, and Boone Center, Inc. formally changed its name to BCI.
Over the years, the company continued to change and adapt to community needs. The Career Planning Center (CPC) was launched in 2009. The CPC offered focused job discovery, exploration, training, and career planning for individuals who wanted to work out in the community.
In 2011, BCI opened a second contract packaging facility in Moscow Mills, Mo., providing employment opportunities for adults with disabilities in Lincoln County and increasing the company’s abilities to do business.
Further innovating to meet the needs of job-seekers, BCI launched a commercial cleaning company, Show Me Shine, in 2011. Founded under the CPC, Show Me Shine offered full-service janitorial services in St. Charles and surrounding counties. Show Me Shine operated until 2020.
In January 2019, BCI opened the Skills Center, a first-of-its-kind vocational training facility for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Skills Center is competitive employment re-imagined. At its core are vocational programs created in partnership with local business partners committed to hiring a diverse workforce. After training, students move straight into their new jobs where they earn a competitive wage.
Since its inception in 1959 as a one-employee candle making shop, BCI has increased in size and scope. People served under our Organizational Program are proud of the work they do at BCI Packaging, making it one of the leading contract packaging facilities in Missouri. Others under our Competitive Employment Program are working competitively in the community or attending classes at our Skills Center in preparation for full-time employment in the vocation of their choice. Our continued growth and innovation have led to expanded services for clients, customers, and the community and have put millions of dollars back into our local economy.
BCI still shines with the passion of its founders and continues to ensure that adults with disabilities have a chance to enjoy productive, fulfilling work and to know the satisfaction that comes from a job well done.