LJHS alumnus modernizing the funeral arrangement industry
by Mariko Lamb
May 16, 2012 | 2490 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dominic Mazzone (left) and Eric Vandermeersch are revolutionizing the funeral arrangement industry with their online-based business, Basic Funerals and Cremation Choices. Courtesy photo
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The death of a family member or loved one is a heart wrenching experience in and of itself. Add the burden of organizing funeral arrangements and the experience can be downright daunting.

Three years ago, 39-year-old La Jolla High School alumnus Dominic Mazzone and his business partner, Eric Vandermeersch, launched Basic Funerals and Cremation Choices — the first licensed, full-service Internet-based funeral company in the U.S.

The idea behind the business is to make the funeral arrangement experience as private, painless and affordable as possible, while providing high quality, personalized services to suit the deceased’s best wishes.

“Basicfunerals.com offers the same exact services you would get from a traditional funeral parlor at about half the price,” said Mazzone. “Families love the fact that they can pick and choose their funeral arrangements instead of having to purchase an expensive package they don’t need.”

Due to low overhead expenses, Basic Funerals is able to pass the savings along to families when they need it most with cremation options starting at less than $800, burial and gravesite services starting at $1,350, and a basic funeral service with casket starting at $2,200.

Vandermeersch, a 15-year veteran in the industry, first became interested in launching a career in the funeral arrangement industry after seeing how well one particular funeral director took care of his family years ago. By the age of 20, he was already a licensed funeral director with the goal of creating a funeral company that gave people what they wanted without pushing unnecessary additions that ramp up the cost.

“Funeral services have traditionally been for the benefit of funeral homes and not the families they we’re supposed to be serving,” said Mazzone. “Also, traditional funeral providers didn’t embrace the Internet at all because it was counter to their business model, i.e. forcing people to come into the funeral home so they can push them into a bigger service and more expensive products.”

The duo has changed the face of the industry for the consumer, making the experience more transparent and offering more affordable choices.

Experienced funeral directors like Vandermeersch are equipped to handle all the necessary arrangements including transport from the place of death and filling out all required documentation, including CPP forms and proof of death certificates.

“We are there for you from start to finish,” said Mazzone.

Easy-to-use contact methods — including a real-time online chat option or a 24-hour phone line — connect family members to professional funeral directors from the privacy and comfort of their own home at any time of day. Funeral arrangements can also be made in-person — either in the family member’s home or at any other arrangement location.

“It’s a concept whose time has come,” said Vandermeersch. “The funeral industry operates in the 21st century with a 17th-century model. Basic Funerals finally gives families a choice, so they can make funeral arrangements that truly fit their needs and budget.”

For support or guidance in making funeral arrangements, visit www.basicfunerals.com or call (877) 999-2895.
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