Financial Literacy Month Business Spotlight with Evans St. Fort

SOUTH FLORIDA – April is Financial Literacy Month and the South Florida Caribbean News Team had the opportunity to meet Evans St. Fort, Licensed Funeral Director and CEO of St. Forts Funeral Home.

Financial Literacy Month Business Spotlight with Evans St. Fort

Evans St. Fort

Q: Tell us what you do and how you got started.

A: My father had owned his own funeral home in Haiti, which I would say was a big inspiration for me. He was something of a “serial entrepreneur.”

Q: Would you say he’s your business role model?

A: Yes, he is a father, provider, mentor… He leads by example, he doesn’t tell me what to do. At first, I expected him to sit with me and tell me what to do, but his response was for me to seek that information myself. I watched him in action, and I appreciate all that he’s done. He never had to sit me down. He’s a great role model. Other than him I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say, I wanna be like anybody else. I want to be like me. I’m happy with where I’m at.

Q: So Evans, tell us how you went from a high school student in Miami to the CEO and owner of what’s regarded as the Ritz Carlton of Funeral Homes?

A: I went to high school in Miami, and after graduation, I took my core classes at St. Thomas University, before going to Lynn University to study Mortuary Science. Lynn and Miami Dade were the only schools that offered it at the time. I graduated second in my class and interned with a company called Fred Hunters. I eventually spotted a vacant funeral home when I was 25, and I approached the owners with some offers until we were able to work something out. So I purchased the building, and I’ve now been running it for 13 years. 

Q: As a new business owner, did it take you a while to get on your feet?

A: The first 3 years were pretty hard, we were in the red. I was very young, 25, running a business on my own. I had to supplement income from other funeral homes that I worked at, and it took me 5 years to take a vacation. Now, my staff has grown, and I oversee it all. 

Q: What is it about your business that draws the comparison to the luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotels?

A: From the beginning, we’ve established ourselves in the Miami/ North Miami Beach community as the “Ritz Carlton of Funeral Homes.” With the company, everyone has taste, and I wanted specific comfortability… There’s yoga, massage therapy, counseling, and other programs… We really do everything, A-Z; selling the merchandise, caterers, reception, wake, caskets, urns, flowers… Our goal is to be something of a one-stop shop.

Q: Why do you think St. Fort’s Funeral Home has been able to stay in business for over a decade?

A: You can’t be stagnant in anything you do, if you’re stagnant you stay behind. It’s the same with any industry; staying on top of the game, continuing to educate yourself… Whatever is new, you’re apart of that and are the ones who are creating that. I look at my competitors, most are competing for what I have. I notice they’re doing the same as what I’m doing, so apparently, I must be doing something right as a leader… I enjoy leading the pack in what the industry is doing.

Q: What’s a fun fact about you that would surprise people?

A: I’m very shy and reserved… Peoples first impression of me isn’t that at all.

Q: Which life experiences or events influenced who you are, what you think, and what you do?

A: I started this business at such a young age and dealing with death…I started drinking. But it took getting to that place to help me want to be a better person and become more focused. I’m very spiritual and faithful to god… My parents have instilled in me that God will lead you, so first thing –  I give thanks to god and communicate with him. I have a daughter and son who look up to me, my own bird’s nest that make me want to be the best I can be.

Q: How do you stay so focused?

A: I’m pretty disciplined, I’ve always been like that. I attribute a lot of that to very strict parents… Mom was the more disciplinary. I don’t really know about a ‘childhood’… At 15 I had to look over the household; make sure bills were paid on time, driving with a restricted license to take my siblings to school… I had a lot of responsibility in my life, I  had to be disciplined. I didn’t even know what Disney Land was… Plus being an athlete, I had no time for sleepovers or going out… Being an athlete also molded my focus…

Q: Since you’re already running a successful funeral home, what would you consider to be your other dream job?

A: If I owned a hotel, speaking it into existence… I’d love taking care of individuals, in terms of having that incredible detail and ultra luxury. I love the idea of people walking in somewhere and having a one of a kind experience and inventing things to add to that experience.

Q: Do you have a favorite book you’d like to recommend?

A: In my  Jesus People Ministries’ class on financial freedom, I had a book for a class called, “The Richest Man To Babylon” … That book alone, when it comes to just me and knowing how to manage money and what to do with money, that book has molded me, and I continue to apply it to this day. It’s the best book I’ve read.

Q: Aside from picking up The Richest Man to Babylon, what’s the best piece of advice you can offer young entrepreneurs?

A: With entrepreneurship, it doesn’t stop. You can’t do something and just be okay with it. You have to be consistent at what you do, willing to want to grow and change with the times. I was an athlete and the things that I learned in school, I apply it to business; practice makes perfect, etc. Everyone thinks they know it all and I want to tell everyone – be a great listener; less talking and more listening.

Q: How can our readers connect with you?

A: They can email me at evans@stfortsuneralhomes.com and find us at www.stfortsfuneralhome.com.

Funeral Planning Workshop Series Hosted By Evans St. Forts and St. Forts Funeral Home

Workshop to help you  make an educated decision Planning and Living a Peaceful End-Of-Life

Date: Thursday, April 30, 2019

Time:6pm-8pm

Location-St. Forts Funeral Home-16480 NE 19th Ave, North Miami Beach, FL 33162

RSVP: info@harrispublicrelations.com

 

Topics for Discussion

**Estate Planning

**Pre-Arranged Funeral Planning

**Wills

Planning past your own future seems a little strange, however, and funeral planning is generally seen as a project for the elderly. You’re never too young to plan a better future for you and your family. Whether you are 30, 40 or 50, peace of mind for the loved ones you will leave behind is priceless and having a pre-paid funeral plan can make a difficult situation so much easier.

How to determine your budget and consider the wishes of the deceased.Burial or cremation? Understand the costs involved.

Bring a friend! If you are a veteran or the spouse of a veteran, this will be especially insightful to you and your family.

** Refreshments will be served

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