Despite the down economy, Craig-Flagler Palms continues to invest in Flagler County.
The latest addition is a crematory, an investment of more than $100,000, which positions the company as the only one in the county with a funeral home, cemetery and crematory in the same location.
That crematory complements other investments, including expanding the funeral home from 3,000 to 11,000 square feet. On its grounds at 511 Old Kings Road S., just south of Old Kings Elementary School, Craig-Flagler Palms has three mausoleums and will pull a permit for another one this year. Two more are being planned.
The crematory made business sense because of the statewide trend toward cremation, as opposed to burial, with the ratio of cremations to burials increasing each year for about the last 20, according to General Manager Allen Whetsell.
Today, in Florida, more than half are cremated. Advanced Planning Director Sal Passalaqua said that of the 325 families served by Craig-Flagler Palms, about 60% are cremations.
But Whetsell said the investment is not as much of a business decision as it is an effort to serve the county better.
“We’re very civic-minded,” he said, adding that he and Passalaqua sit on several charity boards.
Whereas before, the company contracted for cremation services, now Craig-Flagler Palms employees will assist families from the planning stage through the cremation.
“We feel by bringing it in-house, it’s a continuation of the personal commitment we’ve made to Flagler County — for their loved ones to be cared for with dignity and respect,” Whetsell said.
Working at a funeral home is not a job, but a vocation, he said. “You care more about people in a vocation. Jobs end at 5 o’clock; funeral service is 24 hours a day. We’re always available to help a family in need … Our main concern is that the family begins a healing process after the death has occurred.”
At 90 years old, Craig-Flagler Palms is one of the oldest companies in the county. The cemetery on the grounds was formerly known as Hope Cemetery, located on the historic Old Brick Road.
Allstate ribbon cutting features prize giveaways
Allstate Insurance Company/Germano Insurance Agency has opened a new office at 389 Palm Coast Parkway S.W., Unit 1, in the West Pointe Plaza. The plaza is located in the median just before Pine Lakes Parkway.
The office, which has three full-time employees, will have its grand opening and ribbon cutting in association with the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce & Affiliates 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23. Register to win a prize. Call 597-2919.
UPS Store in Town Center open Presidents Day
The UPS Store, located at 800 Belle Terre Pkwy, Suite 200, will be open for regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Presidents Day, Monday Feb. 21. The U.S. Post Office is closed that day.