Funeral homes are making their way to local malls all across the country. Funeral directors say it only makes sense because the mall is a place where many people spend a lot of free time. They go to shop, eat, watch movies, and even ride amusement park rides. It has been over two years that a funeral home in California has been using kiosks in numerous malls that cover the state’s landscape.
This move is expanding all over the United States. It appears to be following a marketing ploy which started back in the year 2000 when a casket company started opening casket stores all over the country. That was a success, so funeral homes have decided to follow suit. A spokesperson for the funeral company stated that they want to be able to reach their audience where they are at and the mall is a perfect way to do just that. It also, is possibly a way to reach individuals who may be leery about coming straight into the funeral home for planning.
Funeral planning is something that everyone knows they should do,, but it is also something that no one has any desire to do, stated Robert Fells, who is the executive director of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association. He added that there is not anyone who wants to wake up on a Saturday morning and plan to go buy a burial plot. But if they are out walking around the mall and happen to pass a funeral outlet at the mall, a place where they are around lively, happy people, it is possible that they might feel different about the entire thing.
If someone is at the mall, he or she is not there out of need, explained Nathan Smith, who is the co-founder and CEO of another of the funeral home outlets. His company has stores located within malls in Louisiana, Indiana, Arizona, Kansas and Texas. Smith added that it is possible people may feel less intimidated if they go by a store selling coffins or urns while they are looking at hoodies and new jeans.
Regardless, not everyone likes such an idea. A retired high school teacher stated that people are in shopping malls and happen to be walking along feeling happy and suddenly they pass some kind of funeral place? That just sounds creepy. But after the man had some time to think about it, he acknowledged that the idea was something that could possibly catch on. He is age 86 and stated he gets tons of mail from funeral directors who invite him to come to meetings at local restaurants, where he can have a free meal on them while he listens to them try and get him to pick them for his final burial plans. He does not like those types of approaches either but he guesses they must have some people coming.
With that kind of mindset, the funeral outlet could possible succeed. Funeral homes have decided to make their way into the local malls all across the country. It will only be with time if they end up doing well or not.
By Kimberly Ruble
The Washington Post
San Francisco Gate