Wells Funeral Home to build events center

By Jessi Stone Assistant editor | Jun 14, 2013
Courtesy of: Wells Funeral Homes An artist rendering shows the plans for the Wells Events & Reception Center to be completed on Wall Street in downtown Waynesville.

Wells Funeral Homes and Cremation Services will be expanding its business by constructing an events and reception center in downtown Waynesville.

Owner J. Wells Greeley made the announcement to the community Wednesday that the former Mountaineer Publishing pressroom would be renovated into the events center. Greeley purchased the building from The Mountaineer in 2012. It is located adjacent to the funeral home and behind The Mountaineer office.

With the evolving nature of funeral homes, Greeley said it was important for his family business to be able to meet the needs of each and every family that uses their services. He said many families are looking for more personalized funerals, memorials and other gatherings.

“We’re more event planners than funeral directors,” he said. “People are looking for creative ways to honor their loved ones and this (events center) will allow us to adapt to these changes.”

The events enter, which will be able to seat up to 125 people, is expected to be completed in 2014 and have a full reception center and a catering kitchen. Families, caterers or churches will be able to bring in their own food for the event.

Greeley said the center would be made available to Wells Greeley clients as well as the public for family reunions, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. While it may seem odd to have a wedding in a funeral home, Greeley said the building would have its own entrance separate from the funeral home and would look more like a hotel reception hall that a funeral parlor.

Demolition on the interior of the building began Monday. Randy Cunningham is the architect for the project, while Clark & Leatherwood is the contractor. Greeley said the center would also have garage space for the funeral home and his wife Kathy Greeley, an interior designer, would have office space in the building.

Buffy Phillips, executive director of the Downtown Waynesville association, said she appreciated Greeley revamping the building in downtown Waynesville.

“It will be great for downtown Waynesville and will give us more incentive to do more on Wall Street,” she said.

This new construction will coincide with the 125th anniversary of the founding of Wells Greeley Funeral Home. It is one of the oldest family-owned businesses in Haywood County. Now with Greeley’s daughter Jennifer Greeley Jacobson and son-in-law Ryan Jacobson working in the family business — the business has been in the family for five generations.