By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
NETTLETON – For Steve Holland, it’s like coming home.
He and his brothers graduated from Nettleton High School. His mother, Sadie, was the town’s first female mayor. And the family’s farming operations were headquartered here.
Steve, a longtime state representative and funeral home operator, has opened another location here, converting three downtown buildings into Holland Funeral Directors Nettleton Chapel.
An open house will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
“That’s why we’re calling it a Nettleton homecoming,” Steve said on Friday, as he, his brother John and workers were putting the finishing touches on 8,600 square feet of space. “We’ve got deep ties to this community.”
The funeral home is comprised of early 20th-century buildings, which the Hollands bought and began renovating in March.
The oldest building, constructed in 1900, was known as the old Mason Hall. In fact, Lodge No. 451 still meets upstairs. But the downstairs portion is the funeral home’s visitation area.
The middle building, which serves as the reception area, was built in 1921. It was the town’s original drug store, and the soda fountain bar has been restored.
The third building, built in 1927, was most recently a furniture store and has been transformed into a 180-seat chapel.
Holland didn’t reveal a figure, but said the investment to restore the old buildings was likely the biggest the city has ever had.
“And it’s already starting to pay off,” he said. “We’ve heard from other business owners who are fixing up their places or thinking about it.”
But other than the ties to Nettleton, why did Holland decide to open a funeral home here?
“We’ve got the location in Tupelo and we have a chapel in Okolona, so this completes that triangle,” he said. “We serve a lot of families in this area as well. Last year we had 19 funerals in Nettleton that we did from Tupelo.
“We’ve been in the funeral business for 38 years, so we we figured we know what we’re doing.”
Steve and Sadie will run the Tupelo location and John will manage the Nettleton office.
“But we’ll be spending a lot of time in Nettleton, too,” Steve said.