Professional Development

For Today's Funeral Professional

CHAPMAN FUNERAL HOMES MORE FOCUSED ON FAMILIES

With three locations throughout Kanawha Valley, West Virginia, the Chapman-Bartlett Funeral Homes are known for providing high levels of service. The venture had its humble beginnings in the suburb of Winfield in 1959 when John Chapman Jr. moved his family into the second floor of his new business. In 1965, Chapman had the foresight to open a second location in the fastest growing area of West Virginia -- Teays Valley.

With the passion of the funeral industry in his blood, Chapman’s oldest son, John Chapman III, continued his father’s operation by taking ownership of the home in 1979. Today, all of the homes, as well as a crematory added in 2002, are newly renovated for better accessibility and comfort.

Now the current owner of all three homes, John III, his wife Debra and two sons Jake and Jared have carried on the Chapman reputation of serving the community by attending to every detail of funeral services and offering the finest personal service to families. With an expert staff of 15 funeral directors, the Chapman family has the ability to give families services equal to that of the largest funeral homes, but with the personalized attention of a smaller home.

With such a large staff and several locations, the team understands the importance of continued training to strengthen their cohesive and empathetic service. When funeral industry services leader Aurora introduced them to the Lifetimes training program this past year, the group never imagined the success it would yield for their business.

Lifetimes gave Chapman Funeral Homes the chance to begin transitioning into a stronger focus on the service of families choosing cremation, something they said they felt was absent.  Adapting with the growing cremation demand was important to the growth of the Chapman Home, and Aurora’s Lifetimes training was a significant step to providing better cremation options and services for families. The program helped changed some pre-conceived negative perceptions that existed among staff toward cremation by including the directors in the development of the vocabulary used and in the comprehensive services provided.

And, as the staff is comprised of a wide variety of ages, Lifetimes also gave the staff the tools to communicate more effectively with each other as well as customers across generations. Chapman Funeral Homes began to embrace more modern strategies and more efficient business processes, and became more willing to embrace the changes in funeral services prevalent today.

One of the youngest directors of the group, Rachel Fischer called the Lifetimes program the most innovative and valuable course that she has experienced in her last seven years at Chapman Funeral Homes. “Lifetimes provided an interesting discussion on empathy and relating to families. We are always honest with the families and I believed we were empathetic to their loss, but the program really sharpened my focus and added finesse to my arrangement process,” Fischer said.

Fischer and her team were introduced to a more balanced process of arrangement through Lifetimes, and offered ideas and choices to ensure families are pleased with the service – regardless of the type of service selected. She explained that the topics most relevant to their home included meeting the need of cremation families, advanced cremation arrangements, leading the next generation of home leaders, and fostering a better working relationship with the many generations common in most funeral homes.

Lifetimes offered Chapman Funeral Homes simple and practical processes for uncovering what families need early in the arrangement process, and how best to serve those needs. All three Chapman Funeral Homes now have the ability and tools to continue the strong reputation developed more than 40 years ago and better understand how to create meaning and strong relationships with the community they serve.