Sharon Murdick never planned to get into the casket business, but she gave it a try after several people told her she’d be perfect for it.
Murdick opened Caskets & More, which sells caskets, granite and bronze memorials, urns, pet markers and silk flower arrangements, on Walton Way 11 years ago.
When her father-in-law died years ago, the funeral home wanted to charge her husband, Jack, $3,800 for a casket. Needing to save money, he found a casket store in Jacksonville, Fla., that asked only $1,600 for the same casket.
“We ended up looking into the business,” Murdick said. “Jack said, ‘Every time I think about the store, I see you doing that.’ He kept after me for months.”
Finally, Murdick decided to visit the Jacksonville business, and the owner tried to convince her to open her own store.
Murdick visited five other casket stores. At each, the owners offered to help her get started. Reluctantly, she decided to give it a try.
“I cried. I did not want to do it,” Murdick said. “I thought it was going to be the most terrible, sad, lonely life, and it has been everything but that. There’s been terrible sadness at times, but it’s been mixed with joy of being able to help people.”
Murdick, who studied theology and has experience in ministry, said her background enables her to better serve her clients. She takes time to listen and doesn’t rush her clients to make decisions, she said.
A year after opening the store, her husband’s employer wanted to transfer him to Arkansas, but the couple didn’t want to close the store or move away from their children and grandchildren.
Her husband, a field engineer at General Physics, decided to retire and work at Caskets & More.
When a customer selects a casket, Murdick’s staff delivers it to the funeral home. She designs all of the memorials, but another company produces them.
“If they can dream it and we can get it on a piece of paper, we can have it made,” Murdick said. “The majority of our business is return business. The people that buy from us are savvy. They watch their money, they’re smart.”
Business can be hectic, so it’s been difficult for Murdick to take time off
over the years. Still, she doesn’t plan to retire soon.
“I’m leaving it in the hands of the good Lord,” Murdick said. “He put me in it, as far as I’m concerned. It’s gotten to be a big part of my life. I like what I do.”