Growth expected for casket maker

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Cape Broyle-based company getting ready to sell more units off-island

Kevin Dalton (left) from Dalton’s Casket Manufacturing is seen here with MHA Keith Hutchings, minister of the department of innovation, business and rural development. — Submitted photo courtesy of Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

Kevin Dalton of Dalton’s Casket Manufacturing out of Cape Broyle said there is opportunity for his business to expand.

The only casket manufacturer in the province, the company has been in operation since 1991, but has undergone significant changes in recent years.

When The Telegram spoke with Dalton in August 2000, he employed five people.

But that’s changed.

“I say we probably got close on 10,” he said Tuesday.

“We’ve got an agent in Vancouver and we got our consultant in St. John’s and we have our office people and drivers. I’d say we have at least 10 or more.”

He said the growth can be attributed to investment in a larger product line, along with specialty delivery trucks and marketing projects, including a new website.

Dalton’s Casket Manufacturing was producing caskets with oak, birch and pine, but added steel caskets for buyers between six and seven years ago.

The move opened doors, the owner said, since many funeral homes were looking for suppliers offering a line that included steel caskets.

“Things have been going really good the past number of years,” Dalton said.

The provincial government has announced the business will receive $62,080 for the purchase of new equipment, specifically a spray booth for casket finishing.

The funding is being provided through the technology utilization program of the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development.

“This equipment is an investment in the long-term viability of the company,” Minister Keith Hutchings stated in a news release about the funding.

“Simple changes such as replacing old methods and practices with the latest applications can lead to efficiencies and new business and economic opportunities. As a government, we believe the programs and services established under the innovation strategy are fostering increased innovation related activities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, especially among small businesses in rural regions.”

A department spokesman said other recipients of technology utilization program funding will be announced in the next week.

Meanwhile, Dalton’s Casket Manufacturing is getting ready to relocate its operations — consolidating from its two-building setup to a single, 24,000-square-foot home base. The company will still be based in Cape Broyle, about a mile up the road from its current location.

“We used to run a nightclub there and we shut it down when the moratorium came on,” Dalton said of the new location. “We kept it as a warehouse and we built onto it then several times over the years.”

The new building has been under renovation to ready it for Dalton’s business.

“We’re just finishing off the last piece of it today,” he said.

A decade ago, when searching for markets, the company had been sending shipments of caskets to Iceland and Greenland.

Dalton said as the company gets settled into its new home, and armed with a new product line, he may look at pushing into those international markets once more.

He said markets in Atlantic Canada are also on the radar.

“We’re hoping to probably expand into that territory within the next year,” he said.

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Department of Innovation, Rural Development

Geographic location: Cape Broyle, Vancouver, Newfoundland and Labrador Iceland Greenland Atlantic Canada

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Recent comments

  • David
    August 01, 2012 - 16:23

    The one thing that Newfoundland has a real shot to be 'world class' : Death, with all the indefensibly expensive costs and painful ceremony that does it up right! .

  • Charles A. Grant
    July 27, 2012 - 11:35

    Caskets are funeral home biggest items - "retail" sales to families. They mark up caskets on the showroom floor 300% so they do make a big profit. Do what you need to do, purchase your own at a casket store and save big bucks; they are same caskets. Right now, families are being their own "funeral" providers. Purchasing all necessary items the need; grave, outter burial container, casket. That's where your money goes. Now you are going to pay your funeral provider their upfront fees for handling of the remains, and small other services, but you can do the rest, print your obituary, sometimes they are free. O.K., now you can do what we do.

  • My Twocents
    July 26, 2012 - 12:50

    I can't help but wonder why they need the investment of a Govt grant if business is going so well and they have the money to build a huge new building. That's puzzling to me. I am also for selling directly to the public. Funeral Homes are making millions off the backs of poor family memebrs who have to go in debt or use their retirement savings to bury a loved one. My father-in-law was charged $2000 to RENT a casket for his wife's wake then she was cremated. The funeral was very simple but came in to the tune of bargain basement price of $8000 that's pure highway robbery. I'd love to see an expose on funeral homes done.

  • Myra Manes
    July 25, 2012 - 13:54

    Congratulations.....

  • Joseph McGrath
    July 25, 2012 - 10:26

    Good for Mr.Dalton and his successful company.It is not a topic we like tto talk about but it comes to us all.If something can be made in NL then let's make sure we ask for and buy it.The same applies to Headstones,Grave Markers etc.People should insist on dealing with local business firms first.Far to much "STUFF"is being brought in from the mainland for local usage.NL "FIRST|always!!!!!!

    • a business man
      July 27, 2012 - 06:21

      Actually,. I am born and raised in NL, but for me it is NL always last. Here is why: Firstly, instead of making decisions based on where things were made, we should purchase the product that provides the best value for money. If an Asian or American product is of similar quality and available at a cheaper cost, we should buy the cheaper foreign product. I am happy to pay for better quality and better value for money, but I will NOT pay more for the sole purpose of providing some newfoundlander with a job. If foreigners can offer the same of anything for less, they will get my business everytime. My decisions are always made according to my best interests, and keeping money in my pocket is better for me than allowing that money to go in someone else's pocket.....Secondly, as an investor, my investments are all over the world. I would rather see my money support Ontario or selected US states because I operate in those areas by spending money in those areas will allow the people in those areas to spend money at my establishments. To me, this is much better than support newfoundland workers, because my presence is very small in newfoundland, so I will likely make less. Again, I will do what is best for me and my family, and I encourage everyone of you to do the same. Don't let other tell you how to spend your money. You earned it, so please get the most out of it, even if it means you support imported products.

  • PR
    July 25, 2012 - 09:19

    I agree with DIRECT SALES. From 2,000 to 10,000 is too much. If the public could buy from Dalton, would the funeral home accept it? Would they have to ?Maybe the Telegram could do a story on a casket, from manufacture to burial. Why is govt giving money to a business that is "going really good" ? 62,000 is not a lot of money but do they really need it? Also, shouldn't he know how many people he has working for him? Is it close to 10, is it 10 or is it more than 10?

  • Direct sales
    July 25, 2012 - 07:37

    I would like to see caskets being sold direct to the consumer, rather than only through a funeral home. I know a casket maker in another province. His products are absolutely beautiful--better than a lot of furnishings you can buy. He sells them for $1000 to $2000 each directly to the funeral homes. They turn around the same day and resell them to grieving families for between $5000 and $10,000. This is really a scam. Dying does not need to cost so much. I would much prefer to go to a showroom of the actual casket-maker and pay him/her a reasonable price for a casket made on the premises. Not sure whether Daltons sells direct to the public or not but something to consider.