When Andrew Hickson opened the doors at Gate Lodge in Cemetery Road, St Neots on 1st October 2010, he admits he had little idea whether the business would become viable or not, but that if he didn’t try, he would never know. “I had worked for other funeral directors for nearly 20 years, so I knew I could cope with the practical side of the business, but running your own company brings with it responsibilities and challenges that I had never encountered before” says Andrew.
“When the buck stops firmly with you, there is nowhere to hide, and there’s no-one to pass any problems up to.”
“The funeral profession relies heavily on word-of-mouth and personal recommendation, and until I had tried and tested the niche which I thought we could fill, it really was impossible to predict how we would be received by the public.”
In November 2011, Kingfisher Funerals won the Hunts Post Local Business Accelerator award, and that boosted their local exposure considerably. “This was without doubt a turning point in the success of the company” says Andrew. “I had received a lot of positive feedback from clients, but having other professionals tell me that the business was fantastic gave me a real boost.”
“I knew Kingfisher Funerals was unique, and that being the only independent funeral director in St Neots meant I could focus entirely on my clients, but I hadn’t quite realised how dissatisfied the general public were with funerals. Kingfisher has brought an open and honest approach to what is traditionally a very closed-door profession.”
As Kingfisher Funerals has grown during the last three years, the company has had to take on more staff, and it now employs four full-time, qualified funeral directors. They are chosen for their ability to ensure the ‘can-do’ ethos of the company is always conveyed to everyone.
Last year, Kingfisher Funerals opened their second office, in Huntingdon, where they are also proudly unique in being the only independent funeral directors in the town.
“Many funeral directors look like small family firms, but are in fact owned by huge corporations,” says Andrew. “We encourage people to shop around and visit several funeral directors before making their choice. Compare the service and the price – there are often big differences between companies.”
“We are frequently told that our bright premises and our friendly, relaxed, personal service are the reasons clients have chosen us. We don’t tell you what you need, we listen to what you want.”
Kingfisher Independent Funeral Services are proud to be the only locally-owned, fully independent funeral directors in Huntingdon and St Neots. We are recommended locally on The Best of St Neots and nationally by The Natural Death Centre. Visit our Huntingdon website or our St Neots website, telephone us on (St Neots) 01480 471001 or (Huntingdon) 01480 412938, or call in and see us at Gate Lodge, Cemetery Road, St Neots PE19 2BX or 10-10A Princes Street, Huntingdon PE29 3PA (opposite the registrar).