September 1, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
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Brunswick business helps mourners pay final respects at lower cost

Mark and Debbie Bollinger operate Bollinger Funeral Goods and Services, 3325 Center Road, Brunswick. The shop sells caskets, urns and headstones at reduced prices. Mark Bollinger said the only different between other funeral homes and his is that he can't host the services. (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

BRUNSWICK — When a loved one dies, Mark Bollinger knows the financial hardship of a funeral can be overwhelming.

So he started Bollinger Funeral Goods and Services, 3325 Center Road, Brunswick, where families can go to find less expensive caskets, urns, headstones and burial vaults.

“We offer something people need and want at half the price,” said Bollinger, whose family has been in the funeral business for three generations.

The only catch: He can’t host services.

Instead, families must find somewhere else to pay their final respects — other funeral homes, churches, cemeteries or even at home.

Bollinger’s wife, Debbie, said they can help families find other places to hold funerals and viewings, and that they can even conduct them.

“We’re a licensed, full-service business,” she said. “We just can’t hold services here.”

Mark Bollinger said the average funeral these days costs about $10,000. Using his services, he said customers can save between 50 percent and 75 percent, depending on what they need.

“You can get an urn or a casket, or both if you need them,” he said.

They offer less traditional products, too.

“You can get your loved one’s ashes put into jewelry or decorative pieces,” Debbie Bollinger said.

“That way, you can keep them near without anyone ever knowing.”

Mark Bollinger said that appeals to some people but makes others uncomfortable.

“It’s a sensitive business,” he said. “Everyone’s got a different train of thought on the subject.”

The Bollingers, who opened their store in November, said they can sell their products at lower prices because they don’t have the additional costs of maintaining an area for viewings and conducting services.

His family’s Cleveland-based business did handle services when he was a child, he said, but he never planned to be a funeral director.

“I wanted to be a doctor,” he said. “But none of my siblings were going to continue the family business, so I thought I should.”

In the 1990s, he sold his family’s Cleveland-based funeral home but in the past year decided to make a comeback.

“If I was going to get back into the business, I wanted to do it different,” he said. “So we came up with this one, and now we’re encouraging our customers to think outside the box — a little pun.”

To contact Mark and Debbie Bollinger, call (330) 273-6001 or visit www.bollingerfuneral.com.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.