For Immediate Release
Family’s Furniture Past Translates into New Business Enterprise
EXODUS CoffinWorks, Inc. Proves that Quality and Craftsmanship are far From Dead
BURKE COUNTY, N.C. (January 3, 2013) – Elvy Bryan grew up around the furniture industry. Her father worked for many of the large facilities that were once operated in Burke County including Drexel Heritage and Henredon. He also helped some local businessmen launch their own furniture company, EJ Victor.
“I guess it was just in our blood,” said Bryan. “We heard my father talk about it all the time. He just loved the furniture industry. I never worked in it but it was always a part of our family.”
What Bryan always admired about the furniture industry was the quality and craftsmanship that went into every piece. She carries those standards over to her new business venture, EXODUS CoffinWorks, Inc., which produces affordable, well-made coffins.
“I got the idea a few years ago when I was thinking about my own funeral,” explained Bryan, who officially launched the company in September. “I wanted an inexpensive coffin but after talking to the local funeral director I learned that you can’t find them around here. That started the wheels turning.”
Bryan enlisted the help of a designer who also has a furniture background. Ken Volz Jr., of kv2 Design, was trained by his father, who worked with Bryan’s father at Henredon. The next step was to find a manufacturer. For that Bryan turned to another family friend, Ed Phifer, Vice Chairman of EJ Victor. Phifer pointed Bryan to a local company called SpartaCraft Custom WoodWorks, which manufactures all types of wood products including flag cases and custom cabinets.
“Once I saw the design I was excited because it was dynamite, I knew that she had something,” said SpartaCraft President Don Clark. “We are open to making anything for anyone if it looks incredible. We can take any idea from start to finish including design, prototyping and production.”
For SpartaCraft, producing coffins made good business sense as the company is already somewhat part of the funeral industry. They manufacture between 40 and 50 thousand flag cases each year, many of which are bought to hold flags used during military funerals.
“A lot of people say they want to buy ‘American made’ and that really stands true with a flag case,” explained Clark. “In that particular product category it matters to people that it is American made so we do very well with our flag cases. I’m already talking to funeral home directors all the time and I go to funeral home trade shows, so it makes sense.”
For Bryan, teaming with SpartaCraft helps meet another goal she has for EXODUS CoffinWorks. Through her business she hopes local companies can grow and more Burke residents can be employed.
“I wanted to help my community and put our people back to work,” explained Bryan. “When we put bids out it was only to our local manufacturers. Every piece of the coffin is being produced locally. I want to help businesses stay up and running so they can keep people employed.”
Bryan now has a website for the company and SpartaCraft has produced sample coffins to showcase the product. Clark says he is getting the framework together to create a production line, which he believes will bring costs down and make the product even more competitive.
“We’re fortunate because we have the space to grow,” added Clark. “We have incredible people working here who are hungry for growing this business and finding new opportunities. We’re proud of what we do and what we make with great Burke County folks. We’re just trying to matter; trying to grow, add jobs and help people in this area.”
Clark admires Bryan for her passion and commitment, explaining that while many business owners talk about ‘made in America’ Bryan is putting her money where her mouth is. “Elvy wants to create jobs here in Burke County. A lot of people say that but she goes beyond the speech, she’s actually doing it,” said Clark.
Bryan is finding numerous positives in the new business venture. She is thrilled that people tell her the coffins look like a piece of furniture because she wants to convey the craftsmanship that goes into each coffin. She is happy that, compared to a traditional casket, her coffins have less metal and plastic, and are more earth friendly. She is also pleased that she is helping her fellow Burke County citizens.
“I love where I am and where I grew up,” she says. “We have so much creativity and talent here in this community. I don’t want to see those gifts, that craftsmanship, die out. I want to keep that alive and keep our people employed. We used to be a dynamic and viable center for textiles and furniture. I know that we can return to that.”
About EXODUS CoffinWorks, Inc.
EXODUS CoffinWorks, Inc. was established in 2012 to create affordable coffins, which are environmentally friendly and locally made. The company was founded by Elvy Bryan, who works closely with kv2 Design and SpartaCraft, to create beautifully crafted coffins. For more information visit www.exoduscoffinworks.com.
SpartaCraft, Inc. manufactures the finest heirloom-quality wood products available today. From Flag and Display cases for our nation’s veteran heroes to custom high-end Cabinets and Millwork, our craftsmen put the same pride and attention to detail into every SpartaCraft product to make sure it will be treasured for generations. For more information, visit www.spartacraft.com or call 1-800-282-8044.
About Burke Development, Inc.
Burke Development, Inc. (BDI) is a nonprofit organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, government agencies and other entities to facilitate expansion strategies for existing businesses and recruit target industries to Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.
Burke Development, Inc.