Growth expected for casket maker

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

Published on July 25, 2012
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