BCI’s story began 60 years ago with two business-minded women driven by a shared desire to better serve the employment needs of people with disabilities. Jane Crider and Margaret Holmes came together as advocates, striving to provide opportunities for every person 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 in St. Charles County 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 (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 continues to change and adapt to the needs of the community. The Career Planning Center (CPC), an LLC operating under the parent company of BCI, was launched in 2009. The CPC offers individually focused job discovery, exploration, training, and career planning for those with a drive to enter employment in the community. With a spirit of innovation and a constant focus on promoting the long-term development of a person’s abilities, the CPC embraces the newest methods to best assist in the empowerment of its clients and their successful integration into business partnerships.
In 2011 BCI opened a second contract packaging facility in Moscow Mills, MO, providing employment opportunities for adults living with disabilities in Lincoln County and increasing the company’s abilities to do business.
Further innovating to meet the needs of the community, BCI launched a commercial cleaning company, Show Me Shine, in 2011. Founded under the CPC, Show Me Shine offers full-service janitorial services in St. Charles County and surrounding counties.
In January 2019, BCI opened the doors of its new Skills Center, a first-of-its-kind vocational training facility for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Skills Center is a completely new and unique model and took years of planning and preparation. By partnering with local companies who agree that people with disabilities can contribute meaningfully to their businesses, we are leading the charge in our "inclusion revolution" while helping local companies bridge their employment gap.
Since its inception in 1959 as a one-employee candle making shop, BCI has become one of the leading contract packaging facilities in Missouri. People with disabilities are proud of their employment with BCI and confidently manage the value-added packaging needs of our business partners. Others are enjoying supported work in competitive, integrated settings under our Community Employment Program—or attending classes at our Skills Center in preparation for full-time employment in the vocation of their choosing. Our continued growth and innovation have led to expanded service offerings for clients, customers, and the community and have put millions of dollars back into our local economy.
Today, BCI shines with the passion of its founders and with a devotion, both corporate and personal, to ensuring that adults with disabilities have the opportunity to enjoy productive, fulfilling employment and to know the satisfaction that comes from a job well done.