The Warren (Ohio) Tribune Chronicle reports today that the McFarland-Barbee Funeral Home in that city will close its doors for good on Saturday after over 120 years in business.
According to the article, which you can read here, owner and director Mark Barbee said on Thursday, “After sitting down with my wife, our accountant, and an attorney, we made the decision.” Again, according to the article, Barbee had bought the funeral home from Jim McFarland who had been the 4th generation of the McFarland family to operate the business. The McFarland family came into ownership of the funeral home in 1897. Barbee purchased the business in February 2018.
Funeral Director Daily take: We will not speculate on any reasons for the closure. However, we do believe that at this point in time in the death care profession, individual funeral homes are being hit from all sides as far as business dynamics go. I cannot remember a time in my career where the direct hits to full service funeral homes was so robust.
It is not only the lower expected revenues that cremation services, and especially direct cremation with no services bring, but it is the cost of doing business as well. Property taxes in most municipalities are going up, fees for everything from water service to coroner services are going up and it is virtually impossible for a full service funeral home to pass all of those expenses on to consumers without having a loss of market share to lower cost providers. Couple that with the cost to hire qualified help and you have some real obstacles to profitability.
We believe that the business disruption for full service funeral home service is here, just as it has happened in many other businesses during the last decade, and those full service funeral homes that cannot find a path to adapt will face increased pressure for profitability.