Williams River Services has come to it’s “pivot point“. “Although some discount “The Pivot” as an overused buzzword, for a startup, pivoting can mean the difference between becoming the next success story and joining the deadpool.” So says Nicholas Thomas the Director of Business Development at Docudesk Corporation.
Two years in and we are continuing to think of the future. In the business’s beginning, we identified our customer and offered services they needed. They needed an ally to help them though the first meeting. We assisted in making arrangements and explaining pricing and options. Our business is driven by helping the customer get what they need at a fair price.
In the last year, WRS helped families all over the state of Vermont. We provided cremation and burial services as well as brokerage and estate sale services. Our presentations at conventions and group workshops have helped to educate the public on everything end of life. Our Death Cafes have made the conversations approachable and relaxed. We have published a Green Burial Guide and are currently working on our first book “Do you want fries with that?” The Dumbing Down of the American Funeral Industry; I am hoping to have this released by the end of the year.
Most often, Williams River Services has advised families making arrangements for the first time and that are unfamiliar with the process. Many folks have come to us who have an idea of what they want but are not sure how to get it at a fair price. They didn’t want to be sold a lot of costly options they don’t need. We have been proud to help — providing what you want, where you want it, at a price that is affordable.
Regretfully, we have decided to end our cremation and burial services. As we move forward, our resources will be redirected toward our green services, estate and brokerage services. With this focus, it is our intention to continue to assist families in the ways they most need. After 20 years as a funeral director, I have a huge amount of information about the funeral industry. In fact, I have been on both sides of the table. I will continue to use this information and my experiences to help the consumer. Like any other broker, I am only interested in you getting what you want at a fair price.
I will work on this new focus and you will begin to see blog posts reflecting new pricing and services. If I have served your family here in Vermont, I will provide advice and guidance free of charge. New families should not be hesitant to contact us; prices are negotiable. Consider Williams River Services your advocate. Having someone on your side who knows the business only makes sense. Contact us with questions.
Tag Archives: caring for the dead
Something interesting that I found this weekend. It was in the New York Times so it must be good, right?
After I watched A Good Death by Joshua Bright all I can say is “WOW”. This is the scene at many a home which I have visited over the years. The hospital bed set up in a bedroom or in the living room where everyone can gather. A lot of nursing homes and hospitals have single rooms just for this reason.
Williams River Services is proud to offer Urns by Jay Peebles.
Williams River Services is proud to introduce local craftsman, Jay Peebles of Chester, Vt. Jay crafts beautiful urns from a variety of woods: oak, pine, cedar, poplar, cherry and more.
Jay grew up in Proctorsville, Vermont and attended Green Mountain Union High School in Chester, where first learned his passion for woodworking. He was taught by a local teacher, Lee Decatur. After graduating, Jay proudly entered The United States Army and recently served in Desert Shield/Storm. Currently, he working on his degree in Internet Technology. Throughout, woodworking has been a significant part of his life. He prides himself with respect for his work.
Jay can create custom vessels for a meaningful urn. If Dad loved to sugar, use some wood from the old sugar house up on the hill to have Jay create a custom urn. Jay can make a one of a kind, hand-crafted urns with materials you provide or request. He can create urns from recycled materials or fulfill other special requests. Subtle adjustments in size and style are also possible.
We are proud to offer Urns by Jay Peebles. This allows WRCS to bring our families custom, personal urns for their loved one. It continues our mission of providing personal and local services at affordable prices. Contact Williams River Services for more information.
Lots of folks who choose cremation are a little confused when they receive there loved one’s cremains. All of my customers receive there cremains in a brown cardboard box. The box is sealed with clear tape and has a label from the crematory. Inside the box the cremains are in a plastic bag to prevent spillage. The cremains are always accompanied with a permit which is given to the sexton if they are to be interred in a local cemetery.
I have found that a large amount of families are choosing to scatter the cremains. What a perfect idea. Mom enjoyed the lake. She spent summers there with her family and later with her own family. This is a perfect place for mom’s scattering.
This blog is not about the perfect place for a scattering or whether you should choose scattering at all. This is about that little brown box that holds your loved one until the scattering is done. Don’t get me wrong, that box is more than adequate to hold the cremains. Scattering tubes have been around for a while. They were introduced to make it easier on families who do the scattering themselves. These containers are just what a family needs for a seamless scattering.
The problem is always with the plastic bag. It is there for good reason. It prevent the cremains from spilling out. It also is incredibly hard to open. They use plastic pull ties to secure the bag. Great for selling them, not so good to get undone. The scattering tube holds the cremains without the bag. This makes it easy and prevents the possibility of an uncomfortable mishap at the service.
Unlike other urns, these scattering tubes are incredibly affordable. There are at least 50 different pre-made designs or, you can submit a picture which we can print on the outside of the tube. The cost of a basic scattering urn is $95.00. While working at the corporate funeral home, I had to sell them for $200.00. Through Williams River Services, I am happy to offer these at affordable pricing. Some families have purchased these urns so they don’t have to deal with the cardboard box sitting on the shelf.
As always, contact me with any questions.
I found this article in The Huffington Post. The article points out again and again that funeral homes might not be the best place to get what you need as far as end of life services go.
The article tells of a family with 2 very sick children and there experience with home funerals. Caroline was the first to pass.
“We had taken care of Caroline her whole life,” recalls Alison, whose other daughter, Kate, has the same disease and will also have a home funeral. “Why would we give her to someone else once she died?”
Mom makes a valid point. 200 hundred years ago this was not a choice but necessity. The family was well prepared when the death occurred. Its evident they did their homework and researched all of their options.
The rest of the article talks about how some states have made it hard or impossible to take any of the end of life services away from the funeral professional. Closest case in point is our neighbor New York. New York is one of the few states that requires a funeral director to be present or to sign off on nearly every part of after-death care. Medical examiners and coroners have to turn over bodies to funeral directors, and the law says an undertaker has to personally oversee each funeral. Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska and New Jersey also have similar rules. New Hampshire has a law that says no one but a New Hampshire licensed funeral director can sign a death certificate. Is it just me or is that just crazy?
“Until the Civil War, death was largely a home matter and home funerals were the norm. It was common at the time for unembalmed bodies to be put in simple caskets and buried in cemeteries that weren’t treated with pesticides. (It’s a growing trend today, known as “green burial.”) Historians say that our culture’s approach to death in the pre-Civil War years had much to be praised.”
We should have the ability to care for our dead, if possible. Laws shouldn’t be written in favor of the funeral industry. I realize I’m a funeral director and this seems ironic… but I think people need to know their options. Ultimately, the final good-byes will be more meaningful and you won’t have the chance to do it twice.
Social media is huge in all aspects and types of business today. The article below was posted on Connecting Directors. Ryan Thogmartin is founder and CEO of Connecting Directors and Disrupt Media Groups. Mr. Thogmartin has his hand on the pulse of the industry.
Thogmartin says “ Please watch the video below (it’s less than 1 minute long) and replace the words “business” and “people” with “funeral homes” and “funeral directors”. This is no joke, its the truth, the real deal, the way it is, the end of the road” …etc. Mr. Thogmartin nails it here.
Gary Vaynerchuk is the expert in the video. The show is called Morning Joe on MSNBC.
At the end of the article there is a test for your Facebook page to see how you stack up against others in the industry. I took the test and realized that all of my social media outlets should be cleaned up and better organized. I will do this because this is the direction of the funeral industry, not just any business.
I am glad that there are hard workers like Thogmartin out there telling it like it is. The industry has to change or it will be replaced.
I think I forgot how to do this…..
It has been a few weeks since I have blogged here. I have spent the last week in Fluville. You remember Fluville. Located between the Muscle Ache Mountains and Dry Heave Lake. It was a tuff one this year but I’m still here. I hope that you don’t have to take the trip, but if you do, rest and push the fluids.
Back to business. From what I am reading this will be must see TV…..
CNBC’s “Death: It’s a Living” Premieres on Thursday, January 31st at 9pm ET/PT and from the many clips promoting the show on Youtube it appears that the funeral profession is going to be portrayed as a group of greedy money grabbers…again.
If you get a chance give it a look.
As I continue to do research for my book, I find mind-boggling facts. I also am finding that there are some incredible stories of how people get to the point of thinking about their final arrangements.
This is a six-minute trailer about a man who is planning his death due to cancer. As the time draws near he weighs his options and chooses a natural earth burial. He points out that cremation is not an option for him due to the fact that it causes pollution and is not 100% natural. His plans are natural, green, and extremely well planned out. He likes the idea he has control over what is going to happen in the end. He calls it the ultimate gift, which he can give back to the earth.
He has a friend build a casket from a recycled chicken coop. He even goes so far as to try it out to make sure he fits. He will be laid to rest in a burial preserve intentionally designed to be sustainable. As you can see in the video, the preserve is breathtaking.
The video points out that there are two kinds of burial services going on in America today. The first is the traditional funeral home burial with embalming, visitation, etc., etc. The second is a green burial, chosen by the folks who are willing to do what ever it takes to honor the dead without any of the trappings of conventional funerals. “Ninety-seven percent of the world has found a way to have natural burials without embalming.” He points out “and nobody is dropping dead from attending visitations or helping care for the dead.”
I feel it is a well-crafted myth (the need for embalming and conventional visitation hours etc., etc.) that the funeral industry has brain washed consumers to think. In the movie, it is refreshing to see someone embrace their mortality and exercise their choices. These folks have been planning this over a period of months. Much time and research have gone into their end of life decisions.
If this is something that interests you, please start planning now. Remember: natural, green funerals are easy, inexpensive and can be more meaningful to families.