Originally, Adam Martin didn’t want to get into the family business. Inspired by the work Walt Disney did with his theme parks and resorts, he left for Las Vegas where he studied hotel and restaurant management.

After graduation, Martin came back to Genesee County and worked for the family business in the interim until he found a job managing a Bob Evans restaurant. There he met his future wife and life, as he knew it, changed.

“When I was dating my wife, I realized there was a lot I could learn from my family about the business,” says Martin “Interacting with clients, I began to receive those ‘paychecks that you can’t cash,’ when someone thanks you and means it from the bottom of their heart. That became irreplaceable to me.”

So, he went to mortuary school and, 12 years ago, he and his wife purchased the family business.

Now, Martin owns Martin Funeral Home and Cremation & Tribute Services, a highly recognized funeral home that includes accolades such as the Pursuit of Excellence Award issued by the National Funeral Directors Association; an award the funeral home has received more times than any other funeral home in Michigan.

What are the benefits of owning a family business?

Why stay in Genesee County?

I call it home. I would like to believe after 90 years our family knows how to take care of people. We have families we have worked with who relocated and we wanted to expand to have another location in the southern portion of the county.

How would you describe the area to an outsider?

There is a lot that people don’t know about. We recently had the opportunity to host an international study group and had three funeral directors come to Grand Blanc from Canada, the Philippines and Australia. It was nice to discuss the positive things about Genesee County with them and explain the difficulties we’ve been through. They had a great time. We took them to the Torch for a burger, went to the Fire Hall in Fenton and explored Grand Blanc.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?

Making sure that people see a value in whatever we are offering. Some services are easy – if your car breaks down and someone fixes it, that is tangible. But if someone passes away you need someone to guide you through the process. We aren’t simply providing a service, there is grief and mourning that is involved as well.

How does your family fit into your business?

My wife works alongside me on most decisions we have – she does HR and payroll. She is a lot better than I am at interviewing and hiring. However, she also doesn’t work as many hours as I do because she takes care of our 11-year-old daughter.

Does your daughter want to continue the family business?

She is 100 percent all about wanting to be a funeral director at this point in her life. I continuously tell her she has time to change her mind since she is only 11, but I am not sure she will.

As a business owner, how are you involved in the community?

We do as much as we can for the community. For example, our family has organized the Memorial Day parade in Mt. Morris for the last 40 years or so. My grandfather was the chairman, then my father and now I chair the parade.

What advice would you give to other business owners?

You need to be involved in your community somehow. People do business with who they know and who they like. Get involved in your local chamber, civic groups or church. Find the opportunity to meet people in the community. It is the old school way, but it is the right way.

For more information on Martin Funeral Home, Cremation & Tribute Services, visit their website at www.martinfuneralhome.com.