There’s always something new to learn about the funeral business when covering funeral conventions. In a conversation at the NFDA expo with Mark Elder, VP of Sales for Vision Casket, I learned more about the relationships between casket manufacturers and the end user – the funeral home and the families they serve.
Vision Casket manufactures economical burial and cremation caskets in lightweight corrugated fiberboard and plastic cremation urns – the most basic container that’s a step up from receiving remains in a plastic bag inside a cardboard box. They will make about 400,000 plastic temporary urns in 2015. They make tens of thousands of cloth covered caskets every year, as well as caskets of engineered wood with veneers that look like the real thing.
Elder says the cloth covered casket was initially made out of redwood. Construction evolved to cypress, then to different types of pine. Today, the box that the fabric covers is either particle board (compressed wood chips) or corrugated fiberboard (a.k.a. cardboard). Both models can be used for burial or cremation.
When I asked what consumers could expect to pay retail for caskets like these, Elder replied that it depends on the funeral home. As a manufacturer, they work with distributors, also known as jobbers, to distribute their products across the country. The final retail pricing is out of their control.
In this video, Elder explains the history and construction of the humble (and low-cost) cloth-covered casket and how manufacturers work with distributors to get their products to market. He also shows Vision Casket’s latest offering to provide a dignified, low-cost viewing prior to cremation. Learn more at www.VisionCasket.com.