In this era of megamergers, consolidations and multinational corporations, Shannon and Sheila Mullins are moving in the opposite direction. “My wife and I own the only family-owned and operated funeral home in the city of Cape Coral,” Shannon Mullins said. “The other two are the No. 1 and No. 2 largest funeral corporations in the United States of America.” It may be small, but Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service is taking a very large step, installing a state-of-the-art, 23,000-pound crematorium that Mullins said will be the only one in the Cape, other than a pet crematorium.
The equipment, installation and required city changes to the property on Northeast Seventhth Terrace will bring the total cost to about $175,000, he said. Given current trends, that kind of investment appears to be a sound business decision; nationally, almost half of bereaved families opt for cremation over traditional burial services, Mullins said.
“But in Lee and Collier counties, we have the highest cremation rate in the entire country.We’re quickly approaching 80 percent. My business is approaching 90 percent cremation.” According to Mullins, the two larger funeral homes both own crematories, but both are in Fort Myers. He said having his own may not lower the price of cremation but will enhance the level of personal service he can offer.“One hundred percent of the people who are choosing cremation can live their entire life in Cape Coral, die in Cape Coral, and the first thing that happens to them in regards to cremation is, they’re transported out of the city to have that service performed,” he said.
From our standpoint, it will give a family assurance from a custody standpoint. Once we pick up your loved one, they will come into our care and will not have to leave our care. We will take care of every aspect.” Built in Tulsa, Okla., Mullins’ new natural-gas fired crematorium was set in place May 15 and when it becomes fully operational in July, he said, it will be able to handle four to five cremations a day and reduce the wait time by days.
“It is a very technologically advanced piece of machinery, state-of-the-art if you will,” he said. Mullins said cremation offers families significant cost savings. “It is considerably less expensive,” he said. “When you’re considering buying cemetery property, buying a casket, an outer burial container, opening and closing up a grave and buying a cemetery marker, those things certainly add to the cost.” Since opening the business two years ago, Mullins said he and his
wife have held the line on rates. “The one thing that I have vowed not to do is not change our pricing,” he said. “And I have absolutely no interest in doing trade cremations with other funeral homes. That will be a privilege that will be reserved for families that use Mullins Memorial for their loved one. “Funeral services can cost a lot but don’t have to, and I think that’s why we’re here,” Mullins said.