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Drawing from the Strength of Family and the SBA Muni Program—Strawbridge Memorial Chapel
In July of 2008, Stephanie Strawbridge experienced what a lot of Americans were experiencing around that time, a layoff. But, Ms. Strawbridge's situation began to differ when her layoff was followed by the layoff of two other immediate family members in the same month. Stephanie will be the first to tell you that “blessings come in disguise.”
The three family members, rather than focusing on their loss, focused instead on their shared dream of starting a family business. By the latter part of July 2008 with the leadership provided by Stephanie Strawbridge, (who had been in the funeral industry since 1989 and who previously thought that all odds were against her), secured a location at 3612 E.116th Street in the Mt. Pleasant Community for their new funeral home business. By October 2008, the first funeral home in the City of Cleveland to be established by an African American woman had opened its doors.
"I was originally introduced to the funeral industry by my grandfather, William Strawbridge in 1989 and from then on we were determined that one day we would open a family business of our own, we just weren't sure when and how," said owner Stephanie Strawbridge.
Strawbridge Memorial Chapel began as a small funeral home that has experienced a great deal of growth within that last few years, and has outgrown its current space. The company then acquired a building located at 3934 Lee Road for $175,000, that allowed for an additional 15,000+ square feet of space. The City assisted with this acquisition by filling a financing gap of $26,250 through the SBA Municipal Small Business Initiative Program (SBA Muni).
Strawbridge Memorial Chapel continues to grow and prosper, expecting to hire an additional two full-time employees. The City is pleased to take part in the growth of a business that could not have expanded as easily without the assistance provided through the SBA Muni program and the Department of Economic Development.
For additional questions regarding this project or the SBA Muni Program please contact Shashonna Duckworth at 216.664.3010.
photo credit: James W. Wade III