Last Chance to Be a Big Spender

by L-Johnson

Funeral home directors are now becoming event planners as people move away from the idea of a traditional funeral.

Even in these hard times, Peter Moloney, a funeral director, believes that people should have what they want. Although not all of his customers can fully express their wishes, Mr. Moloney and his brothers, who own six funeral homes together on Long Island, have worked hard to arrange customized send-offs. The touches are as varied as the customers themselves. Bike lovers pay an extra $200 or so to take their last ride in a special hearse towed by a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Gardeners select wildflower seed packets to include with their funeral programs. One gentleman wanted to be remembered for comforting his grandchildren with ice cream, so, after the funeral, mourners were greeted by a man in a Good Humor truck, handing out frozen treats. A growing willingness to cater to individual tastes is helping the funeral industry hold its own during the recession. While some people spend an extra $1,000 or more on 14-karat gold mementos, others want less expensive or environmentally friendly options. People in the industry believe that they can continue to prosper by adapting and evolving. But some insiders suggest that the business could be headed for a restructuring as radical as that sweeping through the music or newspaper industries, especially as baby boomers approach their final act.

Read more:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/19/business/19death.html

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