Content here represents the voice of SIGNATURE SUNSETS, an informational initiative designed to broaden and brighten horizons in the funerary domain.

The material is an outgrowth of a pre-planning reference book, Pondering Leaves: Composing and Conveying Your Life Story's Epilogue, written by the author of this blog.


Thursday, February 28, 2013



A new concept has been brewing in funeral homes.  Since administrators of such facilities are always sniffing out ways to bolster their businesses, probably they aim to determine what amenities are important to customers.  Think about your own experiences… when circumstances caused you to be in one of these places as a distraught mourner, what did you seek?

Beyond quality of products and services, probably you craved comfort.  Often an element of comfort may be equated with either a piping hot bowl of chicken soup or, more accessibly, a steaming cup of fresh coffee.  It’s likely that personnel in funeral homes offer clients a cup of coffee, but it’s unlikely that it would compare in any way to the substance and flavor of a classic Starbucks concoction.     

… Until recently.  In recent years the trend toward brand-name coffee bars in funeral homes seems to have been percolating.  Many establishments have touted availability of rooms designated as cafes where people can take a breather (always vital for restoration, especially in a funeral home!).  And, naturally, coffee is available for such purposes. 

But in at least two funeral homes (and maybe more, by now), coffee shops patterned after boutique roasting havens have been incorporated into funeral home layouts.  Anyone and everyone can partake – even local residents going about their everyday activities who might want to stop by for a few sips.

Apparently, the Turrentine Jackson Morrow Funeral Home in a Dallas, Texas suburb was the first to savor the idea enough to make it a reality.  Their shop that opened as part of an expansion in February of 2011 is at the south end of their building; it’s away from caskets on display and visitation rooms, but close to gift and flower shops as well as monument products.  A license through a franchise arrangement with Starbucks enabled them to utilize its brewing equipment and sell its specialty drinks.  The company logo is recognizable on a wall-mounted menu board, though there is no conspicuous signage.  Free Wi-Fi on the premises enhances the familiar domain. 

Photo Source:  Dallas News

More recently, the Coffee Corner café opened its doors in conjunction with Robinson Funeral Home in downtown Easley, SC.  The building where it is housed is open to the public and accessed from a patio, with a wall and two doors that separate it from the facility's chapel and the usual funeral home milieu.  Inside there is a fireplace along with homey appointments suggestive of typical Starbucks environs.  Baristas trained by the specialty company work there, and the standard menu is available.

Photo Source:  Robinson Funeral Home Website

Upon revisiting their website in 2016 it became apparent that the concept here is thriving. The Coffee Corner is featured on a Facebook page, apart from the funeral home's other services; a ten percent discount is available in exchange for review of it.  They have a Twitter presence as well.  Weekly newsletters are distributed that include coupons along with notices of their events.  Hours have been expanded. Community members are invited to enjoy the warmth of the atmosphere in their shop, but personnel also deliver within five miles for orders of at least ten dollars.  Here at this domain of the dead, the coffee shop seems robustly alive, driven by zestful publicity oozing with enthusiasm for the complete spectrum of Starbucks operations and genial occasions that are hosted there.    

So next time you enter a funeral home, be on the alert for invigorating aromas that never used to emanate from such places.  And when you make your own end-of-life plans, consider the comfort needs of your beloved family and friends.  Look for a funeral home that can offer a full-bodied taste of heaven – even for the folks who are still around! 


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