Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes & Crematory is family-owned with three locations in New Castle County. Since 1906, they have comforted families by creating meaningful memorial ceremonies that celebrate the lives of loved ones. Spicer-Mullikin goes above and beyond for the community they serve and such excellent service does not go unnoticed. The family-owned business stands out from other funeral homes in their area and continues to impress families year after year.
The history of Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes began more than a hundred years ago, when William E. Haines opened his funeral home in Wilmington. It was then later purchased by John W. Spicer, and merged with a funeral home owned by James Mullikin. For many years they maintained three locations in Wilmington, New Castle (Wilmington Manor), and Delaware City. The Wilmington location was then sold and Spicer-Mullikin purchased a facility in Newark.
Harvey C. Smith, Jr., and Frank C. Mayer, Jr. originally purchased Spicer-Mullikin in 1968 and operated the business for more than 40 years. Today, Harvey’s son Matthew C. Smith, continues their family-owned legacy as owner.
“I have been involved in this profession since I was 14, when I started observing my father in the business. His example truly inspired me to want to become a funeral director. In 2012, I took over as owner and I am honored to continue the company’s century old tradition of providing the communities we serve with compassion and dignified service,” says Matthew. “Serving the families who call on us at their greatest time of need is by far the best part about working in this profession,” he adds.
With locations in New Castle, Newark, and Delaware City, Spicer-Mullikin’s success has paved the way for expansion and they will be opening up a fourth location this year.
“Everyone at Spicer-Mullikin is excited about opening our newly constructed funeral home in Middletown. This fourth location will allow us to serve the rapidly developing Middletown, Odessa and Townsend communities,” says Matthew. “One of the bigger challenges I have run into taking over from my father, is ensuring business growth, just as he did. From opening a new location to expanding our social media presence online, growing the business is something I am really proud of,” expresses Matthew.
With Matthew’s direction, Spicer-Mullikin has been able to grow an unprecedented social media community, probably among the biggest of its kind in the funeral home profession. Matthew knows that social media is a great way to show their community support, inspiration and a way to connect, as well as grow their brand and increase the communities’ loyalty. Keeping their social media accounts active and up to date gives Spicer-Mullikin an opportunity to gain important information about what their families are interested in and in return helps their families feel more connected to the business. By engaging with families regularly, Spicer-Mullikin becomes transparent and establishes trust with the families they serve. Today, when families go to compliment or share about services and products, they turn to social media. As more people reference a business on social media, the more valuable and authoritative the brand will seem to new users.
“We are extremely proud of our social media outreach. We mainly use Facebook and Pinterest to stay connected to our community. As a business man under 40, I really understand the power of social media and the importance of maintaining it. We now have one of the largest online communities for funeral homes in the country. We have nearly 9,000 followers on Facebook alone. People visit our Facebook page for solace, support, inspiration, and just to share their experiences. We love providing our families with the opportunity to stay in contact with us for as long as they need,” explains Matthew.
Matthew stresses that all funeral homes need to spend time on all types of marketing, but especially social media marketing. It is vital to understand how big of an impact it can actually make on a business, but it has to be done right. And that takes a huge investment in time and resources, “Something we believe is worth it to stay close to the families we serve,” he says.
As Spicer-Mullikin continues to grow, Live Oak Bank has been there every step of the way to help make the process of opening their fourth location in Middletown easier. Working with them has put Matthew and his team at ease.
“Working with Live Oak has been a pleasure. They have been very instrumental in helping me build the new location in Middletown and have been solid backers of our brand. We became connected with them through NFDA and couldn’t be happier. They’ve made it possible for me to turn my dream to open a Middletown location into a reality, says Matthew.
It’s true that hard work pays off. Spicer-Mullikin has been awarded the Pursuit of Excellence Award by NFDA two years in a row, 2015 and 2016. Each year, an elite group of funeral homes earn this award from the NFDA. For more than 35 years, this award recognizes funeral homes that provide exceptional service to grieving families in the community and adhere to high ethical and professional standards. Spicer-Mullikin is proud to receive this award because it recognizes their hard work and everything they stand for.
“You have to meet a very high criteria and set of standards to be awarded the Pursuit of Excellence Award and we are very proud to have received this award two years in a row. We are also the only funeral home in Delaware, in over a decade, to have been awarded the Pursuit of Excellence. It’s something we are extremely proud about,” Matthew says.
Spicer-Mullikin stays connected with their community in many ways. They are proud to support local and nonprofit organizations and businesses. As a family-owned business, giving back to the community they serve is an important part of who they are.
They proudly support community firefighter organizations, Gold Star Group for families of our military killed in action, religious and faith-based organizations in Delaware, local businesses in New Castle County and Delaware, The Delaware Association of Police, The Rotary Club of Southern New Castle County, Rotary Club of Wilmington, Newark Rotary Club, Wounded Warriors, The American Lung Association, and the Better Business Bureau. Spicer-Mullikin loves to support the communities they serve – even most of the photography on their website is by local photographer Bill Lindsey of Wilmington. Spicer-Mullikin knows that sending flowers and food are important to people who are suffering a loss, which is why they work closely with local florists and caterers.
Whether it’s through community service, vocational work, or general goodwill, Spicer-Mullikin believes that service to others should remain significant to Spicer’s guiding philosophy now and forever.
“With multiple locations, we are involved in so many areas of the community. All of my staff are from the area, so our children grow up here as well. From giving back to the kids or veterans, to community outreach programs and local events, we aren’t just giving things monetarily – we are there donating our time. Community involvement is something we love doing and it goes a really long way,” explains Matthew.
Spicer-Mullikin’s involvement in their community really sets them apart from the area competition. Their firm attributes much of their success to having strong family values, wonderful and loyal staff, and truly caring about the families they serve each and every day.
“I believe that because we are family-owned, treating everyone like they are family comes naturally. Keeping the families as our number one priority means everything to us and as I said before, we all live in the community we serve so we are truly invested in the well-being of our neighborhoods, the kids, and the community,” Matthew says humbly.
Spicer-Mullikin has a special place in their hearts for active duty service members, veterans, first responders, men and women of the police force, and firefighters. Some of the full and part time staff at their Delaware locations are even volunteer firefighters.
“Strong family values got us to where we are today. My father is a tremendous teacher and my hero. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my supportive parents and my amazing staff. We obsess over making every detail of our funeral homes perfect. We want all of our funeral homes to be warm and inviting and I think we continue to make that happen every day,” states Matthew.
With a history that is over a century long, Spicer-Mullikin has truly made a name for themselves in the funeral profession. The company consists of dedicated, loyal, hardworking staff, strong family values, solid community relationships, and outstanding service – a recipe for success. Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes & Crematory, led by Matthew C. Smith, will surely continue to find success in the years to come. FBA