Jerry Kinley might be a familiar face to some Springfield families after his previous experience serving as funeral director at the Robert C. Henry Funeral Home.
But Kinley is now starting his own funeral business at a location at 1307 E. High St. and said the new Jerry W. Kinley Funeral Home will specialize in providing competitive prices and ensuring families are satisfied.
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Kinley, who also is a licensed barber, said one of the most important issues for families is how their loved one looks during the service.
“I try to have everyone look as natural as possible,” Kinley said.
The new funeral home officially started several weeks ago and has provided some services for local families, he said. But he has plans to make Springfield residents more familiar with the business and a grand opening is possible next month.
Kinley is operating the funeral home with help from his sister and business partner, Carla Davis. The business will have four permanent staff members and some part-time help.
The business can be challenging but he said the important thing is to focus on the needs of families at a time when they are struggling. The funeral home focuses on serving areas that includes Springfield, Xenia, Yellow Springs and Urbana.
“You have to have a passion for this,” Kinley said. “You have to have empathy for the families.”
One issue Kinley said he will focus on is educating his customers about the business. Many families arrange for services in advance, for example. But most customers aren’t aware they’re allowed to switch to another funeral home, even if they already had made early arrangements with a specific funeral home.
Kinley said he initially planned to look for a location on the south side of Springfield but none of the available properties were the right fit. The current business site underwent mostly cosmetic renovations and he still has some minor work left to be completed. But Kinley said he is working to make sure customers are comfortable in the new location.
And in the long-term, he said he’s still interested in opening a funeral home on the south side of Springfield in the next few years if the opportunity arises. If that’s the case, he said he would likely keep the current location open as well.