Wells Funeral Home purchases former press building

By Caroline Klapper | Nov 21, 2012
Photo by: Caroline Klapper Wells Funeral Home recently purchased the former press building at The Mountaineer. From left to right are Jennifer Wells Greeley Jacobson, J. Wells Greeley and Jonathan Key.

More than a year ago, The Mountaineer closed down its local press and moved printing operations to an independent company in Bristol, Tennessee, to help reduce costs and improve print quality.

Since then, the old press building on Wall Street has been vacant awaiting a new owner, and recently J. Wells Greeley, owner of Wells Funeral Home in Waynesville and Canton, purchased the property.

Greeley said the decision was a natural one because the former press building is located so close to the funeral home, which is only 11 feet away at its nearest point.

“I feel good about the glimmer of growth that is in Haywood County and the viability of downtown Waynesville,” he said, adding his first move is to renovate the building to match the rest of the Wells property. “It needs some attention. I’m most anxious to begin the rehabilitation of the building to get it looking better.”

Plans for the building haven’t been determined yet, but Greeley said it will most likely become an expansion of funeral service operations or additional retail space.

Jonathan Key, The Mountaineer’s owner and publisher, said he no longer needs the building and is pleased to see see it going to an established local business.

“That’s what I wanted to do was sell it to somebody that was going to improve the property and improve downtown,” Key said. “It’s a win, win for everybody.”

The transaction is between the owners of two of the oldest businesses in Haywood County. The newspaper was established in 1885 and Wells Funeral Home was founded in 1888.

Greeley said he is excited about the options the extra space offers for his business, and he looks forward to creating an attractive property that compliments downtown Waynesville.