Bridgman Funeral Homes
NBDC loan assistance helps business stay in local hands
Before Cody Bridgman could purchase well-established funeral homes in Scottsbluff, Bridgeport and Mitchell, he was directed by his lender to the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) office in Scottsbluff to obtain assistance analyzing the existing businesses and formulating financial projections.
Bridgman worked with Margaret Akin, director of the NBDC Scottsbluff office. “She came highly recommended and for good reason,” Bridgman says. “She is knowledgeable and very passionate about what she does.”
At the time, Bridgman worked for Joliffe Funeral Homes as a licensed funeral director. A Sandhills area native who was raised on a ranch and remains “a cowboy at heart,” Bridgman had obtained his funeral director’s license in 2003. He then moved to Scottsbluff to complete his apprenticeship at a competing funeral home before joining the staff of the locally owned Joliffe homes.
“Cody requested assistance preparing financial projections for a bank loan to purchase 100 percent of the stock from Joliffe Funeral Homes,” Akin recalls. “To complete the deal with the bank, Cody needed to refinance multiple automobile loans, and a loan that was payable to one of Joliffe’s shareholders. I assisted with the financial projections, and ended up providing the lender with several versions.”
With Akin’s projections in hand, Bridgman was able to secure loans from the lender and the Small Business Administration (SBA) and complete the purchase.
He says it was important to him and the community to maintain the funeral homes’ local ownership. “Joliffe has been a trusted household name for many years in our area, and we want to carry on that tradition of individualized, family service,” Bridgman says.
The Bridgman Funeral Homes offer a full selection of funeral and memorial services, ranging from traditional to uniquely innovative and personal services, as well as burial services, cremation options and celebrant services. Bridgman employs 10 people and provides funeral services for a wide area, stretching from Torrington, Wyo., to Alliance, south to Sidney and west to Kimball.
Bridgman says he would recommend NBDC’s services to anyone attempting to purchase an existing business or start their own. “It was a very positive experience for me,” he says. “At no time did I ever feel pressured, or like I was not competent to run a business.”
He says Akin and the services NBDC provides proved integral to his ability to purchase the business. “Margaret was very thorough with the questions she needed to ask, and in her explanations of the processes so that I could understand what we were doing and why we were doing it,” he says. “The knowledge I gained was profound.”