Monday, August 8, 2016

Don’t limit your customers’ colorful legacies

By Drew Edwards, General Manager, Sunset Funeral Homes 

Recently, a gentleman stopped in our funeral home and ask if he could talk to someone about a columbarium. I happened to be in the foyer, so I introduced myself and offered to answer any questions.

At first, I thought he was a client looking to purchase a niche in our cemetery located across the street. Upon further conversation, I learned that he was actually a board member for a nearby cemetery. He wanted to build a columbarium to drive new revenue to his cemetery. With the rise in cremations, he realized that even in his small town, the number of burials was decreasing each year. The cemetery was losing customers with every family that chose cremation.

Before entering our funeral home, this gentleman drove through our cemetery and found a columbarium that he liked.  It was one of our basic units. Each niche has a simple bronze nameplate on front.

It’s a nice columbarium, but I asked him if he had time to look at other options. After all, we have new choices that appeal to today’s families. He was hesitant. Without question, he was sold on the basic niche. But after a little discussion, he agreed to take a second look.

I showed him our “Storybook” glass front niche unit. This columbarium has bronze plates with photo-realistic portraits of the deceased, in brilliant full color. Each niche tells a unique story. It didn’t take long before this gentleman realized how many members of our community are looking for more than just the “basic bronze” nameplate.

The moral of the story is simple.

Each of us is unique and we like to memorialize our loved ones in different ways. Every life creates a wonderful legacy and we should never limit the consumer to a “basic” legacy. Give your families all the options, educate them and then support them in their decision. We were all given the precious gift of life. The question is, how do you want to be remembered? Basic or full of color?

This article originally appeared in Modern Memorialization, Trigard Memorials' weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

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