By Emily Fontenot
Johnson Funeral Home was awarded top honors at the Chamber Southwest Louisiana’s March EXPO Luncheon, taking home the title of Small Business of the Year.
John Berryhill, chair of the Chamber’s small business committee for 2017, said the funeral home was chosen for its “exemplary business practices” and its continued community service to regional law enforcement officers and local high schools.
“Their nomination was a standout even among the other stellar businesses that were in the running this year,” Berryhill said. “Their balance of continual growth as a business and their commitment to giving back to the community over the past 41 years is a benchmark for many businesses in Southwest Louisiana.”
Andy Hankins, chief financial officer and funeral director at Johnson Funeral Home, accepted the award at the EXPO Luncheon.
Hankins said the award comes at a time of expansion for the company. He said Johnson will break ground on a new facility in Moss Bluff on May 1 and plans to open its doors by summer 2018.
Johnson has also seen growth at its Lake Street location over the past year, he said, and expects to see more growth as the Lake Charles community continues to increase south of town.
In addition to growing its business, Johnson has focused its efforts internally over the year, Hankins said, particularly on increasing its employee base to include more Millenials and increasing services for residents wanting to preplan their funerals.
He thanked the Chamber for its consideration and the community for its continued support.
“Our customers are our friends and our families, and so the fact that people allow us to be a part of the celebration of that individual’s life is very important to us,” Hankins said. “We take it very seriously.”
Johnson Funeral Home opened in 1976, with Zeb Johnson as managing partner and sole funeral director. It began with one chapel and two staterooms, with a small residence attached for the Johnson family.
The funeral home, still owned by Johnson, now employs 11 funeral directors and 24 other staff members. It runs facilities in Sulphur, Jennings and Lake Charles.