Shopping strips provide popular space at what is usually a pretty cheap price. Newer versions of these strips are often dubbed ‘retail neighborhoods’ but at the end of the day they’re just strip malls with a prettier facade. The strip malls that rose to popularity in the 1970s and 80s continue to provide easy access to a wide range of services in many cities. Shops that rent space in shopping strips run the gamut from grocery store and well known clothing outlets to locally owned nail parlors and dollar stores.
So when Bob Healy decided he wanted to open his funeral home, Funeraria San Juan, in a strip mall in Osceola County, Florida, it made headlines. Local businesses tried to block the sale but since there were no laws on the books saying a funeral home couldn’t operate in a strip mall, the sale went through.
Funeraria San Juan moved into an empty former restaurant and was eventually able to open its doors and begin servicing customers. There are some who would say that it seems a bit strange to be able to leave the funeral home and walk directly into a Taco Bell / KFC Combo but, then again, sometimes grief means emotional eating.
There’s no denying that the face of the funeral business is changing. Traditional funeral homes have already given way to larger, more corporate looking homes, though these are usually tucked away from shops and other buildings in order to give clients a sense of privacy. But as business come and go there are many strip malls with huge stores, sitting empty and becoming a blight in the community. Today, there are a number of people who think having funeral homes more centrally located will increase accessibility for urban customers.
Opponents claim having a funeral home wedged between your grocery store and your hairdresser’s hits just a bit too close to home. Certainly it’s made it difficult for funeral homes to expand in that way. Still, the fact is that everyone ultimately needs the help of a funeral home and as populations become more centrally located, it’s completely possible that funeral homes will expand to include store-front style locations. Shopping strip funeral homes may not be commonplace, but it’s easy to see how they could become less headline worthy in the future.