Thinking Outside the Box

This year, the International Order of the Golden Rule (OGR) is focusing its podcast series on “The Changing Consumer, exploring consumer needs in deathcare and how they have shifted in recent years. How are consumers finding and choosing their funeral homes? What services are they looking for? Which aspects of the funeral are most important to them? The 2023 season investigates questions such as these to provide insight into modern consumers. 

In the March 2 episode, host Gregory McClary, owner of Chapel of the Chimes in Westland, MI, spoke to Justin Zabor, owner of Zabor Funeral Home in Parma, OH. Outside of his work as a full-time funeral director, Zabor is also a part-time actor, model, voice over artist and professional speaker, with a focus on topics such as leadership and customer service. 

The interview explores different ways that funeral directors can “think outside the box” to best serve their consumers. Zabor believes that the first step in coming up with new ways of thinking is collaborating with other funeral leaders.  

“We have the most impact with our families when we look in their eyes and communicate face to face,” Zabor said. “I feel that our success as a profession comes from when we meet each other face to face and share these ideas in person.” 

Zabor says that one way his funeral home thinks outside of the box is by offering catering options as part of the funeral service. To create a better catering experience, he renovated a former donut shop and the ground floor of a mansion on his home’s property. Now, Zabor Funeral Home has two buildings dedicated to catering space and can serve over 100 people at a time. He believes offering a catering option sets his funeral home apart.  

“[Catering] started to be an area of expertise for me. We developed a presentation that we still continue to do to this day. If there was ever a time for catering to stop being popular it would have been now, for covid. But it continues to be a differentiating factor for us.” 

Other topics covered in the full interview include how to best display urn and casket options for families, the value of being a member of OGR, and Zabor’s brief time as a calendar model.  

To listen to the full episode with Justin Zabor, click here. The full season of The Changing Consumer is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and in the OGR Learning Library. For more information about the OGR Podcast Series or to revisit previous seasons of the podcast, visit the OGR podcast page. For more on Justin Zabor, check out his website or Zabor Funeral Home 

This episode of The Changing Consumer was sponsored by Thumbies Keepsakes, an OGR endorsed supplier. Comfort the families you serve and boost your revenue stream this year by becoming a partner with Thumbies. Now a member of the Messenger Company, Thumbies offers the largest selection of high-quality fingerprint jewelry and accessories, giving families the perfect way to remember their loved ones. Become a partner for free today by signing up at or calling their support team at 877-848-6243.  

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