New funeral home positioned to cater to rising demand for on-site
cremation, green funerals, and celebration of life services
Skip Young, a veteran funeral home director, and Jackie Fulford, a retired Circuit Court Judge, have partnered to open Young Fulford Cremation and Funeral Services, Tallahassee and Leon County’s only independent funeral home with an on-site crematory and green certification. While Young and Fulford come from very different backgrounds, they saw a unique opportunity to meet the public’s growing interest in cremations, green funerals, and celebration of life services.
Cremation, which is now more common than traditional burial, is on the rise. According to the 2018 Cremation and Burial Report, released by the National Funeral Directors Association, the rate of cremation in the United States is projected to increase by nearly 30 percent over the next two decades. The national cremation rate is projected to reach nearly 80 percent by 2035 due to shifting consumer preferences and attitudes.
In a recent survey of Floridians, 59 percent preferred cremation, 21 percent preferred burial, and 20 percent were indifferent. Lower cost is a significant factor in favor of cremation, but 29 percent of Floridians also cited a desire to select where their final resting place would be.
“Beyond cost factors, cremation allows for a wide variety of personalized options, from dispersing ashes at a location the deceased person loved or burying them in a special location that family and friends can visit to embedding ashes into jewelry or keeping them in an urn,” Young said. “We also see a trend toward more green choices, and cremation is part of that.”
When asked what elements they considered most important if they could plan their own funeral, 61 percent of Floridians surveyed said they wanted a celebration of life instead of a memorial service, 40 percent wanted a chance for loved ones to share stories, and 21 percent wanted a chance for loved ones who have been apart to reunite. The survey findings are consistent with trends seen by the National Funeral Directors Association, which include tailored events that incorporate everything from special life tribute ceremonies to the deceased person’s hobbies.
“Many people are opting for an upbeat celebration of life – either while still alive or after they’ve passed on – rather than a formal and somber funeral,” said Fulford. “Just as people expect to be able to tailor and personalize their choices in life, increasingly consumers are demanding very personalized ways of honoring their lives after death.”
In addition to operating Leon County’s only independent, on-site crematory, Young Fulford is also one of the only green certified funeral homes.
“Many environmentally conscious consumers are exploring options that are better for the Earth,” said Fulford. “Green choices include a simple burial of a body that hasn’t been treated with formaldehyde in a container that is biodegradable, eco-friendly cremations, and dressing the body in simple, biodegradable garments.”
Cremation also addresses the pressing fact that Tallahassee is running out of public burial space. The city’s remaining cemetery plots are expected to be sold out within the next three years.
“Growing consumer preference for cremation could solve the problem,” said Fulford.
The new funeral services operator and crematory, located at 4948 Six Oaks Drive in Northeast Tallahassee, serves both individuals and other funeral homes. In addition to offering traditional funeral services and cremation, Young and Fulford plan to offer an array of grief services, including artist-commissioned custom urns, grief counseling and art therapy.