Deena Pulaski, knows all about the roller coaster ride of being a small business owner in LaPorte, Indiana .
Deena and her husband, Casmir own the Lakeview Funeral Home, Midwest Crematorium Center and a retail web site, theurnstore.com. Casmir is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. Deena is a licensed pre-need insurance counselor and mother of two boys, in high school and 2nd grade.
After graduating from mortuary school, Casmir worked as a funeral director and quickly saw a business opportunity as a trade embalmer serving a 60 mile area that covers both Indiana and Michigan. He’s licensed in both states. After building on his contacts, he added a crematory in 2005.
When the Pulaski’s decided to offer direct cremation to the public for $895.00, it wasn’t well received with the local competition. La Porte is a bedroom community of approx. 22,000 with three long established funeral homes in town, and at least 15 more in the surrounding area. Operators were less than thrilled when a year later the Pulaski’s moved in to a vacant lawn and garden center building on the busiest county road in the state.
“We always knew that we’d own a funeral home, but imagined that we’d purchase an existing business, and it would be later than sooner!” said Deena
“We just didn’t expect it to happen so soon, but when this place became available, we felt like we had to do it. ” The two-story building has lots of natural light, a wide front porch with adjacent property that can handle future development. The Lakeview Funeral Home is the only funeral home in LaPorte with it’s own crematory.
“When the weather’s been nice, we’ve been able to have some nice military services outdoors. The families really seem to like the change of scenery.”
The location has been good for the Pulaski’s. Competing with 100 year old firms in the area, Deena expected that it would take several years to build the business. “By our second year anniversary we had already surpassed our projections.” Casmir still has travels, but has been able to reduce time on the road and even savor a rare long weekend.