ANDERSON — The parking lot was full of vehicles and several workers carried building supplies and painting equipment into the former Guilkey Funeral Home on Friday.
The flurry of recent activity is generated by a tight schedule from new owners who plan to reopen the funeral home by Oct. 1.
Indianapolis-based Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Centers purchased the property which will be operated by Legacy Cremation & Funeral Services, a division of the company. The funeral home has been closed since 2011.
Eddie Beagles, vice president of funeral operations for Legacy Cremation & Funeral Services, said a total of about $250,000 will be invested in the property, located at 504 W. Ninth St. He said the focus of the renovations will be on the interior of the building and restoring it to its former glory. The exterior will not be altered.
Legacy plans to offer funeral services that are more than 50 percent lower than other funeral homes in the Anderson area. A basic cremation service which includes a private family viewing and urn is $1,295. A more elaborate service that includes a public viewing, casket, memorial products, graveside committal and a family gathering for up to 40 people is $4,495.
“The average funeral in Anderson is about $10,000,” Beagles said. “This will be a big benefit for the citizens in Anderson because they will have a choice when it comes to funeral services and not be held hostage by prices.”
Legacy also offers veteran packages and pet funerals. Beagles said they have also purchased the land adjacent to the building on Eighth Street and would like to turn the property into a reception garden or partner with the historical district to turn it into a community garden.
"We want to be good neighbors," he said.
Gerald Bolinger, who lives across from the funeral home, said he is looking forward to meeting his new neighbor.
“I haven’t met them yet, but I hope they will introduce themselves,” he said.
Bolinger said most of his neighborhood has been turned into commercial properties and now only a few residents live nearby, but he hopes the new funeral home owners will follow in their predecessor’s footsteps and continue to be good neighbors.
He also said he was very close to his former neighbor, Stan Guilkey. Guilkey, who passed away in August 2011, owned and operated the funeral home on Historic West Eighth Street not far from Funk Park.
“He was always good to talk to,” Bolinger said of Guilkey. “I watched his property for him. It was sad when he died.”
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About the company Founded in 1881, Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Centers is owned by Bruce and Brian Buchanan. The company owns 16 event facilities throughout central Indiana -- six of which are combined with cemeteries -- as well as its crematory, the Cremation Center of Indiana. Many of the centers also host weddings, reunions, business retreats and community events.