The Windsor area is blessed with many talented entrepreneurs, some of whom operate businesses with their spouses.
By Richard Rosenthal
Our series continues with Mary-Lynn and Brian Parent who own Families First Funeral Home & Tribute Centre Inc. (FamiliesFirst.ca).
Brian started in the funeral service in 1979, obtaining his Ontario Funeral Director’s Licence in 1982. Current active community and association activities include the Bereavement Authority of Ontario, Victim Services Windsor Essex, Victorian Order of Nurses Endowment Foundation, Essex Regional Conservation Foundation and the Ontario Funeral Service Association.
Mary-Lynn graduated from Assumption High School and obtained her Registered Nursing license in 1984 after studying at St. Clair College. She put aside this career to join Families First and has been responsible for all financial management since.
Mary-Lynn focuses much of her spare time caring for her family and attending numerous charitable events throughout the year.
They met when she was 19, married in 1984 and have been together now for 31 years. It was Mary-Lynn who convinced Brian that they should open their own business. She figured out how to finance and
purchase their first building.
Brian says that “We learned quickly in our relationship what each of our strengths were and trusted each other to do what was best for the company and the consumer.”
In 1996 they opened the first new funeral home in the city in more than 60 years. Most of the others dated back to the late 1800s and early to mid 1900s. The support of the community was more than expected and after just three years they needed to expand.
Expansions occurred in 2000, 2004 and 2005 when they relocated to their current South Windsor location at 3260 Dougall Avenue increasing the size of the facility to 28,000 sq ft. with a total of 60 employees.
“The trust of the community continued to require us to expand, so in 2010 we built and opened our east Windsor location at 1065 Lauzon Road and in 2012 we purchased the LaSalle Funeral Home (2130 Front Road) followed by the construction of a new funeral home in the Town of Amherstburg (585 Sandwich Street South),” explains Brian.