There aren't many folks in our area more well known than Bobby Bowden. But in Bainbridge, the name Jim Stone ranks right up there with the FSU head coach...He's been a fixture in South Georgia for a half century, all thanks to hardware and a very famous jingle...
For the past 50 years, Jim Stone has been a pioneer in customer service.
His hardware store is known all across the Southeast, but Jim is known more by a slogan that came out of nowhere.
"There's a Stone's store near you"
"We were entertaining our customers in Quincy and WCTV was filing it and my grandson said, grandpa, say, there's a stone's store near you. I did it and they got it and I didn't even know it was being filmed."
At 92 years old, Jim isn't as quick as he once was, but his sense of humor is as good as it ever was...and his love for women hasn't changed a bit.
"I always hug and kiss the new employees...you better not tell my wife."
Since the first store opened on April 17th, 1959 until now, Jim Stone has been a fixture in Bainbridge. He's also become quite the celebrity.
"I love to hear him say, you can always find a Stone's store near you."
Jim's had quite a story to tell. Air force, POW, shot down over Romania, two children, two grand kids, and two great grand kids keep him awfully busy. So has his love of hunting and fishing. But his legacy is at the store, a store that started off as just another hardware store and in a half century has turned into a part of the landscape in South Georgia.
"In 1959 when we opened, I couldn't imagine this. Now we have several like this."
This, is the Stone's store. A job for some, a place of business for others, and for Jim Stone, a lifetime of good memories. He may have been born in Virginia, but his heart will always be in Georgia.
"I've had people from time to time walk up to me and say, were you born here in Bainbridge? I say, no, I wasn't, but I got here just as soon as I could."