The cremation industry is booming, a reflection of tighter economic times and a push from consumers for more creative funeral options, reports the Washington Post. Cremations, cheaper than traditional burial, rose 7% nationwide in the past 5 years and made up 35% of the funeral market last year. Funeral homes are building or expanding crematorium facilities, and entrepreneurs are devising new ways to memorialize ashes.
A pair of Virginia men with no industry experience hatched the idea of concrete-and-ash garden statues, and are now selling their customized product in funeral homes across the region. Another company offers wind-chime urns, available in both alto and soprano. “"Death is like going to the clothing store for a suit,” says the company’s owner. “It's not a 'one size fits all.'”