By AMANDA GRAY
THE GOSHEN NEWS
A casket is a staple at human funerals — but soon may be a staple for pet owners nationwide.
Pet Honor Casket, out of Elkhart, is now selling collapsible, environmentally friendly caskets in five sizes for the furriest members of American families, according to president Bert Molner.
Molner held a press conference at the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County in downtown Goshen Wednesday afternoon to publicly announce the new caskets.
“These provide a solution where kids, grandkids and families can have time to celebrate life,” Molner said.
With the pet industry at an all-time high of $52 billion annually, Molner said the industry continues to grow, recession or not. Families are more and more looking at pets as family members, he said.
“Around 90 percent of vets say animals are brought to them in plastic garbage bags,” Molner said. “That’s not the way to treat a family member.”
The caskets, which are manufactured in Elkhart, can be purchased early and used as a toy chest for pet toys, or additionally as a memorial box for family mementoes or an infant’s casket.
The cost? The caskets begin at $199, and can be bought online at www.pethonorchest.com or at several local funeral homes. Molner said he is working on local pet stores to keep them in stock.
The fact that the chests are collapsible makes them more desirable for stores to keep them in stock.
“They take up 86 percent less space and weigh 70 percent less,” Molner said. “A stack of the chests takes up about the same space as two bags of dog food on the shelf, and they can be very profitable for the stores.”
Worried that your pet may be too large for a casket? Molner said they can accommodate pets from a bunny rabbit to a miniature pony.
“Our largest size, called ‘Grande,’ is 52 inches wide and can hold a 200-pound animal,” Molner said.
State senator Carlin Yoder introduced Molner at the press conference and applauded his innovation.
“It’s an exciting day, from my aspect as a state senator,” Yoder said at the conference. “This is a different aspect to business in Elkhart, and we need to diversify.”
Yoder said he’s proud to speak of the people of northern Indiana — some of the smartest people in the state and nation, he said.
“This is the type of thing Elkhart can be about,” Yoder said. “We’re more than just an RV industry.”
Funeral homes currently selling the Pet Honor Chests include Palmer’s Funeral Home in South Bend, Faithful Friends (a part of Billing’s Funeral Home) in Elkhart and Yazel-Clark Chapel in Dowagiac, Mich. More information is available at www.pethonorchest.com.