SUN CITY CENTER — Think for a second about funeral homes and you probably don't want to contemplate mortality for much longer than that.
Now consider a funeral home that hosts Sunday worship services, Halloween costume parties, community events and more.
In addition to these extracurricular activities, Sun City Center Funeral Home also has hosted a wedding, a Dean Martin style birthday party roast and multiple chamber of commerce coffees. Serving the community is something owners Michael and Yvonne Langjahr are passionate about, but it might be their compassion that has helped the business reach its 20-year anniversary milestone this year.
In 1996, the business was known as Family Funeral Care. Three years later, Carriage Services bought the funeral home and Langjahr became the manager. The Langjahrs later bought the business in 2001 and renamed it Sun City Center Funeral Home.
"Something that we want to do is protect their modesty and their dignity," Michael Langjahr said about the families that he serves. "We are the last bastions on the planet to take care of that. It's a labor of love."
Langjahr began working in funeral homes in 1974 and is a 1978 graduate of Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. He is a past president of the Pinellas County Funeral Home Association and a former chairman of the Sun City Center Chamber of Commerce. He believes in opening his doors and giving back to the community. In fact, he invites the Sun City Center Market to set up shop in his parking lot every first and third Wednesday of the month.
When it comes to assisting people in making arrangements — from funeral and memorial services to burial and cremation, which he says 70 percent of people in Sun City opt for — he has obliged on some rather creative requests. Mariachi bands are popular with Hispanic services. One person wanted to be surrounded by popcorn in her casket. And pets are welcome to visit their owners during viewings.
"Whatever the family would like to feel at home as long as it's not illegal, immoral or unethical," said Langjahr, a three-time business person of the year honoree.
Sun City Center Funeral Home also has assisted with out of state transfers, donations to medical science and scattering ashes at sea. People desiring a unique eternal resting spot, can have their ashes placed in a balloon that travels approximately five miles into the atmosphere before bursting and returning to earth.
Or, they can be interned inside concrete artificial reefs or custom jewelry.
Whatever you decide, Langjahr recommends having a funeral trust or insurance that outlines what percentage you get back on your investment if you decided to cancel the policy. Visit suncitycenterfuneralhome.com for more information.
Taco Bus pulls up to gas station on 301
A popular local brand is challenging a popular out of town brand for the fast casual food business on the corner of U.S. 301 and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
For years, Joe's Deli dominated this corner of the highway with the combination of gas and quick food.
Then Pennsylvania-based Wawa continued its expansion throughout Florida, setting up shop right across the street on the West side of 301. Wawa won that battle as Joe's Deli closed.
But now Tampa's own Taco Bus has opened inside the gas station location at 3939 U.S. 301.
While it doesn't serve its signature fresh-made corn and flour tortilla eats out of an actual bus, the replica bus inside the Shell station is open late for the post Ybor and Dallas Bull crowd to grab a torta, taco or tostada in the early morning hours. Visit taco-bus.com for menu, pricing and catering options.
Contact Eric Vician at [email protected]