Grisell Expanding, Evolving

MOUNDSVILLE – Siblings Elliot and Connie Grisell envision a new kind of funeral home at a site they are developing in Bethlehem.

Grisell Funeral Homes and Crematory eventually will occupy a plot at 1 Ridgecrest Road. The brother and sister said they hope to demolish the former car dealership at that location within a month, leaving the property open to begin building a brand new, modern structure.

“We’re waiting to see the lay of the land,” said Connie Grisell.

While no official plans have been produced yet for the new structure, Elliott Grisell outlined a less traditional type of funeral home with a strong focus on space for visitation.

“The new funeral home will feature a very large visitation chapel and large entryway and lobby,” said Elliott Grisell. “It will be very open – very spacious with a home-like atmosphere to be inviting. We want a funeral home where people can grieve and not be uncomfortable.”

“Most new funeral homes are being built this way,” said Connie Grisell. “A little more open.”

She said many families are now spread across the country, leaving only weddings and funerals as times for them to get together and visit with each other. Some families even want to bring in food and have an extensive visitation without having to move everyone to another location, she said, and the Grisells want to give them that opportunity.

“The way people portray funerals is changing,” said Elliott Grisell. “The new funeral home will be very natural, with lots of earth tones and natural lighting. We will also provide wireless Internet service and large, flat-screen TVs.”

The Grisells hope to break ground on the new funeral home in January.

Chaz Pozell Contracting of Glen Dale was hired to build the new structure, and the Grisells said the firm has plenty of experience. According to Elliott Grisell, Pozell was involved in building at least one other Grisell funeral home.

The Grisells hope to open the Bethlehem location in July 2013, though Connie Grisell said that date could change.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” she said. “We’ve already encountered some delays.”

Both said they look forward to serving the Bethlehem and Wheeling area and that it will be a positive step for their family business.

“The Grisell family has been doing this for 165 years in the Ohio Valley,” Elliott Grisell said. “We are always very involved with every community we’re in.”

They are the sixth generation of the family to do this kind of work.

“This will be our first venture north, and with our new concept,” added Connie Grisell.