James Reid founded his business in 1854, when the population of Kingston and area was about 15,000 and 30 to 40 vessels crowded into the city’s harbour. James Reid purchased a tavern at 254 Princess Street, renovated it and turned it into a furniture and casket factory. James Reid eventually passed his knowledge and business on to his son Fred, who continued to expand the funeral services. Fred was succeeded by his son James W. Reid, who became a respected Kingston figure known for his business ability. James W. Reid and his sons, Jim and David Reid, took the family business to a new level, adding a second funeral home in 1973 and a second furniture store in 1979, both located on John Counter Blvd. Jim and David Reid, the fourth generation of the Reid family, presently co-own and run James Reid Limited.
The original Princess Street storefront has been historically restored and houses an expanded furniture store. The Princess Street funeral home was closed in 1990 because of its limitations to meet the increasing needs of families. Original artefacts, letters and photographs from the family's nineteenth century history are on display in the John Counter Blvd funeral home. James Reid's is proud to be family-owned and family-run after all these years. Jim is proud of the service to Kingston families he and his staff provide today, with many yesterdays to build upon.