Fred Stone III Charleston SC is an entrepreneur that currently owns three different businesses. Also, he recently completed the sale of his “Stone Truck Parts” business that was acquired by a Fortune 500 company. Nevertheless, this sale only represents one of the peaks of his career that started over a decade ago.
Stone attended Virginia Episcopal School (VES) in Lynchburg. There, he established himself as a dominant golf player that was often found on honor lists of students. After completing the VES, he was accepted to the Wake Forest University where his achievements helped him earn a spot in the nationally ranked, top 20 school, Callaway School of Business. In 2005, he continued his academic pursuits by enrolling into the prestigious Branch Banking and Trust Management School (BB&T).
He spent two years at the BB&T, Stone transitioned into the role of growing a family business called Stone Truck Parts. In 2009, he further took part of the Elegant Hardwood Floors that enabled him to chase his entrepreneurship dreams. Once his skills started leading this business, it had its first-ever profitable year in 2011. Currently, Elegant Hardwood Floors is a 15-people organization led by Fred Stone III Charleston SC.
Other businesses that Stone is in charge of include Classic Surfaces that was found in January of 2017 as well as multiple real estate properties that he invested in over the course of his career. Stone also served as a former Young Ambassador Council member of the First Tee of Charleston charity group where he helped his community in numerous ways.
What do you think gives your company a competitive advantage over similar businesses in the market?
Some of the main jobs that my company took part in during the rebuilding stages of our business were focused on museums, historic colleges, and residences. One common denominator with all of these is the fact that they will bring in additional customers by positive word of mouth. Thus, I believe that the quality of services that my company provides speak volumes for our dedication to clients. Everyone is ready to give their 100 percent to every single project which is not easily found nowadays.
How did you first get into the relentless business world?
When I was serving as a social chair for the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity back in college, I remember getting familiarized with some basic principles of entrepreneurship. I was constantly engaged with people who helped me develop my communication skills. Then, working as an analyst and commercial lender for the Branch Banking and Trust taught me a lot of different factors that play a role in business. The approach was based on learning a little about nearly everything in business which helped me get a basic grasp of how something is supposed to operate to be profitable. From there, I took a chance, and it paid off!
What do you believe are the main traits that people interested in entrepreneurship should possess?
Resilience, dedication, and knowledge. I think resilience will come in handy during countless failures that a successful businessman must go through. Dedication can be looked at form a similar perspective, but it is more important to have something that can remind you of why you started in the first place. Lastly, you cannot get anywhere without the necessary knowledge of your project. This is why I think education is also a part of someone’s career. Without it, there will not be much of a career to speak about.
Is there a hidden blueprint that helps you transition from one company to another?
Not necessarily. I approach businesses on a case-by-case basis. When I first started working with the Elegant Hardwood Floors, my approach was a lot different than how I treat my real estate investments, per se. I strive to come up with a strategy that will apply to the circumstances surrounding any given project, which is why it is useless to look for clear-cut, generic approach. Ultimately, one must create their own path, and I think people are looking to do exactly as the next guy does a recipe for disaster.
Is there a trend in the flooring industry that excites you?
I believe there are a few worthy of mention. I am a strong proponent of the sustainability-oriented approach that some of the big players in the market have utilized lately. This includes recent changes like saving energy by separating the heating and cooling process when it comes to building things like vinyl flooring. I also like that China has seen some transparency growth over the last few years. With all those companies building their products in this country, it pays off to see what steps they are taking to preserve the population and environment. This includes countless flooring-related companies who manufacture materials there.
I am glad to see that the flooring industry is coming back from the downturn it experienced during the recession in 2008. In 2016, for example, total sales for the entire market topped $21 billion. Although we saw total sales reached figures like $24 billion a decade ago, this crisis significantly impacted the momentum our industry had. Now, it feels good to see us get closer and closer to such milestones. I mean, in 2009, we saw a historic low of only $16 billion in annual sales which has now been increased by over 30 percent in just 7 years. It almost prompts the question of how well would we be doing if the recession never happened in the first place.