When Chelsea and I learned that I’d been voted as The Eagle’s “Reader’s Choice Best Local Business Owner,” it was especially exciting and truly humbling. I wished my father and grandfather were here to share in this distinction. It was from them I learned how to be a business owner, and operate a business.
This award is most special because, frankly, we’re a family-owned funeral home business based in one building, competing mostly against corporately owned chains. This is a stunning prize, and it is so greatly appreciated.
Driving down our streets each morning on my way to work, I see many family names on buildings and business signs of locally owned businesses. There’s a great sense of history there, the Varisco Building, the Morehead building where ACME Glass is based, and the building that used to house “Chick” Sale’s Coca-Cola. Some have been in business as long as we have, for over 60 years, with second and third-generation owners leading them. Others are new to our town, having arrived with a business plan, starting with a dream and a promise.
As the City of Bryan has been improving the streets of what will soon be seen as “Midtown,” where our business has been over 60 years, the transformation will be as dynamic and exciting as the revival of our downtown businesses a few years back.
There are many benefits of being locally owned. One is you don’t have a three-ring binder of corporate operation guidelines to distribute. The person responsible for all decisions is in the office down the hall. When a customer comes in, our team doesn’t have to worry about what “corporate thinks.” We can respond immediately.
Our community is blessed with so many local owners, several of whom I grew up with here, who attended and graduated from BISD with me, or played on soccer teams or golf tournaments together, and more. We’re all in the local business owner category. Together, we proudly make Bryan-College Station unique and special, and we have a warm hometown feeling because we all try hard to support one another, buying locally first when we can.
Because Callaway-Jones Funeral Home is family-owned, I was able to bring together a diverse group of individuals who are a passionate team who love and care for our families deeply. I’ve been especially proud of how they have all worked together to assure all needs of our families and guests are taken care of, and all who come to pay respects and grieve their loved ones are treated with the most genuine compassion and quality service.
Another secret about my team? They’re each the very best at what they do. I’ve heard them on the phone with our families, counseling, consoling, and advising them how to proceed. I’ve watched as community members come in, six months after their loved one has passed, just for a cup of coffee or a hug. Imagine what it feels like to see longtime clients coming in to hug your employees’ necks. Or, when a family comes in and says the Jones family has been taking care of their family for three generations. I’m really proud of all of them.
On our team, each member is absolutely necessary and integral to our being what the fifth generation of Callaway-Jones Funeral Home is in our community—your local family business, functioning and thriving in our region because you respect our family. As owners, Chelsea and I share this award and distinction with our team and with each family who places their trust and loved one in our care. We thank each of you who voted for us and we proudly share this award with the generations before us who taught us to do the right thing every day as our goal, and to never give up faith in a national championship for Aggie football. Every day we are here, those are still our goals.
Cody D. Jones
Owner & Community Member