A recent article in the WSJ discussed the topic of competition with a high margin product group…coffins. Monks in Louisiana have been in a battle with the state’s funeral regulatory board over distribution of their handmade coffins that sell anywhere between $1,500 - 2,000. According to the LA law, only a licensed parlor can sell “funeral merchandise”. Advocates for the Monks have made attempts to broaden the distribution channel of caskets in the state unsuccessfully. Only a few states have similar laws as LA. The federal law does not allow funeral parlors to refuse coffins from third party suppliers.

The monks continue to run their business through these issues. They are a small piece to the supply chain selling only 60 coffins since 2007. Although I am unaware of their sales in this product group, even Costco and Wal-Mart are in the casket selling business. I would bet they are probably a slightly larger player in states that allow competition. The funeral directors on this board should really be ashamed of themselves. Are these monks really hurting your margins that significantly? If the funeral directors feel that threatened by the monks trying to make some income, figure out how to market your product better.
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Lindsey Fandozzi

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  1. Who new monkeys could make coffins? What a world we live in!