Franklin County’s Trusted Paint Expert Defies Setbacks and Builds a Community Mainstay.

by | Apr 2024

A SHROUD OF pre-dawn darkness blanketed Southern California as Monday morning arrived. As the rest of the world slept, Tony Stone, a soldier turned civilian, sat at his kitchen table, bathed in the soft glow of a dim overhead light, thumbing through the daily newspapers delivered to his door at precisely 4 a.m. His journey had brought him back home after four years of service. A mere 12 hours later, he was ready to re-enter the civilian world. 

Tony’s gaze fell upon an ad for a driver’s position. Little did he know that this simple advertisement would begin an unexpected journey into the realm of paint — a journey that would redefine his destiny and shape the course of his life.

“I didn’t have a family history or a burning passion for painting,” Tony reflected. “I just got a job, and I fell into the paint business.”

Tony’s innate work ethic and dedication propelled him forward; humble beginnings as a paperboy instilled in him a strong foundation of hard work and dedication.

He said, “I was a paperboy when I was 11. By the time I was 16, I had four paper routes. After school, I was a busboy at [Marie Callender’s]. Finally, when I turned 18, I gave up my four paper routes and busboy job because I joined the Army.”

His time in the military taught him the value of punctuality and genuine care for others — two qualities that have earned him community-wide recognition, including numerous awards as Franklin County’s finest paint store year after year. 

In the midst of building his career, he faced personal setbacks that tested his perseverance. From overcoming addiction and homelessness in his earlier years and finding God to navigating the painful terrain of divorce in 2000, one year after moving to Franklin County with his family, Tony confronted life’s hurdles with the same determination and strength that guided him throughout his military career.

“One of the biggest hurdles in my life was getting off drugs,” Tony revealed. “I overcame it 90% by myself, with the help of my ex-wife and former stepdaughter.”

Even in the depths of adversity, Tony found strength. The shadows lifted, revealing a man transformed by the trials and triumphs of life, emerging with a profound belief in the power of courage and perseverance.

Two months into his divorce proceedings, Tony’s life took an unexpected turn when he crossed paths with Chanda at Sherwin Williams, the paint store where he worked. Love bloomed in the most unexpected of places. The two embarked on a 15-month courtship, leading to their marriage on May 18.

In 2011, Tony faced the unexpected challenge of job loss. Driven by his entrepreneurial spirit, he saw this adversity as an opportunity. He purchased a local business, Brooks Paint, located at 938 Dinah Shore Blvd., which became his canvas for a new chapter.

The complexities of life didn’t cease. In 2023, the day before her birthday, Chanda died, plunging Tony into a whirlwind of grief.

Despite the overwhelming grief, hope glimmers on the horizon. Tony’s ability to adapt and thrive, evident in his journey from military service to paint store owner, encourages him to take life one day at a time. 

Tony’s store, now known as Franklin County Paint, transformed into a mainstay of the community. Customers leave the store with their paint needs fulfilled and the benefit of his expertise in skillfully matching any color. 

“I’ve had people bring in a coffee after they’ve stirred in the creamer and say, ‘Oh my goodness. That’s the color.’ I’ve had people bring in a tree leaf and ask me to match it before it starts wilting,” he said. 

“I carry the [Pittsburgh Paints & Stains] line of paint, which is a big national brand. I also carry a second line, which is a regional line from Florida called Richard’s, and I carry quite a bit of their products. I also have the largest paint applicator section — rolling covers and paint brushes.” 

With his dedicated team, including his valuable employee Chris Clark, Tony continues to serve his community with integrity and compassion. He looks back on his journey from a young soldier seeking purpose to a successful business owner, filled with gratitude for the lessons learned and the people who have walked alongside and supported him. 

“More than half of my career has been here in Franklin County. I love this place, and the people have been good to me.” GN 

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