Tom and Erich Schepp opened their new funeral home facility in Minoa last week. The Schepps have been performing funeral services in the Eastern suburbs for over 100 years.
continued “People knew I owned this property in Minoa and were expecting [me to build here,]” Schepp said. “There wasn’t a pressing need to do it, but my vision was to have all three alike, so that prompted me to move on.”
Schepp explained that they’ve been able to cut costs by sharing resources between the three facilities. For example, they have one set of cars, instead of three, that can go wherever needed. And instead of a separate staff at each funeral home, Schepp has one staff that is able to travel wherever needed.
“We’ve been able to dramatically control our costs while, at the same time, provide the same community services that folks are used to,” he said.
For Schepp, there is no “normal day” at the office. With a schedule that revolves around funerals and calling hours, it’s hard to plan too far in advance. If there’s a funeral that day, Schepp said he’ll usually get done with calling hours by 8 or 9 p.m. But the phone could ring at any time in the middle of the night – which could call for 24 or 36 hour days.
“At the funeral, you’re kind of the master of ceremonies,” he said. “You have to, in a very non-obstructive way, make sure everything goes smoothly. You can’t be in the center ring – it’s not about us – it’s about a family grieving, focusing on the person who died.”
Funeral directors have a tough role to fill – they can’t be morose, but at the same time, they can’t walk into the service with a huge smile on their faces. Schepp said his upbringing helped him understand how to play that role and help all different kinds of people through the grieving process.
“I’m not normal – I grew up in a funeral home,” he said. “For me to see a casket in the garage was no big deal. I have a completely different sensitivity to death than practically everyone else. And I think it’s given me a more balanced view of life.”