Friday, November 17, 2017

Business Spotlight on Funeral Alternatives by Michelle Libby a loved one dies the most dreaded thing to do is find a way to honor their life without adding more grief or breaking the bank. Making the funeral arrangements is time consuming and many times filled with salespersons trying to upgrade Aunt Suzie to the Cadillac of resting spots. There is another way to honor loved ones in a respectful way that gives the family the control to execute the wishes of the one who has passed. 
There is a move away from traditional funeral homes with people choosing to have the body cremated so they can scatter ashes in a favorite location, display in an urn or put the ashes in jewelry. 

Funeral Alternatives, a full-service company with locations in five towns including Windham, offer basic services including cremation and a temporary urn as well as removal of remains from place of death, state permits, filing of certificates and forms and more. Owner and director Chuck Kincer started the company in 2002, after his work in the Navy as an aircrewman and after leaving his job as a UPS manager. 

“What I liked about the profession is you wear many hats, you mow lawns, meet with families that are grieving, mix chemicals for embalming,” Kincer said. 

Kincer owns a traditional funeral home in Richmond, in addition to the five Funeral Alternatives locations in Augusta, Lewiston, Yarmouth and Brunswick. Kincer acknowledges that his company is niche specific. People come to him because they are looking for a certain way to honor the family member or friend. 

“We are an alternative to a traditional funeral home, devoid of limousines and flower cars,” he said. “We offer simplicity and affordability.” The Windham location is a small office at 110 Tandberg Trail. The bright, friendly location has a display of holders to match the personality of the deceased. Some of the products are made in Maine. The simple locations have less overhead, which means the Funeral Alternatives can pass that savings on to consumers. They never push selling families anything. A lot of families appreciate that, Kincer said. 

Chuck Kincer, Owner of Funeral Alternatives
“It allows us to be in support and be involved in the community without a large investment,” Kincer said. The funeral directors live in the communities they work in. Brian K. Paradis is the director in Windham, but any of the directors could help a customer. Paradis worked in a funeral home for 18 years in the community. The other directors are Steve Nadeau, Katelyn Syphers and Jon Cain. 

“You’ve got to be really dedicated to be in it. You have to know your clientele,” Kincer said. 

Cremation is becoming a more popular option for families who are choosing to do special things with the ashes. Cremation offers time, Kincer said. For those who want to scatter ashes or make jewelry, this gives them time to get the plans in place. There is no rush to do a funeral, either.
“We try to make the experience about that person,” he said. 

Kincer also owns sister company Cotton Crematory in Richmond. “We keep the family’s loved one in our care throughout the process,” he said. Other places might have to use a third party to meet the wishes of their clients. 

Funeral Alternatives has a goal to respond to all calls of passing within one hour of the initial call. “I tell people to call me when you’re ready,” Kincer said. There is a 48-hour hold time from the time of death, and the medical examiner has to approve all deaths before cremation. 

The most affordable option at Funeral Alternatives is $1,425. The price can rise to $6,000 for a traditional burial. Some funeral homes charge up to $10,000 for a full service because of their overhead. Funeral Alternatives offers pre-payment plans with all arrangements done in Windham with a guarantee that the plan will be honored into the future without prices increasing. 

“We don’t put the money first, we put service first,” Kincer said. “No one else does what we do. Ours can be a little more involved. We help them out to the best of our ability. Funeral directors are unrecognized heroes. They work 365/24-7. If we’re called off we go.”

Funeral Alternatives directors are available all the time at 207-572-1456 or call toll-free at 1-866-761-0945. To meet with someone in the office, it’s best to have an appointment.

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