I’m always on the look out for whatever I can find that puts me at the front edge of “change” in the death care profession. Change in our profession used to happen pretty slow. . . . from home visitations to funeral homes, from wood caskets to metal caskets, to the slow methodical march of a society that now prefers cremation to earth burial.
One of the great features and attributes of success of the generational family funeral homes over a century or two is how they handled that change and still remained profitable. Those funeral home owners who would have been stubborn in their ways of change would eventually either transition or be out of business. They all moved from the horse-drawn hearse to motorized vehicles and from home visitations to “funeral homes” because the clientele preferred that.
Change today happens much faster. . .Think of change even in current events such as inflation. I don’t even think we noticed for a while but when President Nixon dropped the gold standard in the early 1970’s it set America on a course of high inflation that we did not even notice for a couple of years. However, regardless where you want to put the blame, we know we are in an inflationary period today and the changes to our businesses because of it have happened very fast.
So, I would argue that it is good, and if you are a business owner or manager, it is mandatorily responsible to be looking around the corner at the changes that may be coming. I’ve opined in this forum before that I think the Foundation Partners Group was the first to look at high cremation businesses and see the potential acquisition value that they had because of the way America was changing our death care and memorialization outlooks and mores.
Recently I noticed a couple of places where Foundation Partners Group made some comments or articles that I thought may be insightful to our readers. First of all, in an article published by the American Funeral Director, Foundation Partners Group asked five of its former location owners to reflect on the “Then and Now” of death care. I found it an interesting read. You can access the article from the Foundation Partners Group website here.
Secondly, I came across a podcast from National Public Radio entitled, “What cremation’s surge in popularity says about our evolving views on death”. I found this a highly informative message and then realized that many of the participants on the podcast were Foundation Partners Group former owners and/or employees. You’ll find comments by Laura Sussman of Kraft-Sussman in Las Vegas, Mike Holland of Hiers-Baxley in Ocala, Florida and Mike Doyle, GM of Tulip Cremation, all of Foundation Partner Group firms.
Here’s what the Washington Post said in leading into this podcast, “Cremation finally skyrocketed as America became increasingly secular. Last year, the number of people belonging to a house of worship dropped below 50 percent for the first time since Gallup launched the poll in 1937. . . . Americans also started to recognize the convenience of cremation and its lower cost. . . . . For families scattered across multiple states, there often seems little point in investing the effort and expense to bury a loved one in a cemetery no one will visit. Like pet food and leisure footwear, cremation is now available through direct-to-consumer websites. . . “ You can access this NPR podcast here.
So, if you are looking for a little “Then and Now” and also looking to what may be the coming trends over and above event centers and celebrants, I’ve done my job and given you a little reading material for the weekend and a little something you can listen to on your way home from work today!!
Have a great weekend!!
More news from the world of Death Care:
- Mare Island Naval Cemetery is transferred from Vallejo to National Cemetery Administration. Times-Herald (CA)
- HeavenLee Companion Aquamation offers alternative to flame cremation and burial for family pets. The Cullman Tribune (AL)
- Here’s why I think Service Corporation International is an interesting stock. Yahoo Finance
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