Siblings Lloyd Sprowl and Lorri Hobbs grew up around death. Their uncle owned a funeral home. Sprowl remembers visiting his uncle’s funeral home in third grade and being in awe at how the deceased looked as if they were peacefully sleeping. As they saw their uncle take care of grieving families, Sprowl and Hobbs realized funeral homes are ministries, especially in African American communities.
The brother and sister opened Sprowl Funeral and Cremation Care on May 10.
Sprowl Funeral and Cremation Care is Indianapolis’ first newly built African American-owned and operated funeral home in over 60 years. To honor the funeral home’s historic status and their uncle’s legacy, Sprowl and Hobbs will make their businesses more than just a building for funerals.
“This more than just a funeral home,” Hobbs said. “This is a ministry. We plan to touch many lives.”
According to Hobbs, one of the most important parts of funeral ministry is listening. While this often involves paying attention to a client’s emotional state, it also involves knowing their financial situation as well. The average funeral costs from $7,000 to $9,000, which is a heavy burden for many families. Hobbs said she must listen to what clients can and cannot afford and plan a funeral that fits their budget instead of always pushing the most expensive options.
Sprowl Funeral and Cremation Care will host outreach events, such as death preparation and teaching the importance of life insurance, which will allow Sprowl and Hobbs to establish connections with community members before their funeral services are needed. In addition, the two will collaborate with the coroner’s office, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and other organizations to educate youth on issues such as violent crime.
Sprowl Funeral and Cremation Care also will emphasize serving all members of the community. Sprowl said death touches everyone regardless of age, background or ethnicity, so his and Hobbs’ service should extend to all. They will launch a marketing campaign stressing this point and that they are open to following different traditions during funerals.
“Although we are the first African American-owned and operated funeral home in Indianapolis in the last at least 60 years, we have a goal to be multicultural and serve all ethnicities, not just one,” Hobbs said.
Sprowl and Hobbs shared their goals for Sprowl Funeral and Cremation Care’s at its grand opening ceremony. Guests and speakers shared in Sprowl and Hobbs hopes for their business. The brother and sister team was glad to see others recognize their passion for their new business.
“That is my passion: funeral directing, caring for families who have suffered a great loss, and we look forward to serving families for the next hopefully 30, 40, 50 years to come,” Sprowl said.
Contact staff writer Ben Lashar at 317-762-7848. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminLashar.