From Keeping Up with the Kardashians, we recently had Kris, Kim, Khloe, and Rob Kardashian come visit our factory.
This trailer is for the new show Anger Management on FX starring Charlie Sheen, shown here in one of our beautiful caskets!
Desperate Housewives has used our caskets many times. These particular pictures and video feature Terri Hatcher's character Susan at her husband Mike's funeral.
This is a commercial by Style. Network warning the public about the dangers of tanning beds.
Here is our casket that was featured on the hit T.V. show Mike & Molly. In the scene, the actress is sharing her positive view on working in a mortuary.
In Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen (again!) has been filmed in our caskets twice when he was on the show. The following video is a funny clip from the season finale.
These are a few photos from the set of the Old Spice commercial that featured our casket.
One of our caskets was used for a skit on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brian.
This casket was completely custom made for True Blood.
Our casket was used in Hot in Cleveland when one of the women was on the hunt for her missing dress!
One of our caskets was recently featured in the film Green Hornet starring Seth Rogen and Cameron Diaz.
In the hit movie DreamGirls, our casket is featured in a scene with Jennifer Hudson (Effie) singing a song that Keith Robinson's (C.C.) character wrote.
"The Imperial Maple was used in Mr. Deeds. The rich uncle freezes to death and is placed in this casket. During the funeral the casket and uncle are handled by Adam Sandler in a very funny way. In my unbiased opinion,the best part of the movie."
- Joey Conzevoy, ABC Caskets
Sonny with A Chance is a fun show on the Disney Channel featuring Demi Lovato. In this episode is a silly version of a funeral for the shows' furry friend!
We provided caskets for Pushing Daisies.
Our beautiful Opulent casket was featured on Ugly Betty for the funeral of Bradford, the rich and sophisticated owner of MODE Magazine, .
"Daredevil had a short funeral scene for a Greek Tycoon. His casket had to be ornate. The funeral scene was based upon Frank Sinatra's funeral. The top of the casket was covered with thousands of dollars worth of gardenias. The casket was painted to match the silver color used by Lexus. The hardware is called Queen of Heaven and is extremely ornate. Though the casket looks very impressive, it actually isn't that expensive because the shell was made of standard 20 gauge steel. More valuable metals and processes could have been used but it wasn't necessary for filming."
- Joey Conzevoy, ABC Caskets
For a gothic look and feel, the band My Chemical Romance used our Midnight casket in their music video "Helena".
Our caskets were recognized at Vampire Con for being on the T.V. show True Blood.
"We made many different caskets for Six Feet Under. Because of our proximity to the studio and our ability to make custom caskets, we were often called upon to make caskets required for the stories. Sometimes we would use the same metal casket and repaint it for another episode.
Because we can make caskets for different ethnic groups, for children, or for oversized individuals when called for, the studio had a lot of options when dealing with us.
In one episode we made a beautiful maple casket with flat panels on the top so that in the dream scene someone danced on the casket."
- Joey Conzevoy, ABC Caskets
When the Set Decorators Society of America & Traditional Home Magazine teamed up to create a collection of pillows based on film & television shows that have been an inspiration to all of us, ABC Caskets was there. This unique & beautiful velvet, silk organza & chiffon pillow was manufactured by ABC especially for the smash HBO hit Six Feet Under.
In WB's Gilmore Girls, a lady passes away, the owner of an inn that Lorelai and Sookie would like to buy. They get very involved in the funeral and end up carry the front end of the casket by themselves. It was a great one minute view of the Marin Poplar.
We made a custom casket for Home Improvement in 1999.
Several months ago our Count Dracula casket was used on NBC's Passions for a witch. Count Dracula isn't as busy as he used to be, so why let a nice casket go to waste. Anyway, the witch, not a very evil one, was resting in the casket for about one week's worth of episodes. The inside of the lid was so highly polished, like the lid of a piano, that you could see the witch's reflection. Some people get excited by the strangest things.
We also supplied caskets for a funeral home scene. Because our caskets are in excellent condition, the audience gets the most realistic view of what caskets look like.
Crossing Jordan featured some of our caskets.
THESE BODIES GO TO THE CEMETERY IN STYLE
When it comes to creating coffins, the folks at Six Feet Under always think outside the box. Each casket, "depends on the lifestyle of the person it's for," says the show's set decorator, Rusty Lipscomb, who has commissioned everything from a Jewish coffin with no metal parts to one covered with a mural of the Last Supper. "The writers came up with some amazingly far-out ideas this season." Her favorite is the Harley-Davidson-inspired coffin. "I don't think anything's going to be better than that," she says.
Sometimes coffins need to be more than just cool-looking. In a coming episode, Nate rocks out on top of one in a fantasy sequence. Since most coffins aren't made for booty-shaking, the Los Angeles-based ABC Caskets constructed a unique octagon-shaped box with a reinforced flat top. "We didn't want the guy falling off--or through--it," says ABC owner Joey Conzevoy, who has also fashioned fabulous coffins for such shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files. Looks like working the graveyard shift can pay off.
-- Sharon Edry
Thinking outside the box
By David Colker, Times Staff Writer
January 5, 2007
Joey and Isabelle Conzevoy's factory outlet business sells the last product you'll ever need.
Amid the sounds of saws, hammers and power sanders at ABC Caskets in East Los Angeles, Isabelle guides families to a concrete-floored showroom that is more akin to a Home Depot than a mortuary.
"We can save you some money," she says warmly to Tracy Oxley and David Rancifer, whose mother had died two days before. They walk through rows of wood, steel and cloth-covered caskets, some of which had been rented to Hollywood prop masters.
"This was the casket from 'Flightplan' with Jodie Foster," Isabelle says, pointing to one model.
"That was a good film," Rancifer says, nodding.
Joey, 59 — wearing a straw hat, casual clothes and sneakers — watches as his wife makes the buyers feel comfortable at a difficult time.
"We are in the entertainment business, you could say, in a bizarre way," he says.
This was not the way his father, or his father before him, sold caskets. For more than 60 years, the family company — originally named Golden State Casket Co. — followed the traditional path of hundreds of casket makers across the nation: wholesaling to local mortuaries.
But a near-death financial experience, born of sweeping changes in the casket industry, led the Conzevoys seven years ago to shed the anonymity of wholesaling and meet the buying public.
They didn't change their location, which is in an industrial area across the street from a pipe manufacturer and junkyard. But Isabelle tried to soften the atmosphere by planting a garden — complete with roses, plumeria and tangerine trees — just inside the factory's barbed-wire-topped fence.
To turn their unusual setting for casket shopping into an advantage, the Conzevoys printed business cards that invited customers to "See How They're Made." And to reach a wider clientele, they turned to the Internet, where they purchased sponsored links to appechear when searches were done on the word "casket" or the more old-fashioned "coffin," now seldom used in the industry.
The Internet is how Cecilia Estrada found the company. She called from a Phoenix suburb in September to order a casket for her mother-in-law, who had died of pancreatic cancer.
Price was a primary factor.
"Everything was coming out of our pockets," Estrada said. "I didn't care if I had to travel."
She ordered a $1,900 casket made of poplar with reproductions of Michelangelo's Pieta sculpture on the metal hardware. Then she drove 400 miles in a Chevy Suburban sport utility vehicle to pick it up.
"Isabelle told me to bring blankets," Estrada said. "I didn't want to get anything dinged."
DEALING with the public also means accommodating special requests.
"I am patriotic as hell and I wanted to be buried in a red, white and blue casket," said retired schoolteacher Glen Gillette of Las Vegas.
Gillette, 71, has a blood disorder and was told last year by his doctors that he had less than 12 months to live. After being turned down by casket dealers who couldn't fill his order, Gillette found ABC Caskets online.
He specified the design and the exact shades of colors. "I sent them swatches," Gillette said. The finished metal casket was shipped to a mortuary in Las Vegas for storage until, as is said in the industry, the time of need.
ABC once got a request for a casket covered in fake fur.
"It looked like a big bear," Joey said.
Then there was a call for a casket to fit a 900-pound woman.
"It had to be very, very strong, so we made it out of a multi-layered, heavy-duty plywood," Joey said. "All someone needs to give me is a height, a width and a depth, and I can build it."
The $1.5-billion-a-year casket business has been transformed by the same sort of consolidation that took out many family farms, mom-and-pop bookshops and corner hardware stores. By the 1990s, a handful of mega-manufacturers had become dominant, and many local casket suppliers closed up shop.
"We have gone from hundreds of manufacturers to no more than several dozen in all," said George Lemke, executive director of the Casket & Funeral Supply Assn. of America.
It wasn't just the economies of scale that the large manufacturers could offer. The product itself had changed.
BACK when the Conzevoy family company was founded in 1933, most caskets were made of inexpensive wood, covered in cloth. "All you needed to get into the business was a hammer, saw and a glue gun," Lemke said.
But after the Korean War, when steel became more plentiful, metal caskets skyrocketed in popularity. By the mid-1970s, they accounted for two-thirds of caskets sold.
Many local operations that didn't have the equipment to manufacture steel models went out of business. Golden State held on, buying unfinished metal casket shells for customization. It also had the equipment to make the more expensive hardwood caskets that were coming into vogue.
By 1999, however, the company was on the skids, having lost most of its business to national brands and local manufacturers willing to cut better deals with mortuaries. That was the year the Conzevoys went into the retail business, joining a small but growing movement in the industry.
About 150 non-funeral-home casket vendors sell directly to the public, typically offering discounts of 50% to 75%, a recent study by Bear Stearns & Co. found. Their share of the market amounts to only about 5% but is on the rise.
"It was simple for our parents," said Jennifer Childe, who wrote the report for Bear Stearns. "They went down to the funeral home on
they had been going to for years and bought a casket there when needed.
"Now people want to comparison shop."
In 2005, even Costco Wholesale Corp. jumped in. The giant warehouse chain has casket kiosk displays in 56 stores to show sample sections of various models.
"It's like other items we sell at kiosks, such as carpeting," Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said. "You fill out a form and take it to the cash register."
A trip to the ABC factory is a far more hands-on experience. And it's also a museum, of sorts, of Hollywood caskets. On display is a double-wide poplar model made to accommodate two people for a fantasy lovemaking scene in the TV show "Medium." There's a gray one painted to match a Lexus used in the Ben Affleck film "Daredevil" and another in bright yellow done up for the soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful."
After wandering among the caskets for about 20 minutes, Oxley, who lives in Inglewood, chose a white steel model with pink crepe lining for her mother.
"Can you put a pink border here on top, to go with the pink crepe?" she asked, pointing to a spot where the floor model had a light grey band. "Of course," Isabelle Conzevoy answered. "That will be beautiful."
Isabelle next took Oxley and Rancifer to the sewing room where two seamstresses were turning out embroidered head panels to be positioned in casket lids for viewings. Among the designs displayed on a hanging rack were various religious tableaux, nature scenes, hobby themes such as a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and sayings such as "Going Home" and "Until We Meet Again."
Oxley chose a "Mother — Grandmother" panel framed in roses. "It's one of my favorites," Isabelle said.
The cost was $969 for the casket plus $50 for the head panel. Prices at ABC start at $275 for a casket made of particle board and top out at $5,176 for a solid mahogany model with velvet lining.
Shortly after the transaction was completed, a plain steel casket was rolled into the painting room at the factory for the custom job.
But Isabelle was in no hurry to have Oxley and Rancifer leave. With no other customers on the floor, she talked to them about other arrangements for the funeral, giving advice on where they might find the best prices for flowers and even the gravesite.
Customer relationships are ABC's best hope for growing the business. Advertising, at least in traditional media, hasn't helped.
A try at late-night radio advertising last year, with Joey as pitchman, was a disaster even though he got advice from one of the masters in the field: Larry "or your mattress is freeeee!" Miller of the Sit 'n Sleep mattress company.
"I think I got calls from three insomniacs," Joey said.
Rebuilding the business by word-of-mouth and repeat customers has been agonizingly slow, partly because most families are lucky enough to wait years between casket needs.
Last year, ABC's revenue was just under $1 million, about a 25% increase since the direct sales venture began but well below the nearly $4 million a year in its wholesaling heyday.
"It's not like a shirt," Joey said. "It had to build at a snail's pace."
If ABC is to thrive, there will have to be a growing acceptance of buying caskets from a factory store that's truly housed inside a factory.
Rancifer, 45, on the way out after completing the arrangements for his mother's casket, had no trouble with that.
"We looked inside a funeral home," he said. "But here it's wide open with light coming in.
"And another thing I like about it — you know there are no dead bodies in the next room."
FUNERAL COSTS: YOU SHOULD TALK ABOUT IT.
The cost of a funeral is one of the biggest bills you'll ever pay with your money, but it's a cost many of us -- maybe all of us -- don't want to talk about.
For example, I list a discount seller of caskets on the Best Buys guide that I hand out at Home Shows, and when consumers glance at the list and see "caskets" they usually chuckle or say something like "I don't need this!"
Well, we do need this -- all of us. Try as we will, none of us will ever escape the cost of a funeral of some sort or another. So, read on.
Insiders in the funeral industry remind us that the biggest purchase we'll make will probably be a house; the next biggest purchase is a car; and next might be a wedding or a funeral. Joey Conzevoy of ABC Caskets in Los Angeles says funeral costs and wedding costs are about even these days. You could easily spend $10,000 to $20,000 on either.
You can get more information including advice from ABC Caskets at (323) 268-1783.
About five years ago, there was one dramatic change in the funeral industry. The Federal Trade Commission issued a rule that blocked funeral homes from charging consumers a fee when they brought in a casket from an outside vendor. That opened the door to casket competition.
Check out the rules about funerals on the Federal Trade Commission's website at www.ftc.gov and then click on consumer information for services.
Today, there are retail casket stores that sell to the public, even Internet casket sellers.
Competition has indeed driven down prices. Conzevoy estimates that in the past five years, casket prices for consumers have been dropping at a steady pace despite inflation. He says that lower casket prices have also prompted some funeral homes to raise prices on other products and services in order that they can maintain their profit margins.
Conzevoy says consumers must be on their guard when the buy funeral services and products.
"Make sure you bring someone with you who is not emotionally distraught," he told me. "You want to find someone who has a clear mind to show with you. Because what happens is you come in and if you're upset, and someone's ready to sell you something and you're not ready to think clearly, you're at their mercy."
Pride becomes a big issue and a big problem for consumers when they shop for a casket and other services. They don't want to appear cheap; they let love and perhaps guilt get in the way of making clear decisions.
Beware of sellers who do not reveal to you all of your choices including lower priced choices. Some "tricks" in the industry include not displaying lower priced caskets, and showing lower priced caskets only in unappealing colors when the lower priced caskets can also be available in attractive colors.
"I've seen cheap caskets only in green when other colors are available," Conzevoy told me.
He also suggests that you price a funeral from at least two different sources. In other words, comparison shop.
Think about that for a moment: comparison shopping for a funeral. When it comes to buying a car or a house or a big screen TV you are likely to comparison shop. But chances are there is no comparison shopping when it comes to buying a funeral. And the industry knows this; you are vulnerable to overpaying.
What about pre-need funeral purchases or buying years before a death? Conzevoy says don't do it.
"Somewhere between $20 billion and $40 billion has gone to pre-need purchases of funerals," he told me, "and here at ABC Caskets we don't push that."
What's the problem with pre-need plans?
- "One problem is you don't know what you're getting 15 years down the road," he told me. "The casket that you thought you bought may not be made at that time."
- Another reason people pre-pay is because funeral costs historically increased. But today, with increased competition, costs are declining.
- Another risk is that your needs change: perhaps you bought a funeral service in New York but you've moved to Arizona and now want to be buried and have the service in Scottsdale.
His advice is not to pre-pay for a funeral, even if the pre-pay plan puts a limit on your costs. His advice is to invest the money so you'll be able to pay your bills later and with the investment perhaps you'll have some extra income along the way POSTED 1/23/03