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Business Monday

Delaware State News

June 28, 2010

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Tragedy can’t deter entrepreneur spirit

Chamber at forefront of legislative happenings

By Jamie-Leigh Bissett

Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce This is it — the last week for the 145th Legislative Session. One thing we can all be certain of is that there will be a great deal of legislation going through both the House and Senate chambers during these final days, and that legislators will be working extremely long hours to get to the morning of July 1. It is no surprise that, again this year, the top priority for legislators will be to pass a balanced budget. As you have seen in the news, the revenue numbers being reported are flat which means there are some very tough decisions to be made. There will be cuts and there will be decreases in some programs and funding avenues. The CDCC will continue to track legislation and will continue to send out Legislative Alerts and Calls to Action when merited. For those readers that are not Chamber members, let me tell you a little about our Legislative Alerts and Calls to Action. When the CDCC finds out that a bill is being proposed that will have an impact on the business community, be it a positive or negative impact, the CDCC sends out a Legislative Alert or Call to Action to its members. The alert outlines the bill and its effect on the business community. Alerts are used when the bill has not yet appeared on the agenda for the House or Senate. A Call to Action is sent to prompt our members to take action by contacting their legislators. To make that process easy and effective, we also supply all contact information to our members. By sending out Legislative Alerts and Calls to Action we not only keep our members informed, but we also provide needed information to our legislators. Often times we find that our legislators are not always aware of the impact a bill may have on the business community, so by engaging our members, we are providing them with the

Delaware State News DOVER — Christine Blackmon felt a huge sense of relief when her husband, Maj. Franklin C. Blackmon Jr., returned home from Iraq in late September 2009, after being deployed for nearly a year. That feeling didn’t last long, however. Two weeks after reuniting with his wife and two kids — Curtis, 5, and Sophia, 2 — and avoiding any serious injury in a war that has taken the lives of nearly 4,500 American soldiers, Maj. Blackmon died suddenly of bacterial meningitis on Oct. 15, just a month shy of his 36th birthday. “We were more in tuned (with death) than most families our age were. I was as prepared for a tragedy as you can be,” Mrs. Blackmon said. “You prepare for things, you talk about it, you think about it, but it actually happening is totally different.” She said her husband got off the plane from Iraq not feeling very well, and continued to suffer from horrible headaches and flu-like symptoms in the weeks that Submitted photo followed, but neither had any idea he had Sophia Blackmon, 2, gives her fa- long deployment to Iraq in September meningitis until it was too late. ther, Maj. Franklin C. Blackmon Jr., a 2009. Maj. Blackmon died two weeks big hug after he returned from a year later from bacterial meningitis.

See Blackmon — Page 22

Funeral items in retail setting no parlor trick Delaware Casket Co. in Camden offers everything for the departed By Jamie-Leigh Bissett

Delaware State News DOVER — Christine Blackmon knows from personal experience that losing a loved one can be emotionally taxing. That is why she hopes her new business, Delaware Casket Co., will alleviate the likelihood that it has to be a financial burden as well. “It goes without saying that funerals are stressful and expensive. At a time when our brains are the absolute fuzziest ... we aren’t thinking about shopping around for the best prices from different funeral homes,” she said. “With our new storefront, our goal is to help people reduce some of the stress and cost of a funeral. We will be giving people an opportunity to get the same quality caskets for themselves, or their loved-ones, while saving hundreds and often thousands of dollars.” Mrs. Blackmon said her store is able to offer quality caskets at a lower price for two main reasons: there is no mark up, and the caskets are being imported directly from China. See Chamber — Page 23 “(My business partner) has been to

Jamie-Leigh Bissett/Delaware State News

Christine Blackmon recently opened the Delaware Casket Co. in the Longacre Shopping Center just south of Camden. China, and has inspected the manufacturing site and provided input. As far as quality goes, it’s as good as you can get,” she said. Mrs. Blackmon said she understands

that her business could be seen as a competitor to area funeral homes, especially since she is selling the same products for less. However, she said she believes there is room for both. “I’m in no way bad mouthing funeral homes. I pay extra for someone to cut my grass just so I don’t have to do it. There is always a need for convenience. I just want to offer a choice,” she said. Mrs. Blackmon added that in the future, she plans to talk to local funeral homes to see if they’d be interested in purchasing caskets directly from her. In addition to caskets, she said Delaware Casket Co., located at the Longacre Shopping Center south of Camden, will eventually sell pet memorabilia, carry a line of gravesite decorations, memorial pendants, and a variety of other items that will allow customers to honor their loved ones. “Everyday I go home and have another idea of something I want the store to carry,” Mrs. Blackmon said. She said the company will not only sell the items, it will also deliver the caskets to the funeral home, or a place of residence the next day, and will allow customers to pick out a casket ahead of time and either have the company store it for them for a monthly fee, or, as part of its layaway plan, purchase a casket and be issued a proof of purchase certificate, which can be brought

See Caskets — Page 22

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