Small businesses get a lift from bank program

This article was published on July 20, 2011 in The Times-Picayune.  

As a 10-year-old, Malcolm Gibson of New Orleans knew he wanted to be a mortician.

After being impressed at his grandfather’s funeral by the mortician’s ability to transform the body of someone who looked deathly ill to the way he remembered his grandfather in the best of health, Gibson knew that he would one day help families in much the same way.

“Seeing my poppa look so good helped me cope — it made me feel like he was in a better place,” Gibson said.

So after high school, Gibson went on to mortician school and later founded Professional Funeral Services, a funeral home located in the 7th Ward. He became known for his commitment to families, and his business flourished. But for many years, despite steadily rising revenues, Gibson was still operating deep in the red.

“I knew how to care for families and help them through the grieving process, but I couldn’t organize my business in a way that was sustainable,” said Gibson, now 41. “I’m a funeral director by nature, not an entrepreneur.”
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