July 27, 2016 3:12 pm
Updated: July 27, 2016 3:33 pm

Fredericton small business offering environmentally-friendly casket alternative

WATCH ABOVE: A cabinet-maker turned casket maker in Fredericton is creating a buzz in a niche market. Global’s Jeremy Keefe has more.

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A recently-launched small business in Fredericton is hoping to change the casket industry by offering environmentally-friendly handcrafted pine wood creations.

“If you think of a traditional casket, you probably think an expensive wood casket with a highly lacquered finish and maybe some brass rails or handles,” said Jeremy Burrill, the owner and operator of Fiddlehead Casket Company.

“This is quite the opposite. It’s natural pine, no metal involved in it at all. So in the end, this casket is going to go back to the earth.”

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Burrill, who’s spent the last decade working as a cabinet maker, came up with the idea to create pine wood caskets after speaking with a family member.

He says she vented her frustrations over a lack of environmentally-friendly burial options for two funerals she had to help make arrangements for.

“She was saying to me if there was something a little more natural and simple it would’ve really appealed to both of those men,” he said. “But unfortunately, that wasn’t available.”

At the beginning of May, Burrill opened up his shop and began marketing his caskets to funeral homes in the area.

He says the response has been varied as some funeral directors were quick to offer his products as options to their clients while others declined the innovative spin on a longstanding tradition.

“The more people get out and talk to their funeral directors and to each other about this being another option they might consider, the more directors will listen to their customers,” Burrill said.

Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien was on hand for the shop’s grand opening on Thursday afternoon and commended Burrill on thinking outside the box.

Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien saws wood in Fiddlehead’s version of ribbon cutting

Jeremy Keefe

“This is a disrupter type of business that comes in and says, ‘I’ve got something completely different,'” said O’Brien. “It’s environmentally friendly and conscious and economically friendly.”

“He can provide a good level of healthy competition in this casket industry, which is good for everybody,” O’Brien said.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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