This Family Funeral Home Has Served Its Detroit Community Since 1919. Here's How It Uses Technology to Stay Relevant. Antonio Green's great-grandfather opened James H. Cole Home for Funerals 102 years ago, and Green intends to carry his family legacy forward.

By Jason Feifer

As a new leader helps a company grow, they'll face a major question: What parts of this business stay as they are, and what parts need to evolve?

Now try answering that question at a 102-year-old company in an industry where change is rarely welcome.

That's Antonio Green's task as the director of his family's funeral home, the James H. Cole Home for Funerals in Detroit. It was opened in 1919 by his great-grandfather, and Green grew up watching how his family served and supported its community. He now wants to carry on that legacy — while also updating the company and setting it up for the next 100-plus years.

He's adopted new technological tools and expanded his definition of the community his business can serve. And he offers this advice to entrepreneurs — at companies one or 100 years old! — who want to try new things and see what works.

"We tend to fall into the mindset of, "If it doesn't work, trash it,'" he says. "You might be building something that might be used 10 years down the line, that you don't even know about. Just because it's something that doesn't catch fire right away, don't abandon it."

Instead, he says, try new things and constantly monitor their value. Maybe they serve a small role now — but can serve a big one later.

In this conversation, Green explains how he's implemented that strategy at the James H. Cole Home for Funerals.

Wavy Line
Jason Feifer

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief

Jason Feifer is the editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine and host of the podcast Problem Solvers. Outside of Entrepreneur, he is the author of the book Build For Tomorrow, which helps readers find new opportunities in times of change, as the host of the podcast Help Wanted, where he and cohost Nicole Lapin solve listeners' work problems. He also writes a newsletter called One Thing Better, which each week gives you one better way to build a career or company you love.

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