Success Story for:

Robert Whitley of Ellis Funeral Home & Crematory Services

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Mr. Bob Whitley became a client of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Tennessee State University during 2005 while pursuing the acquisition of Ellis Funeral Home. The TSBDC Staff counseled Mr. Whitley throughout the due diligence process. The TSBDC Counselors also assisted Mr. Whitely with the development of a business plan, which was used to secure a $700,000 plus SBA Guaranteed Loan to purchase the business.

As a long time TSBDC client, during the past 10 years, the center assisted Mr. Whitley analyze cash flows, initiate an employment development program and focus upon increasing customer satisfaction.

Today the market position of traditional burial services providers such as Ellis Funeral Home is being threatened by the rising popularity of the less expensive cremation alternative. For example, according to industry reports during 2014, just over 45% of all deceased humans in the United States were cremated as compared with a 28% cremation rate in 2012. Within three years, the cremation rate is projected to be 55%. To mitigate the negative effects that this changing consumer preference has had on Ellis Funeral Home, Mr. Whitley and the TSBDC team worked together to develop an operating plan to build an on-site crematory. In June of 2015 the crematory investment of $300,000 became a reality.  The total capital infusion was $974,000.00.

Moving forward, Ellis Funeral Home & Cremation Services is now positioned to meet the memorial needs of the entire Nashville Community.

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