The natural choice for green funeral products

Customer Spotlight: Berardinelli Funeral Home

Address: 1399 Luisa Street Santa Fe, NM 87505
Phone: 505-984-8600
Website: www.berardinellifuneralhome.com
Number of Locations: 1 location in two buildings
Annual Calls: 250-300 calls
Your Name: Jody Herrington
Your Title: Location Manager/Funeral Director/Mortician

 

Berardinelli Funeral Home

 

  1. PI: How long has your firm been a Passages customer? 
    Berardinelli: Since 2000.
  2. PI: What led your firm to offer eco-friendly choices to families?
    Berardinelli: Eco friendly options, the green burial movement, and the lowering of carbon footprints in general is extremely important to me on a personal level. I was very excited to see when I moved to Santa Fe that this community also embraces the movement towards preserving our environment, and I am fortunate to have a managing partner that trusts my decisions and allows me to make these big changes that are not the norm for funeral homes. (This is just the beginning!)
  3. PI: How have families responded to these alternatives?
    Berardinelli: With very few exceptions, the families are extremely happy with Berardinelli considering the effect it’s actions have on the surrounding environment and community. While we are corporately owned, the people who work here are part of this community and directly impacted by the choices we make every day. We understand that finances for many of our families might normally make eco-friendly options unrealistic, so we have lowered our service fees to accommodate the higher cost of merchandise. Eco-friendly isn’t just for the wealthy.
  4. PI: What is the most popular Passages product that you offer?
    Berardinelli: Definitely the willow tray. We have decided to use the tray as our entry level cremation container/alternative container and it has been very successful. For those with a higher budget though, we have found that the willow and seagrass casket is extremely well liked. It’s a beautiful piece and families are drawn to it immediately in our selection gallery.
  5. PI: What is your favorite Passages product and why?
    Berardinelli: I personally love the willow and seagrass casket. I love the detailing that the seagrass offers while not being overbearing. I have seen a few “natural” caskets that are painted or decorated in some way or another, and they just never look as nice as the Willow and Seagrass.
  6. PI: You use several Passages caskets as your entry-level cremation container option, how have families responded?
    Berardinelli: The families seem to like the variety. We don’t have so many that the families ever become overwhelmed, but there is enough that they have comfortable options.
  7. PI: How do you market these products instead of the traditional cardboard containers that are so often used for cremation?
    Berardinelli: When we found that the community was receptive to this, we decided that this would be who we are and we would not compromise on it. We explain that cardboard is actually not eco-friendly at all. Chemicals are used in its production, the pulp used comes from trees that must be cut, recycled cardboard is not offered to my knowledge, and plastics are used to line the containers. All of this leads to one outcome: more toxic fumes in the atmosphere and increased deforestation.
  8. PI: Why did Berardinelli’s make the decision to move away from cardboard cremation containers and how has it impacted your bottom line?
    Berardinelli:The reasons are really the same as listed in #6. As for our bottom line, our gross margin has gone down a bit, but the overall sales are up. In the grand scheme of things, our bottom line is doing well.
  9. PI: Do you have any feedback from families or your staff in regards to Passages products?
    Berardinelli:I have had families express their relief when seeing our options. Often times I will have families say that the new cremation containers made them feel good about their decision to cremate. One lady hugged the pillow of the container that her husband would be cremated in, and she felt so good that she could do that. I doubt that she would have done so with a cardboard cremation container. The general impression that I get is that these feel more “comfortable” for families and less “industrial” and “sterile” than cardboard. I see a lot of smiles when I show the families their options.