Barnett Family Funeral Home moves into old Keystone building
by Dennis Sharkey
A new business with a familiar name has taken over the old Keystone building in Oskaloosa and the doors are open.
Inside the Barnett Family Funeral Home the paint is still drying and sawdust still is sprinkled across the floor of some rooms but business is booming.
“A lot of people are curious and want to walk in and see what we’re doing and where we’re at,” owner Jake Barnett said.
The Keystone Board approved a three-year lease with Barnett last month.
“I’m hoping this works out to a permanent home,” he said.
Crews have been busy the last several weeks remodeling and preparing the building for occupancy. Currently the home’s main office and consultation room is complete. Construction on a chapel is still ongoing and an open house for the public is scheduled for late September or early October.
Barnett held his first service just days after taking his first phone call earlier this month and it hasn’t stopped ringing.
He brings four years of funeral home management with him to Oskaloosa where he grew up and currently lives. He operated the Chapel Oaks Funeral Home in Lawrence before separating himself from the company to go on his own. His father, Gus Barnett, has also resigned from Chapel Oaks in Oskaloosa but is not part of Jake’s home currently. He could join the business at some point later.
Barnett said philosophical differences with Chapel Oaks ownership led him to seek a business opportunity in Oskaloosa. He believes his family business will better serve the needs of Jefferson countians.
“We all have different ideas,” Barnett said. “I think (Chapel Oaks Ownership) ideas were theirs but we have better ideas with the community in mind’s eye.”
Barnett said there has been some anxiety with opening his own business. But he is confident and believes he has a lot of support.
“It’s definitely a change,” he said. “I’ve managed the Lawrence chapel for four years and I’ve done real well with it. But we’re getting a lot of help and we have some strong allies.”
When patrons walk through the front door they are likely to see Jake’s wife, Beth, at the front counter. Much of his office staff will also look familiar as many have decided to leave Chapel Oaks and join his home.
Residents who previously had prearranged services and would like to switch over can easily do so with a phone call. Barnett said patrons will have to contact both funeral homes to let them know a switch is being made. He said patrons can also go by Chapel Oaks and request their files.
The chapel is located on U.S. 59 Highway between the Ambulance Department and the Health Department. A Web site, www.barnettfamilyfh.com, is coming soon or patrons can call 785-863-2020 for more information.
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