Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:37 pm

When death is imminent, Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker Funeral Home seeks to provide ongoing support to the family with calls, cards and a warm and caring environment.

“When a family calls us, it is usually when a death has occurred or a loved one is near death,” said Mary Lou Charapata, who owns the funeral home.

For families, it is usually one of the most difficult days of their lives, Charapata said.

“From that day on, their lives will have changed in some way forever,” she said. “So from that call, customer focus and dedication becomes our No. 1 one priority. It is our mission to help every family in every way we can to ease the burden and help the family begin the healing process.”

To successfully execute the numerous ways in which Charapata sets out to assist the families, she and her staff engage in ongoing in- and out-of-house training programs. The company’s 11 percent increase in revenues to $1.2 million in the last year demonstrates the success of Charapata’s leadership and philosophies.

Those training programs are one element of how Charapata empowers her staff to succeed.

“One of our greatest examples of empowerment and development was the process of developing our company’s strategic plan,” Charapata said.

Every employee became involved in the process of writing the funeral home’s mission, visions and value statements. Employees researched other companies’ statements.

“The findings were surprising,” Charapata said. “Some companies didn’t have any. Some companies had them, (but) their employees didn’t know what they meant or where to locate them.”

“That is when I knew staff involvement and empowerment was the key to my business success,” she said.

Charapata holds regular staff meetings, in which all employees’ ideas are considered, a nod to the empowerment she strives for.

“Shared decision-making is part of my business and leadership philosophy,” Charapata said.

Charapata said the key to the success of the funeral home is her staff.

“They bring such good insights and perspectives to the business. Our success is to their credit, not mine,” she said. “People that work here don’t just take a job, they have a calling and a genuine want to help people, and they’re genuinely very passionate about the work they do.”

Community service is an integral part of Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker Funeral Home’s business model, Charapata said. In addition to donating money to Waukesha groups and organizations, Charapata said the funeral home staff is actively involved in service organizations.

Another way Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker Funeral Home supports the community is by giving support to other local businesses. Charapata said she purchases from Waukesha businesses and encourages her staff to do the same for business and personal needs.

“It is good business practice to support and help all the community service organizations and local business,” Charapata said. “This business practice helps our community grow and thrive. We are committed to doing our part in making Waukesha a great place to work and live.”

One innovation the funeral home started 17 years ago has really placed the funeral home a step above the competition, Charapata said. That innovation is a holiday memorial service to honor those who have died.

“We weren’t just here for you last year, five years go or 10 years ago. The holidays are coming up, and that’s a difficult time, and we’re always going to be here for you,” she said.

Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker Funeral Home

Location: 237 N. Moreland Blvd., Waukesha

Year established: 1897

Number of employees: 20

Web site: www.waukehsafuneralhome.com

Main products/services:

Funeral service

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