Business briefs: Erlewein Mortuary and Crematory celebrates 25 years

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HANCOCK COUNTY — Erlewein Mortuary & Crematory turns a quarter-century this month.

The business opened in September 1996 in a new 5,000-square-foot facility on land formerly owned by car salesman Ralph Hockett at 1484 W. U.S. 40. The owners were Dane and B.J. Erlewein with Dane’s parents, Bruce and Judi, as initial investors. Judi died in a car accident in March 1996 just as ground was breaking on the facility.

Dane was the business’s funeral director in the beginning, aided by a couple part-time assistants. B.J. left her job as a pharmacist at Eli Lilly and Company in 2002 to manage the business. Her mother, Rose, cleaned the facility for many years and just retired in 2020.

The facility expanded 10,000 square feet in 2006, tripling in size.

Dane and B.J. continue to own and operate the mortuary with the help of four other funeral directors, two full-time office staff and about 14 part-time assistants. The business also has a location in Fortville.

Unemployment for county remains low

HANCOCK COUNTY — The county’s estimated unemployment rate for August 2021 was 3%, the same as July.

That’s down from 5.6% in August 2020.

Hancock County’s August 2021 estimated rate is tied for seventh lowest among Indiana’s 92 counties. Boone County has the lowest estimated rate, at 2.4%, while Howard County is highest, with 6.8%.

Indiana’s August 2021 estimated rate also remained the same from the month before, at 4.1%, and down from August 2020’s 7.3%.

The U.S. rate is estimated at 5.2% for August 2021, down from 5.4% in July 2021 and 8.4% in August 2020.

Residential real estate finishes summer strong

HANCOCK COUNTY — Residential real estate in the county saw a continued increase in prices despite a slight decrease in August home sales, according to an area real estate firm.

Compared to August 2020, Hancock County home sales were down 3.8% in August 2021, statistics from F.C. Tucker Company reflect. Available housing inventory in the county continued to decrease in August 2021, down 21.6% compared to that month last year.

Home prices continued to climb, up 15.7% to an average sale price of $276,340.