The Funeral Co-Operative of Ottawa (FCO), is a nonprofit, community owned organization providing a new option for residents of Ottawa for funeral services. Inspired by La Coopérative funéraire de l’Outaouais, which was launched in 1979, the FCO will provide an alternative option to private funeral homes. With approximately 5000 funerals per year in the City of Ottawa the Funeral Co-Operative hopes to capture 2% of the market and will not “upsell” its clientele. Anyone can use the services of the FCO however members will benefit from a reduced rate of 10% for services and merchandise. The Co-op is owned by anyone who buys a lifetime membership for $20.
The Funeral Co-operative, located on St. Laurent Boulevard across from the Beechwood Cemetery consists of an office for the funeral director, a meeting room, preparation room and show room for caskets and urns. FCO will also rent other facilities in the community for visitations, religious and memorial services and receptions. FCO needed money to fund start up costs associated with renovating the space, hiring a Funeral Director, and publicizing services offered to the community.
How CFFAC Helped
CFFAC introduced FCO to a lender of patient capital to fund the costs of its leasehold improvements. A loan from the Community Forward Fund to the Funeral Co-Operative provided permanent working capital to fund its operating expenses until such time as FCO’s business matures. The loan has been used to fund start up costs such as hiring a Funeral Director and assistant and marketing the funeral establishment to the community. Mark Goldblatt, volunteer President for the Funeral Co-op stated, “Working with the Community Forward Fund meant working with a creative Lender who understood our business and passion. Co-operatives have a long-standing history in Canada and we found that the staff and management at the Community Forward Fund were well versed in the ins and outs of the Co-operative system. They really understood the vision for FCO.”