Last Tuesday we endeavored upon what has become a much-anticipated field trip each Spring semester to the McGuire and Davies Funeral Home and Crematory located here in Monmouth, IL.
As always, co-owners Al McGuire and Trevor Davies led us through their beautiful, full-service facility on what is for students an eye-opening experience shattering stereotypes of “funeral homes” as being little but dreary places of great sadness. This is because the McGuire and Davies Funeral Home and Crematory has been designed to allow family members, friends, and other mourners to “say goodbye” to their departed loved ones in whatever manner they wish; with a focus, more and more, on celebrations of the life of the deceased.
It was also an eye-opening experience due to the very calculated nature in which key investments have been made by the two entrepreneurs. This is particularly the case with the facility’s crematory; which has long-since paid for itself despite carrying a major price-tag.
I leave it to class blogger Mackenzie Whiteside to tell you more about our eye-opening visit to the McGuire and Davies Funeral Home and Crematory.
Our class recently had the opportunity to visit McGuire and Davies Funeral Home located here in Monmouth. The trip allowed us the opportunity to explore the funeral home, the industry, and the entrepreneurial venture of partners Aloysius “Al” McGuire and Trevor Davies.
Al McGuire was first introduced to the funeral industry while attending school at Loras College. Originally, Al was pursuing a secondary education degree, planning to eventually become a high school teacher. With college being a very expensive endeavor, Al decided to move into the upstairs apartment of a funeral home near campus to avoid campus living fees. While living there, he assisted the funeral directors with normal funeral home operations where he soon became very interested in the field of work. It was then he decided he wanted to pursue a degree in Mortuary Science.
After receiving his degree, Al went on to complete his apprenticeship at a funeral home in Chicago, IL. After some time, he decided to move his family to Monmouth where he became involved in a local funeral home. He worked diligently for this home for nearly twenty-one years before deciding to part ways. From there, Al decided that he wanted to start his own funeral home here in Monmouth. He, along with Trevor Davies, began to plan for this very large financial endeavor. The pair put everything they had on the line in order to fund this business: home mortgages, 401k’s, and even the local memorial park that Al owned.
During the first year of business, Al and Trevor did not have their own facility to work out of. Most of the office work was performed at the office for Al’s memorial park, and services were held at local churches. The lack of facility did not hinder their business at all. The pair were able to provide services for many families before the completion of their facility.
With the completion of their facility, Al and Trevor became the owners of the third local funeral home. The facility itself was uniquely designed to cater to the needs of their customers. The home includes a large room to be used for services, a kitchen, an office, the crematory, a showroom, and a meeting room for family consultations.
One of the main differences between this funeral home and those of local competitors is the crematory. This $90,000 investment is what gives their business its major competitive edge; as no competitor has one across several local counties. The two entrepreneurs are able to complete on site cremations, providing services for a family “from start to finish”. Although it seems like a large and potentially uncertain investment, Al informed us that it has already been well worth the money. Being the only crematory in the area not only gives their business an edge, but it also provides a useful option for other funeral homes in the area (that pay to use the McGuire and Davies Crematory for their clients).
In the 2016 election, Al McGuire was named the Coroner for Warren County. For the next four years, Al will serve his community not only through his own business, but also through his new line of work. McGuire and Davies have invested their lives into this industry and have been successful thus far. They believe in their business whole-heartedly and will continue to strive for success throughout the coming years.