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When losing one thing helps you find what’s better

I worked at Albertsons for 15 years but lost my job there because they closed the store. That had been the perfect job because it was close enough to home that I could walk to work, and it had the perfect combination of people—key people—who gave me the support I needed. I got job after job at other grocery stores, but each time the store either closed or I was let go.

After that, I sometimes worked for my dad at his job at Pioneer Sand doing office work. They have a lot of rocks—Dad and I like rocks a lot! One snowy day when there wasn’t much to do, a salesman at Pioneer took two pieces of rock and glued them together to make a holder for his business cards. Dad thought maybe I could make some like that and sell them and asked me. I said yes and so we started making business card and cell phone holders. We would walk through the yard at Pioneer Sand and pick up the scraps. They would sell them to us for $5 per bucket.

At Christmas, I sold an employee at Pioneer a business card holder I had made. His wife worked at the District Attorney's office, so he asked me for about 10-12 business card holders so she could sell them at her office. The next week he gave me a big bundle of money and said they needed 40-50 more! That's when I thought we might be able to make some good money making and selling these!

We added new products—the stone coasters and trivets. We got free scraps from a local countertop company (because, otherwise, they had to pay to dispose of them) and started making our unique cheeseboards from the scraps.

I was really sad when I lost my job at the grocery store. Losing stuff is always hard, and losing a job is really hard! But it was only because I lost something that I was able to find something better—making beautiful things out of stone. I get to make money and make people really happy.

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