Someone sits at a computer with coffee nearby


Written by Sharon Verbeten


It’s all about serving the family.


Much ado has been made lately over a funeral home in South Carolina building a coffee shop on site and offering Starbucks’ products. Not only can mourners visit for a much-needed respite from the stress and grief often associated with a funeral, but the general public can visit as well.


While profession naysayers and caffeine-haters may disagree, I think this funeral director is onto something. Most funeral homes already offer some sort of food service — whether it be catered or otherwise. So why not Starbucks?


Some say the funeral home is capitalizing on the Starbucks name (Starbucks’ PR has confirmed it is NOT opening a store inside a funeral home; the funeral home is simply offering their product line).


Whatever the owner’s goal, I say more power to them! After all, it’s all about serving the family — and if a trendy coffee shop is one way to do it, why not?


And opening the venue to the public is another stroke of genius, in my humble opinion. After all, patrons don’t just waltz into funeral homes unless they need their services, right? Maybe this unconventional venue might draw in the curious — and, hey, anytime you can get someone through the door is an opportunity to show them what you’ve got.


OK, I’m not advocating a hard sell (“Do you want a casket with that cappuccino?”). I’m simply saying that any time a business does right — or appears to be helpful to its customers, potential or current — they should be lauded.


I’m sure that this funeral director will be keeping his funeral home especially neat, tidy, and presentable. I’m sure staff will be extra friendly. This coffee shop, is, after all, an extension of their core business. And in addition to being an added service, it’s another potential profit center.


Kudos to those funeral directors out there who recognize that the profession is changing and that they must, in turn, change with it. This is just one out-of-the-box (really, no pun intended) way to do that. I’d love to hear your other creative ideas — ones that you’ve either implemented or are thinking about — as well.


Freelance writer/editor Sharon Verbeten has written about the funeral profession — in trade journals and online — for more than 20 years. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.


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