December 2022 INSIDER CFSA INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Survey results are in: customer loyalty has shifted from where it was at in the past. Read CFSA Executive Director, Tim Murphy’s opinion on how loyalties have changed and where the future of customer loyalty is heading. PAGE 8 NFDA Recap: take an insider peek at the CFSA booth and happenings at the past NFDA International Convention & Expo! PAGE 6 Save the Date! The 2023 CFSA Annual Convention will be held at the Conrad Indianapolis. See more inside! PAGE 7 A quarterly publication of the Casket and Funeral Supply Association of America

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT I hope that this message finds our CFSA family doing well! The NFDA convention in Baltimore just concluded and it was great to see several other CFSA members out on the expo floor. From those members that I spoke with, everyone seemed happy with the overall attendance and the convention. Our very own Tim Murphy was also there meeting with CFSA members and recruiting some new members as well. All CFSA members have built their business based upon the deep relationships that we have with our customers. Whether you are a casket supplier or a supplier to the funeral industry, I think we can all agree that the needs of our customers are changing. Pricing and inflation have become the top areas of concern for everyone. With inflation at historic highs, we are all looking for ways to manage the increased costs of doing business. Use the contacts you have with CFSA and perhaps others that you met at NFDA to help your business grow and succeed. Now is also the time to “save the date” for the 2023 CFSA Annual conference. We are looking forward to a new and improved format this year. Based upon the feedback of our members and attendees, we are going to focus more of our annual conference on educational seminars that are tailored to the challenges we are facing in today’s business environment. If you have specific topics that you would like CFSA to focus on, please email them to Tim Murphy and we will do our best to accommodate them in our schedule. We will also be offering at least one off-site CFSA member Open House that all attendees are welcomed to attend. I feel confident that the CFSA Board of Directors is putting together an annual conference schedule that will be both educational and entertaining! Directors Charles-Oliver Dumont Victoriaville & Company Lori Eanes C & L Containers, Inc. Julie Haney Astral Industries, Inc. Dwayne Heeter Matthews Aurora™ Funeral Solutions Leland Robinson Southern Craft Manufacturing Nicolas Lacasse Cercueils Magog Caskets Andy Lawrence Tiedemann-Bevs Industries Presson Thomson Dixline Corporation Scott Weisenbach Sich Casket Company Staff Timothy J. Murphy, CAE Executive Director Justin Thacker CFSA President, 2022-23 CFSA Mission Statement The Casket & Funeral Supply Association of America, Inc., whose members provide goods and services to death care professionals, shall promote the well-being of funeral supply companies. The Association will promote communication and fellowship within the industry while providing services necessary to assist its members and to enhance their business so that the public may continue to receive the full benefit of memorialization. CFSA Insider | Page 2 Emilie Perkins, CAE, CMP, CMM, PMP Director of Meetings Taylor Meyers Senior Communications Coordinator Emily Wrinkle Senior Membership & Meetings Coordinator Officers Justin Thacker Thacker Casket Manufacturing President Pat Duckers Artco Casket Company Vice President Greg Beavers Wise Products Inc. Treasurer Jeanette Hiemstra Keith M. Merrick Co. Past President

ASSOCIATION NEWS News Briefs 2022 Q1 CDC Death Counts The 2022 Q1 CDC report is now posted on the CFSA site. Log into your account here to view the actual death counts by state. Nine Steps to Recession-Proof Your Small Business The Hartford – No one knows for certain whether we’ll enter a recession in the next year, but if you’re concerned about your small business, you’re not alone. Read more. New Member Database & CFSA Website CFSA is proud to announce a newly enhanced website and member database! This new interface will provide current and potential members a user-friendly experience that will make accessing membership benefits easier. Watch your email for more information. NFDA Survey Shows Value of Attending Funerals In Person In the second edition of its “Value of a Funeral” Consumer Study, NFDA learned that people who attended a funeral in person found the service meaningful and healing compared to those who attended a service virtually. Read more. Advertise with CFSA! 2023 advertising opportunities are now available! CFSA offers advertising opportunities in a variety of publications disributed to the entire membership. Get your message in front of the owners and decision makers of funeral supply companies representing more than 90% of the market in North America! Interested? Email Taylor Meyers at tmeyers@cfsaa.org for more information! Wilbert Merchandising Manager, Mike Devaney states, “We are excited about the new expanded catalog. We are adding 80 new urns and mementos to our line of over 300 cremation products. Our goal is to give our licensee network and the funeral home customers they serve the best quality, diversity of choice and value anywhere in the funeral industry.” Some of the new products include hand-turned artisan wood urns handcrafted the old school way to the highest standards, exposing the beauty of the wood. Another product line Wilbert is proud to offer is a new exclusive glass line named Infinity Collection by famed glass designer Karine Bouchard. Additional products include affordable high quality, high eye appeal metal urns in brass and enamel, inlaid Mother of Pearl, and hand painted aluminum. Lastly, beautiful intricate colors and patterns of marble and onyx round out the new urn line. A new offering is a Wilbert exclusive design for MacKenzie cultured marble urns. Customers are now able to order standard cultured marble urns in a unique design featuring column corners, softer molded bevels, and a single, continuous top on companion urns, providing more space for engraving. Wilbert cremation products are available to order through your local Wilbert licensee or by going online to WilbertDirect.com. Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. Announces New Cremation Choices Catalog Vol. 10 BROADVIEW, IL, SEPTEMBER 15, 2022 – Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc., (WFSI) the leading provider of burial vaults and cremation-related products and services in North America, is pleased to announce the launch of their new Cremation Choices Catalog on October 1st. CFSA Insider | Page 3

ASSOCIATION NEWS Vandor Corporation Celebrates its 50th poration is celebrating 50 Years of Success in Indiana. After having earlier moved to Richmond, Indiana a Michigan casket manufacturing company started by Bruce and Suzanne Elder changed its name in 1972 to honor Bruce’s parents Vance and Doris Elder. With nearly 60 patents issued so far with many more forthcoming, and brands that include Reel Options, Elderlite, and Starmark Funeral Products, Vandor has grown to more than 200 team members working together to create products that serve Your Real Source. Anywhere. Anytime. funeral professionals as well as automotive, communications, construction, and consumer product industries. The team members’ dedication and affirmative attitude underpinning Vandor’s culture from the beginning remains steadfast to this day. A Golden Celebration In celebration of its 50th year, Vandor hosted a companywide congratulatory event on Saturday, September 17, 2022, at the Starr Gennett building in Richmond Indiana. With over 300 past and present team members and their families attending, local favorites Smiley’s Pub Catering, Ullery’s Homemade Ice Cream, and AVI Food Systems served lunch and dessert to the celebration guests. The Northeastern High School Cheer Team supported with activities for the children including inflatables and face painting. Melissa Vance of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce honored Vandor for its years committed to growth in the Richmond area. A strong sense of friendship and gratitude for one another and a recognition of past accomplishments was shared among team members. Vandor’s team is prepared and looking ahead to its next fifty years! www.nomispublications.com Anniversary Year with a Company Picnic Honoring Past and Current Employees RICHMOND, IN. September 19, 2022 – Vandor CorCFSA Insider | Page 4 Find exactly what you’re looking for!

HIGHLIGHTS CFSA AT NFDA INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION AND EXPO CFSA Executive Director, Tim Murphy, represented CFSA during the NFDA International Convention and Expo this past October. While there, he met up with a lot of CFSA members and made connections with potential members. Take a look at his time at the tradewshow below! CFSA Executive Director, Tim Murphy, with Astral Director of Distributor Sales, Julie Haney, in front of the Astral booth. Thacker Casket team in front of their booth at NFDA. Thacker Casket has been a CFSA member for 30 years. CFSA Executive Director, Tim Murphy, with CFSA board member and C&L Containers President, Lori Eanes at the Order of the Golden Rule booth. CFSA President, Justin Thacker and CFSA Executive Director, Tim Murphy presented the Astral team with a certificate recognizing their 50th anniversary. From left to right is Mark Evans, Astral Senior VP, Sales, Julie Haney, Astral Director of Distributor Sales, and Don Robinson, Astral President. CFSA Insider | Page 6

SAVE The 2023 CFSA Annual Conference is an investment in your company’s future – gaining you access to thought leaders, allowing you to collaborate on best practices, energize, and develop leadership innovations. When we gather in Indianapolis we honor our history while networking with the future. Spark Connections at the 2023 Annual Conference. Learn more at Spark Connections cfsaa.org/page/AnnualConference CFSA Insider | Page 7 the date

FEATURE BRAND LOYALTY MAY BE FADING, BUT DOES IT MATTER? Contribution by Tony Russo This story originally was published in the Oct. 13, 2022 of Funeral Service Insider This week, as part of our continuing analysis of Kates-Boylston Publications Annual Casket Survey, we’re taking a look at brand loyalty. The question, “Our basic approaches and attitudes toward casket companies are (check all that apply)” seeks to get a sense of how funeral directors and funeral home owners and managers see their range of choice in the market, or so we thought. What we may have discovered is that the same demographics that effect the general public’s attitude could also be reflected in funeral service itself. The most notable change between 2015 and this year was in response to the first option: “We are strongly loyal to our main/only casket supplier and not inclined to switch.” In 2015, nearly 60% of respondents selected this among the other answers, but since 2017 that number has begun to decline, lingering in the 40s. There was a notable blip as it returned to 50% in the wake of the pandemic in 2020, but it fell back pretty quickly to this year’s 40.5% Timothy Murphy, CEO and executive director of the Casket and Funeral Supply Association of America, helped us dig into the numbers a little bit. In addition to his administrative position, Murphy had a 12-year career as an embalmer and funeral director in Ohio. He since has relocated to Indianapolis, the heart of the casket industry, where the CFSAA has its home base. “I always get accused by my funeral service friends. ‘You were in the golden age of funeral service from the mid-80s to the mid-90s, where every call you got was calling hours, church service, earth burial,’” they told him. “‘So, you were selling a vault, full service, casket, the whole shooting match.’” He couldn’t object. When Murphy was a funeral director doing 220 calls per year, 95% of his calls were traditional Catholic funerals, he said. There wasn’t a question of changing suppliers or making adjustments for margin. The simple fact is that today’s funeral directors face radically different challenges. CFSA Insider | Page 8

COVID Changes COVID affected the funeral industry in deep and permanent ways. While it didn’t increase the raw percentages of cremation, the undeniable attraction of direct cremation for many families is an area worth of consideration. COVID required funeral homes to adopt technology in a way they otherwise wouldn’t have, and it made people think about funerals and end-of-life planning as they maybe hadn’t for 100 years. “Everybody was like, ‘Hey, you can’t have a funeral. You can’t have people gather, you can’t do this.’ So, they were doing direct disposals and then just trying to plan a party for later,” Murphy said. As it became clear that wasn’t a trend that would reverse, what Murphy calls the “merchandise issue” became a fact of life for funeral directors. Finding a way to help families grieve and memorialize became a more difficult problem. Still, he said, that’s more a funeral director issue, it shouldn’t affect loyalty to the supplier. For one thing, distributors play a massive role in funeral home sales. CFSAA has members from every industry that sells to funeral homes. In addition to casket manufacturers, there are embalming fluid producers, hearse companies and stationery companies. If it gets sold to a funeral home, it’s represented in the CFSAA. While many of the biggest casket manufacturers have boots-on-the-ground salespeople, not every brand representative works for the brand. In many cases, Murphy said, said, funeral homes might not even know they’re dealing with a distributor. “I think the first thing that really entered my head was there’s a lot of different balls in the air on this one,” Murphy said. “There are factors that are affecting this coming from a whole lot of different angles and places, and I didn’t really realize this until I started posing this question to funeral directors.” He checked in with some of his members and even took the opportunity and brought it up among four funeral director friends over a couple of beers . “I said, ‘Hey guys, as long as we’re here and as long as the beer is flowing, let’s talk about this,” he said. “And I got some answers that I didn’t expect.” Murphy said the fourth was the youngest and least experienced of the group. He didn’t have a hard line opinion on his company’s choices, but brand loyalty wasn’t something he thought about much. “‘I like the people that our firm buys from, but I am open to any and all suggestions, and I’m really open to any and all price quotes,’” he told Murphy. Four Perspectives on Loyalty Murphy’s funeral director friends were three men and a woman with a range of experience in the industry. Their responses may provide some insight into what the casket industry faces over the next several decades: The first was a 40-year-old first-generation funeral home owner. He had been in the business less than a decade and his answer was direct. “He said, ‘I buy everything from China and I’m not loyal to anybody,’” Murphy told me. The second guy owned a multi-location funeral home. Murphy said he was a sixth- or seventh-generation owner and recounted his story: “He said, ‘My dad was fiercely loyal to his vault supplier and to his casket supplier, the other suppliers, maybe not so much. But the main ingredients, the casket and the vault, those are the people that we are really loyal to. My dad was so loyal he would never, ever think about changing suppliers,’” Murphy said. The son, however, had no compunction about shopping price. When Murphy asked him why he simply said, “Because Dad wasn’t chasing margin and I am. I’m going for price, and I’m going to go wherever that price is.” The third funeral director works for a larger funeral home company, one big enough to be able to negotiate price with certain lines. She told Murphy that price was a factor for her as well and that buying local, in her experience, didn’t have the cache people seemed to think it has. “Quite frankly, the consumer doesn’t care,” she said. “Only once in my career, which is about 13 or 14 years, did a family ever ask if the casket was made in Indiana. They’re looking at this exterior, and they’re looking at the beautiful wood, and they’re looking at the nice interior, and if it has a ‘MADE IN CHINA’ stamp on the bottom of it, they don’t care.”

FEATURE A Question of Demographics While Murphy is the first to say that five friends chatting about work isn’t going to produce scientific results, the anecdotal evidence is appealing. If the number of funeral directors who practice brand loyalty is in decline, it could be related to funeral directors retiring. Funeral directors who have been at it 20 years or fewer are almost in a different business than, say, Murphy and the directors who were working in the 80s and 90s. “I believe that if that was controlled for in a poll, we would see that right along generational lines,” Murphy said. “Nothing is absolute, but I certainly believe it would be a trend, and it would be a strong one.” If demographics are a trending factor, it’s worth looking at a non-trend, which was best represented by responses to the final option on the chart about whether the internet is an imminent threat to casket sales. For most of the last seven years of the survey, the response to “We believe we will lose a significant number of sales to internet retail, third parties and casket stores in the next 24 months,” has vacillated between 4% and 6% (it was 6.3% in 2022). In 2016 it touched 9%. This relative stasis didn’t surprise Murphy. Even though Costco is still in the casket business and there are plenty of online retailers, he said he believes that most funeral directors are rightly skeptical that they will ever account for a significant number of sales. “ “I think that if we factored in online sales or casket stores, as it were, even if they were brick and mortar, I think that sliver of the pie would be really little. I don’t know that it would even reach 5%,” Murphy said. According to the last eight years of casket survey data, fewer than 10% of respondents bought most of their caskets from companies other than the largest six, Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions, Batesville, Thansker Caskets, Astral, Sich and Private Label. Of those, nearly all named local or regional brands. There are factors that are affecting this coming from a whole lot of different angles and places, and I didn’t really realize this until I started posing this question to funeral directors. The Call to Action If indeed loyalty is fading as the result of demographic changes and/or funeral directors becoming a little more margin-focused, Murphy doesn’t see it as a net-negative for casket manufacturers. In fact, because he deals so closely with many of the casket salespeople, both corporate and distributors, he isn’t sure they rely on brand loyalty. More to the point, he doubts that these professionals count on loyalty when it comes to making sales. If the fact that loyalty seems to be fading as a decision-maker influences them at all, he said, it will only be to make them that much more responsive to customers. -Timothy Murphy, CEO and executive director of the Casket and Funeral Supply Association of America “They will say, ‘You know what? To me that’s just like another competitor opened up down the road and I’ve got to be better, then I’m going to tell my bosses we have to be price sensitive, and we have to be quality sensitive, and we can’t compromise on anything,’” Murphy said. “‘But we’re going to have “There are people that have online stores. I know some of them (I know of them, I don’t know the people personally), but I asked my distributor members who are kind of like data hounds,” he said. Murphy’s distributor members told him that internet sales weren’t on their radar because even though they may have lower prices, they aren’t in a position to influence a family’s buying decisions. While families definitely shop online for funeral homes and direct cremation, that’s primarily where their searches end, particularly at-need. CFSA Insider | Page 10 to really get the product out in front of the people and show them how good we are.’ “I really think what’s going to happen with the manufacturers and the salesforces thereof is they’re just going to go and beat it a little harder just to make sure that they hold onto their market share.” “

IN THE INDUSTRY Private Equity Continues Move into Death Care Contribution by Tom Anderson This story originally was published on October 5 on Funeral Director Daily It’s not surprising to see why in a world of 73 million baby boomers and a large group of funeral home owners planning to retire in the next five years that private equity businesses see an opportunity in Death Care, specifically in owning funeral homes. This article from Fortune entitled “Death is anything but a dying business as private equity cashes in on the $23 billion funeral home industry” has prompted a lot of discussion, and some angst, among funeral home professionals. The article points out that in the late 1980s and the early 1990s the funeral home industry went through a lot of consolidation and that is happening once again. Part of the driver of that phenomena is those baby boomer funeral directors — many who own funeral homes and are planning their retirement and exit with no upcoming generation to succeed the family tradition. Those family funeral homes have been successful over the years and many have increased in value enough that it is difficult for funeral directors entering the profession to afford the purchase price that others may be willing to pay. That’s another reason that the known consolidators and start-ups funded with private equity money are coming to the table for ownership. There is, however, among some in the profession and some in the consumer sector that believe that larger, acquisition ownership companies, driven by private equity and public ownership are not good for the future of death care. Their basic argument is that instead of consolidating assets and working to lower price via economies of scale, that these operators will reduce competition and increase the price to consumers. It’s easy to understand that the consolidators argue back that claim. Funeral Director Daily take: I think the Fortune article is really good and you should read it. As a former funeral home owner and one who sold his funeral home to a regional operation, I do think, however, that the situation of succession is much more nuanced and much more complicated than just being about selling, raising prices, and going on one’s way. Our family funeral home was founded in 1872, and is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. I was the 4th generation in my family to assume the position of manager/funeral director/ operator of the funeral home after my father’s death. I was, and still am, very proud of our family’s heritage in helping families in my community during the loss of their loved ones and helping them move from grief to remembrance. It’s a heritage that I felt privileged to have been able to help with. That being said, the desire to retire and have less responsibilities found its way to me. There were other things in life I was interested in doing and there was no way to do them while still being employed at the funeral home full time. Our two sons, with whom we never applied any pressure to “follow the family footsteps” were about college aged and we knew that they had other life desires that didn’t include owning a funeral home. And, like others in the business, we had been successful and grew the operation which had increased its value. We talked with employees about succession but at the end of the day they were either uninterested in owning or would not be able to raise the amount of capital, even at a discounted sales price, that we thought fair. We took our funeral home to market and I wanted an owner who understood the day to day struggles of funeral directors. We found that in a CEO of a regional company that had many of the same values as I did about funeral service. That’s not to say that there are not bumps in the road moving forward — it’s very CFSA Insider | Page 12

IN THE INDUSTRY different operating a funeral home from the outside than it is being there day to day, everyday, like an owner operator. It was difficult for me to give up ownership of the family business. I feel tremendous allegiance to my great-grandfather, grandfather, and father who served before I did. I had plenty of talks with them at the cemetery during the time we were contemplating the sale of the business. However, I also know that my great-grandfather came across the Atlantic Ocean to America in 1872 not knowing what it would bring to him and his young bride. He was skilled in the cabinet trade and that led to building coffins. . . . .and we grew from there. And, I’m pretty sure he would rest easy if he knew the business he started provided business opportunities for his descendants spanning parts of three centuries. I’m happy, my boys are happy in their careers and our funeral home continues to serve families in our community with compassion. That’s a win for all of us. Yes. . . the consolidators, whether on a regional or national scale, will continue to grow as there are more owners who find themselves in the situation that I found myself in. They do, however, have to make a profit to keep providing that service. My hope is that they operate their businesses with compassion for the families they serve while offering opportunities for their employees for advancement in a way that many family-owned funeral homes never can. Industry Calendar Listed below are dates of selected state and national events important to the deathcare industry. If you have additions to suggest,please send them to info@cfsaa.org. The most up-to-date calendar information can always be found at CFSAA.org. January 30-February 1, 2023: South Carolina Funeral Directors Association Mid-Winter Conference & Expo February 8-10, 2023: CANA’s 2023 Cremation Symposium FAMIC’s consumer education campaign, Have the Talk of a Lifetime, has started conversation among families and friends - people in your community - about their lives and how they want to be remembered after they die. Visit FAMIC.org to learn more about the program and access a variety of tools you can easily incorporate into your business today. Click HERE for the newest CST Company’s Bulletin of Collections CFSA Insider | Page 13 I also believe that while the regional or national consolidators have a leg-up on acquiring the heritage firms that go to market, there is a tremendous opportunity for young funeral directors in the niche side of the profession. It’s not always about finding the cash to buy the current operator out. It may be about operating a cremation only business, or an alkaline hydrolysis only business, or a green funeral home. In my opinion there is the same opportunity in the new ways of human disposition that built the cremation only operators back in the 1970’s. Quite frankly, like the cremation operations in the 1970’s, I believe that this time period may offer generational potential in what are now niche death care businesses. I also believe that in a lot of communities scrapping the necessary amount needed to do that from family and friends may in the end. . . twenty or thirty years down the road. . . be a much more prosperous venture than getting a huge loan or bringing in an equity partner to buy out the big guy in town who is doing business in the traditional way. . . . And this may be especially true if it turns out to be that private equity and the big players raise the death-care costs to consumers. The opportunities are still out there in this profession. Those that search them out and work hard will probably find them.

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT SCOTT WEISENBACH SICH CASKET COMPANY NATIONAL SALES DIRECTOR How did you get started in the funeral industry? I was born and raised in Batesville, Indiana; therefore, I guess it was inevitable that at some point I would become involved in funeral service. What is the most rewarding part of your occupation? I have found that the most satisfying aspect of my career is the professional and personal relationships I have developed with the people in funeral service; especially the individuals that comprise the Sich distributor network. Is there a specific moment or experience in your career that encapsulates your passion for what you do? Not one specific moment, but rather every time someone contacts me with a question or requests my assistance. When this happens, I feel humbled and blessed that our relationship is such that they have reached out to me. I see this as trust, confidence, and most of all, the basis of a strong relationship. Who or what inspires you? Sich Casket’s owner and my boss, Sirius Chan. Sirius began in an industry he knew nothing about although, with research, a vision, and passion, he took a risk and in 2004 sold his first casket. I am blessed that Sirius had another vision in September 2018 to bring me aboard and invest in the continued strength of Sich Casket. Interestingly, Sirius calls me Sich’s Wonderbra – since I provide such great support to our distributor network. I am truly honored and inspired that he believes so greatly in my abilities and the value I provide to our distributor partners. How long have you been a member of CFSA? I have been a member for three years and I am proud to serve on the Board of Directors for CFSA. How has being a CFSA member impacted your experience in the funeral supply industry? Seeing first-hand how competitors put their differences aside on behalf of a much bigger picture, which is working side by side to make CFSA and our industry much stronger by sharing ideas and business practices that benefit both the people we serve and the families our accounts serve. Favorite moment with CFSA? My favorite moment takes place at the CFSA Annual Conference and Trade Show. The event provides me the opportunity to be with many of our distributors and share a meal at the Sich Distributor Dinner - as I consider each Sich distributor a personal friend. How do you spend your time outside of work? Is there anything in particular that you enjoy doing? I enjoy sharing time with my wife, Jill, and our four children. I am blessed that my family enjoys my passion for running marathons, hiking in the mountains, and traveling. I believe that you can find something good and unique if you are willing to travel and explore. What are some important/notable trends that you have noticed in the funeral supply industry? One of the biggest trends I have seen on the supply side is that funeral home owners now look to their sales representatives to bring value during a sales call. The days of the sales rep showing up and flipping pictures are long gone. Funeral homes are looking for partnerships – not just products - from their suppliers. CFSA Insider | Page 14

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