Charles F. Snyder Funeral Homes plans to host a ribbon cutting Aug. 9 for its new funeral home and crematory on a nearly three-acre site at 2421 Willow Street Pike, Willow Street, West Lampeter Township, Lancaster County.
“This has been a long-time in the making; it’s been a vision of my dad’s. We wanted to serve families south of Lancaster; there really wasn’t a funeral home in Willow Street. The challenge we faced was finding the right location,” said Charles F. “Chad” Snyder III, who owns the business with his father, Charles F. “Chip” Snyder Jr.
The Willow Street Pike location has both visibility and accessibility with two entrances off Willow Street Pike. The 12,500-square foot facility includes a crematory, two chapels—one large and one small—and an outdoor patio. There are also 150 parking spaces.
Chad Snyder said the facility shares some design elements with Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory on Lititz Pike in Manheim Township. It opened in 2000, and the crematory was added in 2010 and expanded last year to meet rising demand. Snyder said the crematory area in the new location has as much space as the Lititz Pike location.
The main entrance of the Willow Street facility features stonework and is accessed via a large porte-cochere. The interior of its soaring roof is covered with wood. The lobby itself is expansive and features floor-to-ceiling windows, a central fireplace and comfortable seating. Snyder said everything was designed to be ADA accessible including furniture selections. There’s even Wi-Fi throughout the facility.
The spacious chapels have 25-foot ceilings and exposed wood beams and can be made smaller or larger depending on the needs of the family. There are four arrangement offices so staff may meet with families for pre-planning or to make funeral arrangements. The selection room is located off the lobby.
Snyder said the new facility is the first one in the area to have an outdoor area. “It’s right off both chapels, so it can be used for visitation or for a family member to get some fresh air. It’s wired with speakers so it can be used for an outdoor service,” he said, “This entire facility was designed with the needs of the families we serve in mind, and the back of the house was designed to fit the needs of our staff. The overall design is intended to be timeless,” he stressed.
The Willow Street location is Snyder Funeral Home’s sixth location, and Kelly Gramola Townsend will be the supervising funeral director. Snyder said it will have six- to eight other employees and additional staff may be pulled from other locations as needed.
The original Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home at 414 E. King St., Lancaster was opened in 1947 by founder Charles F. Snyder. It’s still in use today. Chip Snyder joined his father in the business in 1975, and in 2004 Chad Snyder became the third generation to enter the family business.
In addition to new construction, the business has expanded through acquiring other area funeral homes and concerns. The Millersville location was purchased in 1989. Spacht-Snyder, Lititz, was purchased in 2015, Pre-Need Family Associates was purchased in 2017, and Bachman Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory, Strasburg, was purchased in 2019. Founded in 1769, Bachman Funeral Home was the country’s oldest funeral home.
Earlier this year Charles F. Snyder Funeral Homes & Crematory purchased the properties that were formerly the Andrew T. Scheid Funeral Homes. Two of the properties, one of which was used as a funeral home, are in Manor Township. Snyder said those properties will be renovated and used for vehicle and equipment storage. The other properties are located at 121 and 131 N. Prince St., Lancaster, and will be remodeled for an event space and will also house training and office space.
Rochelle Shenk is a freelance writer