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Minnesota Green Cemetery to Open

Foundation Partners why I partnered

Yesterday we wrote about an article in Chicago Business which featured a story on Chicago area funeral homes that were seeing a drop in margins and a drop in number of calls.  The end result of that fact was that many of the smaller firms were actually closing their doors for good.  Funeral Director Daily opined that we as funeral homes and businesses in the death care industry really need to at least be on , if not ahead, of the curve of new products and services that our client families want when related to a death.

In Sunday’s Minneapolis Tribune – which I generally read cover to cover – I was startled when a half-page advertisement popped up at me introducing “Prairie Oaks Memorial Eco Gardens” – “Minnesota’s First Green Cemetery”.  The ad featured endorsements for “Natural Burial” and provided a cemetery for final dispositions in the metropolitan area.  Also prominent was price points of a burial plot for $1500 and differing services ranging from $1595 (Immediate Cremation, Scattering and Celebration of Life) to $6,795 (Full Service Gold Burial Service including services with celebration of life with Celebrant fee, casket, luncheon, the grave, opening and closing costs, and a grave marker).  The ad states that Prairie Oaks using third party mortuary vendors for some services.  Here is their web-site.

Funeral Director Daily take:  Until Sunday “Green Burial” – while talked about by some client families – was never a reality here because there were really no centrally located cemeteries that were willing to inter people without vaults.  Sunday’s ad changed all of that.

So, how does this relate to your own funeral home?  As an owner you need to watch and see where will the needle go on “Green Burials”.  Will it be 5% of the population as time marches on. . . 10%. . . or more?  Do you think it is worthwhile to put in a pricing option for when these families inquire of you or do you want to just let them go to a competitor?  I think these types of options are necessary to watch and offer services and then it is better to  work with a “green cemetery” in collaboration than work against as a competitor – especially if it is something that the consumer wants.  Ask yourself. . . “Would you be better off today if you had embraced cremation 20 years ago as an option rather than a threat?

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