“There was some confusion, people didn’t understand the difference between the association and the funeral home,” said Nora Menkin, the co-op’s funeral director.
She’s also aiming to change the way we view funeral homes.
“We chose Capitol Hill because we wanted to be in proximity to hospitals, we wanted to be accessible and convenient,” said Menkin, who started out as an intern at the Co-op in 2007 before being promoted to funeral director in 2009. Being in the mix of things allows the co-op to reach people who may not have given funeral planning a thought. “A lot of people walk in our doors curious about what we do,” she said.
But even with its centrally located digs, Menkin still says a good percentage of the Co-op’s business is done over the phone. “Some people are just more comfortable making decisions over the phone while sitting in their living room,” she said.
The People’s Memorial Association was established in 1939 for people who wanted funerals at a more reasonable cost. It’s a buying club, of sorts, that advocates for lower prices. Membership here means access to set negotiated discount prices and contracts with 20 funeral homes across Washington.
But in 2007, the Association opened the co-op funeral home on Capitol Hill to provide a full-range of funeral services competitive with traditional funeral homes — cremation, burials, and organizing chapel services. Like other co-ops in the area, it works in a way that members share benefits and receive lower prices for services. Members who want cremation services, for example, receive a discounted rate ($699) while non-members pay full price ($849).
Lifetime membership costs $25 for both the People’s Memorial Association and The Co-op Funeral Home of People’s Memorial. That said, Menkin says you may want to sign up sooner than later, as membership fees are set to increase for the first time in 12 years in September.
The Co-op Funeral Home is located at 1801 12th Ave. You can learn more at peoplesmemorial.org.