SCI Acquires 166-Year-Old Schoedinger Funeral & Cremation Service
Service Corporation International, better known in deathcare as SCI, has acquired Schoedinger Funeral & Cremation Service, one of America’s oldest family-owned firms.
Schoedinger has been a fixture in Columbus, Ohio since 1855 when German immigrant Philip Schoedinger started making caskets. Six generations of Schoedingers later, the firm has 12 funeral homes and 180 employees, and performs more than 10,000 human and pet services per year.
The acquisition is a coup for SCI, which is already the largest operator of funeral homes in the United States. According to SCI’s September 2021 Investor Fact Sheet, 15% to 16% of all funeral homes fall under the SCI umbrella, while other large consolidators hold only 5% combined. Independent funeral homes make up the other 80%.
“Anyway you look at it, this is a big acquisition in our profession,” says Tom Anderson of Funeral Director Daily. “Schoedinger’s purported 10,000 cases represents an approximate 2% increase in volume for SCI.”
Michael Schoedinger, President and sixth-generation leader of Schoedinger Funeral & Cremation, believes the agreement represents a mutually beneficial opportunity for all parties involved.
“We’re partnering with the largest funeral home operator in the U.S.,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “This will allow us to grow even more. It’s nice to have that financial support. Some buildings are ready for improvements. Our big one on State Street Downtown, they’ve committed a significant amount of money to improve the crematory operations there, and our pet business.”
More Options for Families
Schoedinger added that SCI’s wide-reaching footprint and scale — 1,900 funeral homes and cemeteries in 44 states, eight Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — will allow families more options.
“If someone wants their crematory remains scattered elsewhere, such as in the Rocky Mountains, we can offer that now without paying a lot of money,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to improve and hopefully offer better services.”
On its website, SCI lists additional benefits of partnering with them, including “financial security, innovative ideas and solutions, and growth and career development opportunities for associates.”
Currently, five Schoedinger employees are members of the same family who have served the Columbus, Ohio area for 166 years. Michael Schoedinger says those employees have agreed to remain on staff “long-term.”
“We have mixed emotions because we love our company, we love what we’ve done to help central Ohio families through really tough times,” he said. “Our staff is responding well. We all probably have mixed emotions.”
Should we expect to see more announcements like these in 2022? Succession planning is certainly top of mind for a growing number of deathcare owners. Watch for more insight into this topic coming soon to Connecting Directors.