Ashley Cozine is a third-generation funeral director and president of Broadway Mortuary.
His grandfather bought Broadway Mortuary in 1951, and today Cozine and his father, Bill, own it. They have also owned Kensington Gardens cemetery at Greenwich and K-96 since 1999.
The 44-year-old father of four — with another child on the way — caused a stir about five years ago when he tried to bring a Bass Pro Shop to land he owned next to the cemetery, but that deal didn't pan out.
He was recently elected to the executive board of the National Funeral Directors Association.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
"Well, a lot of people think the funeral home business is recession-proof. The number of people continue to die at a consistent level, but in a recession maybe the decisions that families make (about the funeral services) are different."
How much does a funeral cost?
"You are probably looking at $5,000, $6,000, although that can be different at different locations."
Do you advise people to price-shop?
"The Internet is a good thing for that. It is important to call people and get a sense of the level of care and compassion they have. You can go to a very inexpensive place, but you get what you pay for, sometimes.
"I would call around, visit locations. We all know we are going to die at some point and it makes sense to be informed."
Are you still interested in commercial development?
"I met a lot of really interesting people from all of the country and developed some great relationships with Bass Pro. But the economy tanked around that time and, quite frankly, funeral service is my passion; it's what my family has passed down for many generations.
"It was a question of where do you spend your time, and this is what I love."
What are your plans for the future?
"We have exciting plans that include putting in a mortuary there (at Kensington Gardens). We hope to do that within the next couple of years."