Unity Bank has provided a significant Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to the McCriskin-Gustafson Home for Funerals of South Plainfield to fund the recent acquisition of three Middlesex County funeral homes. The bank also provided an additional commercial loan to the funeral home to offset the down payment for the acquisition from SJM Partners of Reston, Va. and initial operating and renovation cost.

McCriskin-Gustafson, located at 2425 Plainfield Avenue in South Plainfield, has acquired the business and property of South Plainfield Funeral Home at 2456 Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield; Middlesex Funeral Home at 528 Bound Brook Road, Middlesex; and Piscataway Funeral Home at 18 Stelton Road, Piscataway. Business partners James A. Gustafson, 42, and Richard W. McCriskin, 36, both lifelong South Plainfield residents, said the newly acquired funeral homes continue to operate under their existing names, but with the mission of an independent, family-owned and operated funeral home.

“The close proximity of the three sites, particularly the Plainfield Avenue location, which is directly across the street from our main funeral home, provides many opportunities to streamline operations and control operating costs,” said Gustafson. “The multiple sites also provide options for families who now can choose what location is most convenient and safest in terms of procession route driving.”

Gustafson said the funeral home may eventually transition its property at 2456 South Plainfield Avenue to become a memorial center – a community-gathering place for memorial celebration where the body is not present.

“The national trend in the funeral service industry has been more toward large corporate chain providers, but we believe our type of service should be beholden to families not stock holders,” Gustafson said. “When they come to any of our facilities, families also know they are receiving the quality service our funeral home has developed a reputation for over the last 60-plus years.”

April 2 2015