Memorial Suppliers Join Forces to Form the Manufacturers and Suppliers of American Memorials (MASAM)
February 1, 2013 - St. Louis, Mo. - A group of twelve providers of funeral and cremation products has come together to form the Manufacturers and Suppliers of American Memorials (MASAM). The Mission of MASAM is to actively promote and provide American-made memorial products to the funeral and cremation industry so that decision-makers on all levels experience increased awareness and a heightened level of education with regards to choices and options of memorial products originating in the United States.
In the midst of global economic systems, consumers are often encouraged: "Buy American," This call to action stems from perceived benefits like the protection of the domestic labor force, more reliable and better products, and decreasing American reliance on foreign manufacturing. The organization, based out of St. Louis, Missouri, collectively offers a vast selection of niche products by consolidating the resources of numerous small organizations and providing them on a large scale to funeral homes and crematories throughout the United States.
The acting director of MASAM, Terry Swalley, was inspired to create the organization while attending funeral industry conventions and trade shows with Kap-Lind Enterprises.
"In going to the NFDA and ICCFA conventions, I found countless companies that were providing the same, low-cost, foreign-made urns. When I would walk by a booth and see a unique or distinctive product, it was often made in the U.S. by a small company that focused on perfecting their craft. As I would discuss their products with them, I found that those companies shared many of the challenges faced by Kap-Lind. Their product did not hold appeal across all tastes and preferences and they couldn't effectively reach out to a large number of funeral service providers to get the message out," Swalley said.
As a result, Swalley took the idea of an organization focused on American-made products back to St. Louis and began recruiting support.
"Lori Simmons, owner of Kap-Lind, was on board right away. We started putting feelers out to organizations that we had a relationship with to see if we could really make this happen," Swalley said. Within weeks, the base of MASAM had been established and Simmons and Swalley began to put formal plans into place. "The key part of MASAM was the addition of Bass-Mollett as our distributor partner. Tad Flowers [Vice President of Bass-Mollett] embraced the idea of supporting American-made products and Bass-Mollett has worked hard to establish solid relationships with hundreds of funeral homes and crematories throughout the nation," added Swalley.
MASAM's initial efforts have focused on getting the collection of over 220 memorial products from twelve distinct companies in front of funeral service decision-makers. In December of 2012, the first official action of MASAM was the mailing of a digital catalog and wholesale price list to over 500 funeral homes and crematories.
"The effort put forth by all of the people involved was astounding," said Tad Flowers. "We were able to get all of the product information and specifications together and in one offering over the course of ten days. The fact that the variety of these products holds a wide-spread appeal and they are all American-made should definitely make an impact, and we are already starting to get positive feedback about MASAM."
As MASAM moves into 2013, several initiatives are planned to drive more attention to the newfound organization.
"We are going to get the word out to organizations on both the national and state levels and we are going to make an attempt to get attention from industry publications," said Swalley. "We will have a comprehensive email campaign and launch the MASAM website this month. If we can continue to draw positive attention, it will be a success for MASAM and a success for small American manufacturers throughout the country."
Visit www.usamemorials.org for more information about MASAM.
The charter members of MASAM are:
• American Art Glass Urns (Indiana)
• Artistic Wood Urns (Georgia)
• Bass-Mollett (Illinois)
• BOL Productions (Florida)
• Cast Paper Art (Missouri)
• Fox Ceramics (Montana)
• Jim Flood Designs (Missouri)
• Kap-Lind Enterprises (Missouri)
• Let Your Love Grow & Verde Products (Missouri)
• Majestic Urns (Indiana)
• Timberland Urns (Minnesota)
• Tom Ehmler Woodworking (Illinois)
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