Mynatt Funeral Home will officially open its new Powell Chapel this week with residents invited to drop by to see the new facility at 2000 Powell Drive from 1-4 p.m. Friday, June 2, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 3. U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett will speak at the ribbon-cutting, set for 10 a.m. Friday. Powell guy Dwight Van de Vate will represent Mayor Glenn Jacobs.
Folks in Powell have watched the construction of the new Powell facility that was delayed by Covid and supply chain issues. The new building is worth the wait.
Buddy Coomer said the 12,000-square-foot facility combines best practices learned over the years from the Fountain City and Halls chapels.
Mynatt is and has been a family operation. Buddy is Walter E. Coomer Jr., whose dad was called Bud. He was president of Mynatt Funeral Home for years and passed away July 17, 2013, at age 84. Angie Hill is the daughter of Bud Coomer’s partner, Ronald O. Hill, of Halls, who passed away on Sunday, September 1, 2019, at age 77.
“We treat all families like they were our family,” says Buddy. “We provide old-school service to families, directed by our great staff.”
In addition to three funeral chapels, Mynatt also owns Halls Flower Shop and has 53 full- and part-time employees. Meet the staff here.
Buddy mentioned the challenges of diversifying the staff. He has created a balance of gender, age, race and ethnicity. “It’s not 1975 anymore,” he says.
Angie Hill demurs when asked if she is a funeral director or embalmer. “No, I was a hairdresser in Halls but when Dad got sick, I came into the business to be with him. I’ve not regretted that, and I am the office manager.”
Emily Phillips, the Powell site manager, is an example of the changing times. She is young and female and has been certified as a funeral director for 2-1/2 years. Phillips grew up in Briceville (Anderson County) and lost her father during her senior year of high school. Going through the process of his final days caused her to change her career plan.
“Our goal is to bring young people into our system,” said Buddy Coomer. “(Being manager here) is Emily’s reward. She is a hard worker.”
Chelsi Moran, grief recovery specialist and funeral assistant, is the fourth team member in our interview. She works alongside Joy Gaertner, advanced certified grief recovery specialist. We’ll write more about this program in a future post.
With a young staff and several apprentice funeral directors, Coomer said the team meets monthly to discuss the Mynatt Funeral Home way. “We are family-owned and community-supported,” he said, “with way more flexibility than corporate-owned chain funeral homes.
Buddy Coomer lived in Powell for 18 years, attending local sports and school activities. He said a Powell chapel is “an idea we’ve had for years,” and said Mynatt was encouraged to locate here by area pastors.
As a new business neighbor, Coomer and Hill have already signed up to support a play structure at the new Angora Frog Farm playground – a music-themed structure dedicated to the memory of Angie’s dad. Not saying he sang like a frog, mind you, but Ronald Hill grew up in the church and got enjoyment from Southern Gospel music.
Hey, welcome to Powell, y’all.
Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today Inc.