Scott Tuttle and Chad Newcomer are invested in shaking up an industry that hasn’t changed in more than 200 years with their Coasson Funeral Coach.
If you’ve ever visited the hallowed ground of Arlington cemetery in Washington D.C., you may have seen a funeral caisson during a procession for a solider. Watching a flag draped coffin resting on a caisson as it passes is an honor we bestow on our bravest heroes, presidents and dignitaries.
The Coasson was dreamed up by Ron Stoll who had worked many years in the funeral industry. Stoll wished to create a product that provided the opportunity to pay tribute to every loved one the same way dignitaries and heroes were treated with caisson funerals. He also wanted a product that was economical and easy for funeral directors to manage.
Stoll pitched his idea on a napkin (yes, the kind you wipe up messes with) to Tuttle one evening and the Coasson was born.
The Coasson launched in October 2018 at an industry trade show with some skepticism. However, this past fall in Chicago at the same show, reception appeared to be changing.
“People stood up and took notice of what we were doing,” Newcomer said.
Coasson even took home one of the industry’s innovation awards.
The Coasson makes economic sense for those in the industry. It’s a third of the cost of a hearse, it can be pulled by any vehicle in a fleet, it has a pull out tray that holds funeral flowers (which eliminates the need for a flower vehicle) and it stores the “church truck”.
“Ron’s design is kind of based off of how a funeral director would think of it,” Newcomer said. “Everything is to the height of the pull-out tray. He designed it so one funeral director can manage an entire funeral by themselves. They can take a church truck (the cart that moves the casket around) and load it right up to the tray and load it yourself. Typically, it would take two or three people.”
While the economics of the Coasson is a selling point, Newcomer and Tuttle agree it’s more than the price.
“It’s an alternative, it’s about being able to celebrate the person,” Tuttle explains. “When you see a hearse you think death, but when you see the Coasson, you think celebration of life. That’s probably the coolest thing about it.”
“It’s an alternative, it’s about being able to celebrate the person. When you see a hearse you think death, but when you see the Coasson, you think celebration of life. That’s probably the coolest thing about it.”