Einan’s launches alternative funeral home to fill gaps in death care

The funeral industry can be slow to change.

But that didn’t stop Einan’s at Sunset Funeral Home in Richland from offering the alternatives customers were looking for.

“Most people want customization, and they want unique options. The percentage of funeral homes actually providing this is lower than it should be,” said Holley Sowards, director of funeral operations at Einan’s.

Many people don’t want to go through a funeral home for their final arrangements, let alone set foot there.

Due to the industry’s reluctance to offer modern, more personalized options, funeral services are typically split between the cheapest do-it-yourself cremation, handled through an online transaction, and funeral celebrations. more traditional full-service living, which come at a higher price. label due to the labor and resources required to put them on.

But there is an often overlooked gray area between the two.

This is where Einan’s newest business venture, CODA Alternative Cremation and Funeral, comes in.

CODA aims to bridge the gap between the two extremes.

Alternative Funeral Home offers organized burial and cremation packages that are more affordable and streamlined than traditional funeral homes.

“We are uniquely positioned to be able to help anyone at any time, in any circumstance, and on any budget,” Sowards said.

Officials celebrated the launch of CODA with a grand opening on July 14.

How it works

Einan’s, located off the bypass highway in Richland, is a full service funeral home, cemetery and event venue in operation for over 70 years.

Sowards, funeral director at Einan for nine years, said it was difficult for the company to divide its services into different categories.

She said her team’s focus is on providing a healing environment to help families through their journey of grieving after the loss of a loved one.

“We’re more about value than price,” Sowards said.

But the team saw a shift happening in the industry and realized they needed to branch out to accommodate more people in the community who can’t afford the full service package for one reason or another.

“Funeral homes have been slow to adapt to consumer expectations,” she said.

In 2018, Einan’s launched Compassionate Cremation Society, a low-cost online cremation service, to its suite of offerings.

“It’s the option for families with financial restrictions – no extras, no frills, no nothing. It’s become an option in the community for those facing these challenges,” Sowards said.

The next step was to establish CODA as a way to span the broad spectrum between compassionate cremation and Einan’s full service package.

“CODA caters to families in the community looking for a mid-range price. They don’t want to cut to the chase and don’t trust the online transaction or find it confusing, but they also don’t want to pay for the full service,” Sowards explained.

Krista Williams, a longtime Kennewick resident, said she wished those options had been available when she lost her father in 2014.

Williams, then in his twenties, had to deal with the situation and foot the unexpected bill.

“One day, when you have to arrange the funeral of the most loved people in your life, you will know why it is a better option. I would 100% have chosen this, rather than having to go to the funeral home” , she said.

Even choosing the “boneless” cremation options available at the time, Williams said she faced a multi-thousand dollar bill that she didn’t have the money to pay.

But it’s not always necessarily that price keeps customers from seeking the full Einan experience, Sowards said. More and more people want the freedom to customize final arrangements for their loved ones based on their vision.

Sowards said that was the biggest challenge Einan faced when launching the various ventures – “making sure the family knows what they’re getting and differentiating between models.”

Part of CODA Director Amy Eslinger’s job is to meet with families and learn about their needs and vision to ensure that the service will meet their expectations.

She said a common misconception is that CODA does not offer burial services or a place to celebrate life, but options for both are available, although there are limitations.

CODA’s office at 2909 S. Quillan St., Suite 104, Kennewick is near Walmart and Fairchild movie theaters. It doubles as an event space for up to 50 people to gather to remember their loved one.

It’s definitely not a funeral home — the modern, chic space could easily be mistaken for any other client-facing professional office. Eslinger said it was intentional.

Nor are the deceased stored or handled there – all of this happens at Einan’s headquarters in Richland.

So far, CODA has served 10 families.

Plan ahead

Helping families cope with the death of a loved one continues to be Einan’s goal.

“It’s the hardest and toughest job, but the most rewarding to help someone through their worst day,” Sowards said.

Part of the process is guiding them through all the choices available to them.

“There’s something like 70 decisions to make when someone dies,” Sowards said. “Our job as funeral professionals is to help families out of the tornado so they can reflect and create meaningful celebrations of life.”

She said people often want to avoid heartbreak and get through tough times. Some tell their family that they don’t want a fuss when they leave.

“We want to honor the wishes of the deceased, but we also want to take care of the needs of survivors because they need to grieve,” Sowards said.

Both Sowards and Eslinger emphasized the value of paying in advance for funeral services and the ability to make payments over time, interest-free to Einan’s, CODA and Compassionate Cremation, so that the deceased and surviving members of his family can make arrangements that best meet their needs and desires.

Although cemetery plots for cremated remains can be paid for after death, “unfortunately, in a situation of immediate need, we are unable to offer payment plans,” for funeral arrangements, Sowards said. .

Williams said that’s what she wants to do. “It was so stressful trying to make these decisions and thinking about the costs. I don’t want to put my kids through that,” she said.

CODA Alternative Cremation and Funeral: 2909 S. Quillan St., Suite 104, Kennewick; 509-392-4644; codaalternative.com; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday. For a full explanation of Einan’s services, go to sunsetgardenstricities.com.

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