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Business

One Industry Is Flourishing During The Coronavirus Pandemic: The Casket Business

Casket and coffin manufacturers’ revenue has risen 5.1% this year as more than 150,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
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Casket and coffin manufacturers’ revenue has risen 5.1% this year as more than 150,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.";

This story is part of Houston Public Media’s ongoing coronavirus coverage. Click here to see more of our coronavirus news and resources.

Kyle Goldstein, owner of Lone Star Casket, a Houston-area casket wholesale business, said normally his best sales numbers happen during the winter months.

"Once you get into the holiday season, depression goes up, there's more suicides, illnesses are more prevalent in the colder months," Goldstein said.

But as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the region Goldstein said he has now broken all his sales records in the past two months. In July, he sold 45 caskets. Normally, he said, he would be "very happy" with selling 30 in a winter month.

Goldstein said he prepared for the expected rise in deaths early on by increasing his inventory.

"There's other conglomerates that are moving a lot more product than I am," Goldstein said. "I am a very small fish."

Nationwide, revenue in the casket manufacturing industry has increased by 5.1% this year, according to industry research firm IBIS World.

But the firm also said the demand is overwhelming many funeral-related businesses in urban areas.

Funeral homes are building more cooler space to store the many bodies before they are buried, and cremations can't be done any faster than they already are, Goldstein said.

"If I encounter anybody that does not believe in the severity of this pandemic, I can take you to a funeral home and show you how serious it is," Goldstein said. "It is no exaggeration that the bodies are in a literal sense stacking up."