ELIZABETHTOWN — A new business offering funeral services has opened its doors in Elizabethtown.
Eric Matthews comes from a long line of funeral home directors. A native of Wayne County, Matthews and his family have been in the funeral home business there since 1951, when his grandfather established Rhodes Funeral Home in Goldsboro.
“I’m the baby,” Matthews said of his decision to move, “so I wanted to leave the nest and go out on my own.”
He stretched his wings in Lumberton, entering the funeral business with Maultsby Colvin Funeral Home, where he served as manager for 10 years.
In 2005, while conducting services for a customer, he met the woman who would become his wife, Terri, an Elizabethtown native. They married, she left her cosmetology career to join him in the funeral business, and she began encouraging him in a different path.
“I loved working for my boss and helping him pursue his dream and build his business, but ultimately I wanted to take care of my family and pursue my own dream of becoming an entrepreneur. My wife was really instrumental in pushing me along,” recounted Matthews.
They began looking for property and found that what was formerly Kinlaw Funeral Home in Elizabethtown was for sale. They purchased the property, named it Majestic Funeral Home and Cremations, and began making some changes.
“We renovated from top to bottom,” said Matthews. “Every room, every wall, was repainted, carpet was laid, lights were replaced, drapes were tastefully selected, the furnishings are all new, even every socket was replaced. We wanted people to have something fresh and new.”
In an area sharply delineated by white and black funeral homes, the Matthews hope theirs is a truly multi-racial business.
“It’s important to me to serve everybody,” said Matthews. “I don’t want to be a black funeral home — that’s not important. I believe we are all God’s children — that’s how my wife and I try to live.”
In addition to removing racial barriers, the Matthews also want to break down financial barriers for the people they serve.
“You’ll never hear us say no. No matter what your finances are, we will work with you,” encouraged Matthews. “We have some very inexpensive funerals plus some payment options. We aren’t driven by cost.”
Majestic will be offering marker, monument, and headstone selection assistance, assistance filing with VA and social security, cremations, and burial services.
Matthews hopes to be, as he calls it, a “first-class funeral home.”
“What makes a funeral home first-class is not always the little frills in the service, but if you’re going to be there when things are needed,” he explained. “We want to be there not only when you experience loss, but also at your grandbaby’s christening or at cookouts.
“We just want to make sure that people understand that we want to gain the community’s trust,” said Matthews. “Just give us a chance, and we’ll go to the ends of the earth to make sure you are taken care of.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.