Local Funeral Director Puts New Twist on Old Tradition
BOWLING GREEN, Va. — When you’ve been in the funeral business for as long as David Storke has, you learn a few things. For Storke, it was how many flowers go to waste after a funeral.
“I saw firsthand how much money was spent each year on flowers — flowers that were beautiful, but that were just going to go to waste,” Storke said.
According to the Society of American Florists, sympathy bouquets and flowers account for 22% of retail florist’s business.
David Storke set out to find an alternative to giving flowers as sympathy gifts.
“I started looking for ways to offer food as a sympathy gift on my funeral home website. I went online to research the idea and found that no one else had thought of it.”
In 2008, he launched Sympathy Food. The online business allows customers to choose from over twenty meals that they can have delivered to anyone who is grieving or has lost a loved one.
The Sympathy Food website states, “There is a timeless tradition of bringing over a meal to someone during a time of loss or grief, but sometimes distance prevents you from doing so. Sympathy Food takes away the distance.”
The business was an instant success. So much so that Storke launched two more sister companies in April —the Meal Stork and Get Well Meals.
These websites offer meals that can be sent as a “get well” gift, or as a congratulatory gift on a new baby.
“Having four boys made me appreciate how nice it was when someone gave me a meal as a gift,” said Storke.
Storke, who is also the mayor of Bowling Green, Virginia, has been a funeral director for twenty-seven years.
“My business motto is ‘Don’t say it, do it’,” said Storke.
“So many businesses think that it’s so important to have a mission statement or advertisement telling how good they are. Don’t say it, do it…every day and every time you come in contact with a customer.”
This motto has served Storke well and has gained him a noteworthy reputation in the town of Bowling Green.
Carolyn Lane, vice president of Storke Funeral Home, has worked for Storke eighteen years out of the twenty-five she has known him.
“He is very good at working with people and knowing how to handle most situations,” she said.
Mark Bissoon, a family friend of Storke’s and business owner in Bowling Green, said, “David’s professionalism in his line of work sets him apart from others.”
As far as David Storke is concerned, “My favorite job will always be my role as a funeral director in a small town. It has allowed me and prepared me to do all the things that I do now.”