Longevity in business is one of the hallmarks of sustained success over
time. It also can indicate a business’s reputation and commitment to quality. Here, Garett Brugger, funeral director and partner at Brugger Funeral Homes & Crematory, LLP, in Erie, Pennsylvania, discusses the funeral home’s proud history and dedication to serving families with dignity and grace as it marks 130 years of continuous operation in 2024.
Brugger Funeral Homes & Crematory was established in 1894. Tell us how the funeral home got its start.
My great-great-grandfather, Adolph Brugger, came to America in 1870 from Baden, Germany. Early on he worked as a pattern maker but began to see that industrial advances would soon change his profession. It was in 1894 he saw an opportunity to serve Erie residents in funeral service. That year he signed up for an Undertaking course from Eckels College in Philadelphia and once he completed that course he opened
A. Brugger Funeral Home, in a quiet neighborhood close to the city center.
Over the years, most funeral homes and cemeteries have been small, family owned businesses passed down to successive generations. Tell us about your business and how involved the Brugger family is today.
Since our inception in 1894, we have had five generations of my family work in the funeral business. In those five generations, we have seen 20 members of our family dedicate their lives to serving the community in their time of need. Currently there are four members of my family that are partners in the business, L.J. Brugger, myself, Austin J. Brugger and Carl R. Brugger.
Like other businesses, funeral homes continue to change with the times. Describe what you’ve seen when it comes to trends in the industry and the services you offer.
The biggest changes in our industry have been the personalization of funerals and the rise of cremation services. Recognizing these changes, we have developed more unique services that focus on the deceased individual, really celebrating who they were and what was important to them. We also built an onsite Cremation Tribute Center in 2010 that allows families preferring cremation more options. The Center provides a comfortable space for those wishing to be present during the cremation process whether for peace of mind or farewell services.
Marking 130 years in business is a major accomplishment. What are your thoughts on achieving this milestone?
I am very proud of the fact that our family business has been serving the Erie community for 130 years. Over those years we have established relationships with many Erie families that span decades and generations, a legacy that we strive to continue. We work hard to help the families we serve in any way we can and appreciate the trust they continually place in us.
As you look to the future, what’s ahead for Brugger Funeral Homes & Crematory?
Our mission will remain to provide meaningful, appropriate, and affordable funeral services to the residents of Erie County. We will continue to evolve through investment in our staff, facilities and evolution of the services we offer.
For more information, visit bruggerfuneralhomes.com.