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Low cost funeral home set to open in Herkimer

By WKTV News

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - Dan Enea has grown up in the funeral home business, and was a Herkimer County coroner for a while before moving to Orlando, Florida two years ago where opened what is called a low-cost funeral home.

He is now in the process of renovating an old law office along a rural section of Route 5 in Herkimer to open a similar funeral home here, not far from where he grew up in Little Falls.

Enea says the times are changing and so is the funeral business, "When I was first growing up in the business here in Upstate New York, it was traditional to do the 2:00 to 4:00, and 7:00 to 9:00 viewing and calling hours, whereas now the new generation is opting for more minimal services, one day, one hour before, or they go right to their own church and have the service right there."

Enea says his business in Florida is booming, mainly because of the economy and the transient nature of the state.

He says many people retire in Florida, and instead of having their body brought back to where they lived before, they are being buried or in many more cases, cremated, "States like Florida, it's probably about 70 percent cremation, and I would say up here it's climbing up to about 50 percent."

Enea says he keeps his prices lower than other funeral homes and that is a big draw these days in these difficult economic times, "Sometimes funeral homes have these fancy cars and the brand new hearses and where we can keep that to a minimum and also keep the family happy at the same time. We keep our overhead down and we are able to offer more reasonable prices."

That's why he believes a low cost option will thrive here as well.

But what's to say a funeral home that's already open in our area wants to call itself 'low cost'.

Enea says it's easy to see if they are, all you have to do is compare prices and says the way to do that is through a federal document all funeral homes must provide consumers, it's called the General Price List, or GPL.

He says you can get a copy of the GPL from each and every funeral home you want to before signing on the dotted line, "Every funeral director that you come in contact with, in regards to making a funeral arrangement, by law has to give you a copy of the General Price List and that shows exactly the charge for embalming, the use of their facilities, the hearse, the limousine, etc.... And I encourage people to compare, I really do."

Jana Haldenwang, of the Campbell-Dean Funeral Homes in Oneida and Canastota is also President of the Tri-County Funeral Directors Association.

She says people can request a general price list from any funeral home they wish and compare, and she says more and more people are doing that in their pre-planning.

She also adds that she has heard about these so-called 'low cost' funeral homes popping up across the country, but Enea's is the first she's heard of here in our area, "I guess it was just a matter of time before we had one show up."

Enea is awaiting approval from the state and local level of the changes he has made to the property along Route 5 in Herkimer before he can open.

He says he does not want to release the name of the funeral home until he gets that approval, but does say he hopes to open by late July.

His new funeral home will not be affiliated with any other Enea funeral home already open in Herkimer County.

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