Member Profile: At Jackson Stoneworks, Giving Back is Business as UsualJune 14th, 2015 by gainesvillechamber
In 1949, Tyler Ryals grandfather, N. C. Ryals, came to Gainesville to live and work in the construction industry, which at the time, was stimulated by the University of Florida’s growth. He worked on many projects throughout his 53-year career and is remembered today by the Construction Gator statue erected in his honor in the Champions Club at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Since then, the Ryals family has become as much of a fixture on the Gainesville construction scene as the phrase, “Go Gators” is ingrained in the local vernacular.
After attending the Guangzhou Trade Fair in China with his father in 2002 to identify a product to market, Tyler initially decided to import granite and bamboo flooring. Tyler then founded Jackson (Jack + son) Stoneworks in 2002, giving new life to his grandfather’s legacy. The business started off manufacturing granite counter tops for new construction homes, which has since grown to include kitchen and bath cabinetry, tile, glass and fashion plumbing fixtures and accessories. By 2006, the company had grown to supply custom granite vanity tops for all of the Lowe’s home improvement stores nationwide.
As the decade progressed, the economy took a downward trend. Jackson Stoneworks proved its agility throughout the years of recession by shifting its focus to remodeling work replacing existing kitchens and bathrooms, most of which involved granite upgrades.
Today, Jackson Stoneworks continues to thrive and operate in Southeast Gainesville in a 20,000-square-foot custom stone countertop production and warehouse facility and 10,000-square-foot kitchen and bath design showroom and office with more than 25 employees, and a reputation for premier stone craftsmanship.
Giving Back for the Greater Good of Gainesville
Though the end products make for beautiful home décor, the process to create granite countertops inherently results in a large amount of leftover granite pieces that cannot be sold. In 2010, while visiting warehouse, Jack Ryals’ mother remarked that it was embarrassing that large quantities of beautiful granite were going to waste.
“She said it would be better to give the leftover granite away than to just throw it away,” said Jack.
And thus began what started with the donation of lazy susans made from leftover granite to local charities for silent auctions, and has grown into Jackson Stoneworks’ $1 million dollar goal to turn free granite lazy susans into donations for charities and local community fund raising projects.
“If you have a local charity fundraising project, we will give donors of $100 or more a free granite lazy susan to help you reach your goal,” said Ryals. “Simply, bring your receipt to our factory, choose your stone and have a free granite lazy susan manufactured in the color of your choice.
Donors are invited to their factory in Southeast Gainesville to choose a stone for their custom lazy susan and to learn more about the company.
Jackson Stoneworks donated 100 lazy susans to help the City of Gainesville raise $10,000 for Grace Marketplace shelter off of Waldo Road. The campaign’s rapid growth embodies Ryals family’s love for Greater Gainesville and iconic civic accountability.
“We are trying to provide the ability to help the community in the best way we know how,” Ryals said. “For people who feel like they’ve already given, it gives an incentive.”
After attending a December Chamber After Hours event at the Senior Recreation Center, Jack Ryals pledged to donate 1,000 free granite lazy susans to help Chamber Members raise $100,000 for local community fundraising projects such as UF Health Elder Care, Meals on Wheels and Senior Quilting Club.
“My personal goal is to keep doing what I am doing to do the very best of my ability to give back, and enjoy each and every day,” Ryals said. “I spend my time volunteering to help my son manage Jackson Stoneworks and its resources.”
As rooted in the region’s past as the family is, they are still looking ahead. The Ryals are looking to expand the “1,000 Free Granite Lazy Susan” campaign to a ten-year project to raise $1,000,000 for the “Greater Good of Gainesville.”
“I am a devoted supporter of regional growth and economic development, specifically Plum Creek’s Envision Alachua project,” Jack said. “I want to help inspire others to give back and support the ability for everyone in Gainesville to grow with the region as new opportunities present themselves.”
With the Ryals’ family’s determination and a bit of luck, in coming years, there may be a lazy susan in every household in the Greater Gainesville region.