Funeral Home in S.C. Opening Starbucks Franchise
Coffee has left it’s mark on our funeral home. About a year ago a 20 something stood in a viewing line for about a half hour with a 32 oz of coffee in her hand. Upon approaching the deceased, the sometimes acute psychosomatic experience called “grief” caused her to spill the entire cup right in-front of the casket and onto the rug.
After the viewing, I cleaned it up with our carpet cleaning vacuum, but the mark is still vaguely visible.
While coffee has left a carpet mark on our funeral home, it will forever mark the Robinson Funeral Home in Easley, South Carolina as they will be opening up a Starbucks Franchise in their funeral home sometime in August.
Maybe Robinson can serve their own original blend: The caffe morte. A cup to die for. Especially when its served with extra cremation.
I’m just not sure how this is going to work. The coffee shop itself is open to the public. Does this mean that I can sit in the lounge area and drink my grande iced caffe macchiato while enjoying my New York Times and a view of today’s funeral?
There’s always the-guy-talking-very-loudly-on-his-cell-phone at Starbucks. What happens when he comes into the Robinson Starbucks during a funeral?
Honestly, I’m more interested in the ideas behind the Robinson Starbucks than I am the logistics of it’s operation.
Why? Why would you do this?
Chris Robinson — the owner of the funeral home — says that it’s “one more service for people to choose from.”
I wonder if it’s an attempt to attract the younger crowd to funerals. I can picture the conversation between a mother and her son:
“Bobby, are you coming to your grandma’s funeral?”
“I don’t think so … funerals just aren’t my thing.”
“They have a Starbucks at the funeral home.”
“Do you know if they have WiFi?”
“Yes. They have WiFi and a TV.” (*the Robinson Starbucks will also include a fireplace … I wish I was making this up)
“Well, I guess I’ll come.”
Funerals are just like church … we should use any means possible just to get ‘em through the doors.
Maybe the purpose of the Robinson Starbucks is simply supplemental income?
I can also picture that conversation in Chris Robinson’s head:
“I need to make some more money. What can give me that jolt … that competitive advantage that no other funeral home has … it has to meet a basic need.
McDonalds!?! No. A McDonalds would be like handing out cigarettes to my clientele. Too obvious.
A bar? No. I’m getting close.
What would help people experience grief with an added edge? A medicinal marijuana shop? No … bad PR.
It almost seems like the Robinson funeral home is taking a page out of the Megachurch manual. Give them coffee and they will come. As my uncle said, “So the church IS influential in society?!” The church can proudly say that they played a major role in shaping the funeral industry.
If the funeral home keeps going the Megachurch route, maybe the funeral directors will soon find their wardrobe full of hipster clothes and unneeded glasses. Maybe their funeral directors will get a twitter account, and try to develop a strong social media presence. Maybe soon — like so many megachurch pastors — the Robinson Funeral Home will start a blog and name it, “Blogging about Death” or “Funeral Home Confessions.”
Wait a minute. Why don’t I have a Starbucks at my funeral home? Why didn’t I think of this!
Maybe I’ll just one up Robinson and franchise a Wal-Mart next to my funeral home: “One Stop Shop: In Life and Death”.