• 1959

    The Story Begins

    Jane Crider and Margaret Holmes work together to open Boone Center. They have one employee with a disability.

  • 1960


    Boone Center’s incorporation is issued on March 15, 1960. The founders purchase a Hilltop Candle franchise for about $1,000, and the workshop moves to 11 East Chauncey Street in St. Charles.

  • 1965

    MO Senate Bill 52

    Boone Center comes under Senate Bill 52, making it an official sheltered workshop and providing additional funding to provide support services.

  • 1967

    A New General Manager

    Boone Center hires Lovie Oeklaus as General Manager.

  • 1969

    Senate Bill 40

    Voters pass Senate Bill 40, authorizing a county tax levy to assist people with developmental disabilities.

  • 1974


    Boone Center and its 35 employees are relocated to 1913 North Second Street in St. Charles by the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority.

  • 1981

    Emmaus Workshop

    Boone Center acquires the Emmaus workshop and operates it in the Blanchette Park silo as a satellite location.

  • 1984

    25th anniversary

    Boone Center celebrates its 25th anniversary. Employees perform a variety of work including assembly, machining, labeling, inspection, mailing, salvage, packaging, and woodworking.

  • 1988

    move to Terra Lane

    Boone Center’s Blanchette Park employees move to a new facility on Terra Lane in O’Fallon.

  • 1992

    First accreditation

    Boone Center employs 152 and receives its first Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accreditation.

  • 1995

    A new facility

    Board members break ground on a new building on Trade Center Drive in St. Peters. The 66,000-square-foot plant is completed in 1996. Everyone at the St. Charles and O’Fallon plants moves to the new facility.

  • 1999

    Inaugural Wing Ding

    BCI hosts the first Wing Ding. The event quickly becomes a community favorite and BCI’s largest fundraiser.

  • 2000

    40th anniversary

    Boone Center celebrates its 40th anniversary with a celebration and reunion dinner at Whitmoor Country Club.

  • 2001


    Boone Center employs 211 adults with disabilities.

  • 2003


    Boone Center cuts the ribbon on a second building next door to the main plant to allow for greater packaging capacity.

  • 2009


    BCI’s employment continuum model begins with the launch of the Career Planning Center at 2041 Trade Center Drive to “expand the mission beyond the workshop and into a broader range of employment choices.”

  • 2011


    Boone Center opens a second production facility to serve adults with disabilities in Lincoln County.

  • 2011

    Show Me Shine

    Boone Center creates a commercial cleaning firm to create further competitive employment opportunities for adults with disabilities.

  • 2017


    Donations from Andrew’s Hugs are used to build an STL Cardinals-themed break room in memory of BCI employee Andrew Norton.

  • 2019


    Ten years of planning culminate in the opening of the BCI Skills Center, a unique facility that trains individuals for competitive jobs with partner companies. First students begin class on January 7.

  • 2019


    BCI employs 248 adults with disabilities through the organizational employment program and 37 more through the competitive employment program.

  • 2020


    COVID-19 closes operations on Monday, March 16. Essential production resumes the next day with staff only. Employees invited to return to work in groups beginning May 5. Online socializing and training programs keep employees engaged while they are away.

  • 2021


    Additional donations from Andrew’s Hugs are used to build a secure outdoor patio so employees can sit comfortably outside during lunches and breaks.

  • 2021


    The organization adopts iPraise core values: integrity, positivity, respect, accountability, innovation, service, empathy.

  • 2021


    BCI launches Extra Innings on September 27 to provide before- and after-work programming for families affected by the loss of transportation services.

  • 2023


    Of Missouri’s 86 extended employment sheltered workshops, BCI ranks as the second largest.

Our Story

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.

Interested in learning more? Contact us to experience BCI for yourself. Schedule a tour, meet the staff, and see our teams in action.