Funeral Industry News

Funeral Home Hosts Weddings, Parties

September 30, 2009
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Funeral Home Hosts Weddings, Parties

image SOLON ? One of the oldest, most well-known types of businesses is trying to reinvent itself. It’s normally thought of as recession-proof. Now, owners are turning a place typically filled with sorrow into a scenic, social center.

One of the most popular places to host an event in Solon sits right next to a cemetery. People don’t seem to mind, though.

“It’s a very nice, comfortable room,? John McFarland said.

A full-service kitchen and bar has people lining up to party there. But, step upstairs and you might come across someone weeping.

“They said, ‘You’re going to marry them and bury them.’ You know, I guess we are doing some of that,” co-owner and manager Christine Brosh said.

The Brosh Chapel and Community Center serves as a chapel, an events center and… a funeral home. Even though the concept might sound shocking, founders argue it just makes sense.

“Like any church you would go to…do they have funerals? Yes. Do they have weddings? Yes,? Brosh said.

Business has been so successful, the Brosh Chapel is building another similar facility in Cedar Rapids.

“Once they see it and understand it, they more readily accept it,? owner Matt Linn said. Linn plans to separate the parties from the parlor by putting them in different wings of the building. “We’re not advertising as Brosh Chapel. We’re advertising as the AvaCentre,? Linn said.

Back in Solon, residents say the physical separation between the two parts of the building has helped people warm up to the idea.

“When you’re upstairs, you’re always at visitations and it’s really setup nice and convenient for the families. When you’re downstairs, you don’t think about it at all,? Solon resident Denny Gruber said.

McFarland said, ?I really don’t feel like I’m in a funeral home.?

Owners still consider this a funeral home first and refuse to schedule many events during the week. “Funerals are priorities,? Brosh said.

What was once considered taboo has become trendy. The Brosh Chapel now hosts more than twice as many parties as funerals.

Brosh Chapel in Solon already has plenty of business lined up for next year. Half of the wedding and event weekends are already booked. However, they never schedule a wedding and a funeral at the same time.

The Cedar Rapids location should open by early next year. This has become nationwide trend as funeral homes attempt to diversify.

A survey from the National Funeral Directors Association found half of funeral homes saw a decrease in sales in 2008. Not from fewer funerals, but less expensive ones.

Eighty percent say people are opting for cheaper caskets. Less expensive cremations are up twelve percent since 2000. 74% are holding mourning events outside a funeral home.

Article By: Mark Geary