Funeral home opens in Fostoria

PHOTO BY JACOB GURNEY Hoening & Son Funeral Home, 133 W. Tiffin St., has had 24 services since it opened in July.

FOSTORIA — A new funeral home has opened in Fostoria.

Owner Terry Hoening said Hoening & Son Funeral Home, 133 W. Tiffin St., that opened in July, is he and his wife Barbara’s seventh funeral home and they also own and operate three crematories including a pet crematory. Terry and Barbara also are funeral directors and operators of the funeral homes owned by Hoening Funeral Home Inc.

Hoening said Hoening & Son Funeral Home is his third funeral home in Fostoria, as he owns Hoening Funeral Home, 242 W. Tiffin St. and Mann-Hare-Hoening Funeral Home, 407 N. Countyline St.

“The original Hoening location, my father, Thomas, purchased in 1963,” Hoening said. “That began our introduction to Fostoria. My dad was the funeral director and I bought the business from him after he got sick in 1991.”

Hoening said the funeral home business itself was founded by Ed Sullivan in 1921 and actually was on a corner of the property that Hoening & Son is located.

PHOTO BY JACOB GURNEY Hoening & Son Funeral Home owner Terry Hoening said the building has enough space to accommodate large funerals and visitation.

“After that, he moved it to 242 W. Tiffin St. and then Elmer Foos bought it and ran it for years before my dad purchased it. Now we basically came back to this location, so it’s kind of odd that we really came full circuit,” he said.

“Our business has grown in Fostoria … I knew that it would be a possibility to buy this building,” Hoening said. “I looked at this building back in the ’90s and it wasn’t publicly for sale at that time, but I knew this structure would function well as a funeral home.”

Terry said Hoening Holdings LLC, which is owned by him and his wife and focuses on property, purchased the property for $150,000 in December 2015. It took eight to nine months for them to decide to make it a funeral home, he said.

“We didn’t want to necessarily eliminate our other existing funeral homes, but compliment them,” he said. “Its goal was to accommodate large visitations and funerals because of the size of the interior and parking – we have about 100 parking spaces off the street.”

Hoening said the property, which is one of the larger locations he owns, is 65,000 square feet and has a lot of office space, including a lower-level gathering space, that makes it comfortable to meet with families. The building formerly was the site of KeyBank and they were able to maintain the original bank vault which is a unique feature, he said. He said a lot of the administration of the other funeral homes is being done at this new location.

Building renovations included putting in an elevator, re-carpeting, adding new heating and cooling systems, room divisions, new furnishings and updating the signage, he said.

One of the unique features of the building is the dome on top, and the funeral home lights the dome whenever they are serving a family out of respect for the individual, Hoening said.

“When people drive by or see the dome light on, they know we are handling a funeral for someone in the community or area,” he said. “It really is just a nice little token of respect.”

Hoening wanted to open another location because the business was growing and they appreciated having more space for their customers. The comforts and convenience of the space and how it functions was the primary motivating factor for the purchase, Hoening said.

“This was a customer-driven purchase,” he said. “This is something that we are proud to offer for the families that choose our services. We’ve been committed to funeral service and as my son Terrence works with me and gradually works into the business and starts to take over the business, I think this is a sound decision for his future … It’s built and designed to serve all people.”

Whenever a service is going on the signage in the front and back has the times so people know when it is and know they’re in the right place, he said.

“We try and do a lot of things here to make it comfortable for people when they arrive,” he said. “It’s really just designed for the comfort of the people.”

Hoening said he sees value in what they do because he thinks it bridges a gap in helping families heal.

“We started with very humble beginnings, but what has made our business a success is truly having personal attention to families and high quality service. It’s what made us unique. I’ve never been a believer that just pure bricks and mortar means you are going to have a good funeral home,” Hoening said. “This has really taken what we do to a new level and its enhanced what we do.”

Hoening went to mortuary school in 1984, became licensed in 1985 and has spent the past 32 years in the business. He said it has changed over the years.

“Today, what we see is visitations and funerals are more condensed. People don’t often have two days of visitation, sometimes not even one day and sometimes it’s all done in one day,” he said. “This facility will allow for that to function very well because of its space and its size. It helps alleviate congestion and what I call kind of, ‘confusing confusion.’ It will fit the trends of the future with more intensity.”

Hoening said between their locations, they serve close to 400 families a year and they have had 24 services at this new location so far. He also said the pre-arrangement business is significant and is something they control tightly because it’s their future and it’s important to establish long-term relationships with families.

“We spend as much time today meeting with families ahead of time and pre-planning as we do the actual service and it has become an integral part of our operation which is something we didn’t do much of early in my career,” he said. “Today, we are actually a part of the funeral planning process and only licensed funeral directors meet with our families … we want people to know that when they meet with us here, they’re meeting with a funeral director, not a salesman.”

Hoening said one of the things they’re most proud of is being invited to join the Selected and Independent Funeral Homes. The group is “member by invitation” and only about 3 to 5-percent of funeral homes across the country are members, he said.

“We were invited to become a member based on our reputation and our service to families,” Hoening said. “Being a member of Selected and Independent Funeral Homes is a real honor. All of our funeral homes are members. It’s a really quality, quality group. It’s simply fantastic.”

“This group really is the cream of the crop. To become a member of that you’ve got to prove to them that you’re quality and maintain it,” Hoening added. “Through surveys, families have all said they would recommend our services and that’s how we say ‘the business is built.’ Offering services to meet every customer in the community may be a challenge, but we feel we can do that.”

Hoening said staff can schedule personal tours of the funeral home.

Hoening & Son is open 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:30 a.m.-Noon Saturdays and are available any time by appointment. To contact Hoening Family Funeral Homes, visit its website at www.Hoening or call (419) 435-8200.