Sales Of Oversized Caskets Rise With Obesity Problem - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Sales Of Oversized Caskets Rise With Obesity Problem

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by Chris Conte

IRON CITY, Tenn.- Health officials in Tennessee call the obesity problem in the state an "epidemic" but the issue has expanded far beyond the scope of what most officials could have ever imagined.

"We do a lot more than we used to," says Joel VerPlank of Ver Plank Enterprises.

At 75-years-old Joel VerPlank has spent over half of his life owning and running his family's casket business in Iron City. He can't begin to imagine how surprised his grandfather would be, if he saw how big the family business has grown recently.

"Two decades ago we never thought we would ever be building oversized caskets to any great extent," he adds.

Joel says over the last few years he's seen orders for 36'' sized caskets nearly double and at least once or twice a month he's shipping 44'' caskets, which he says could hold a person who weighs up to 1,000 pounds.

"You'll see a lot more oversized caskets being sold in the south than up in the slimmer states," he said.

According to Joel a 44'' wide casket could cost at least $5,000 and area funeral directors say at that point you'd also have to purchase two burial plots to accommodate its massive size.

"It's a big job, it's a big custom job and the more customization, the more expensive it is."

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