Irish Caskets seek U.S. market
A savvy businessman from Co. Louth has come up with a unique idea that has people talking.
John Finlay, 41, is in the business of selling caskets and urns, but not just any kind of caskets. Finlay’s are uniquely Irish. Each casket is adorned with a symbol of Ireland.
The Heritage Casket Company, which also specializes in Italian designs, both in the traditional European coffin shape and in the traditional American rectangular casket shape, has been in business in New England since 2005, but Finlay’s family has been in the casket business for five generations.
“Our family business, Finlay’s of Ardee, supplies funeral homes across Ireland and the U.K.,” said Finlay.
According to Finlay, the business idea came to him after several people living in the U.S. with Irish backgrounds contacted his family business back in Ireland to inquire about specialized Irish burial products for sale in the U.S. Although at the time Finlay had nothing to offer them accept a measured apology, a seed was planted in his mind.
After carrying out some market research in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland, Finlay discovered that there was a niche market ready to be availed of.
“We made the decision about five years ago based on a lot of research, including the fact that 40 million people in the U.S. claim Irish heritage,” he said.
Although there are already thousands of funeral homes located in the U.S., not one of them catered specifically to the needs of Irish Americans.
Finlay, who now lives in Scituate, Massachusetts, moved to the U.S. two years ago with his family to “directly manage the business” himself.
“I set up Heritage specifically to provide a new line of Irish themed memorial products for families in America for whom their ancestry or heritage is important,” Finlay said.
Already Finlay’s company has made a name for themselves. The family of actress Natasha Richardson, who was married to Irish actor Liam Neeson, chose a Heritage mahogany casket with the claddagh symbol to lay Richardson to rest last month after her tragic skiing accident in Montreal.
Some of Heritage’s customers choose the claddagh design for its symbolism of eternity. Others choose the St. Patrick design as an expression of their Irish ancestry.
Each casket has a different name. For example, “Galway” is a solid mahogany claddagh coffin with brass handles and a piano gloss. “Waterford” has a carved image of St. Patrick and is an oak casket also with brass hardware. It is finished with hand rubbed satin.
Taking the business to the next level, the Heritage Casket Company has signed a new multi-million dollar strategic partnership deal with the leading supplier to funeral homes and cemeteries in the U.S., Matthews Casket Division.
“Our partnership with Matthews means that in a few months time we will be able to offer our products across the U.S. through the Matthews network,” Finlay said. To date, his company has only been able to distribute their products throughout the North East.
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Shooting pigeons and eating them. Horses being burned alive. Ireland sounds great--unless you're one of God's creatures. But let's remember the importThe New York Times questions Ireland’s highly-praised economic recovery
A year on the dole - collecting unemployment benefit - would provide a single man with 9,776.00 Euro at a rate of 188.00 Euro per week. So how Mr. DoGay wedding cakes latest target of anti-gay bigots
These folks who do wedding cakes, have based their business on a certain model, specifically, their religious beliefs. They will probably cease makinIreland crowned “Top Tourist Destination” for second year by USA travelers
That's funny because on the Facebook comments it mostly Irish people bashing Americans.