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With more than 30 years of experience as a licensed funeral director and cremation specialist, Michael Luikart understands the many decisions that families must make when a loved one dies.

“I have served families from throughout the Kanawha Valley,” said Luikart, who is a Poca native and 1984 graduate of Poca High School.

Against that backdrop, Luikart is now focusing on what is becoming an increasingly popular funeral option: cremation. On Jan. 2, he opened Affordable Cremations of West Virginia at 413 D St., South Charleston.

“It’s strictly cremation. Cremation is becoming more popular. The economy is changing, people’s personalities are changing and there is a niche for this now, where their might not have been in the past,” Luikart said, prior to a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 28.

The actual cremations don’t occur at Affordable Cremations, but at a crematory in Hurricane.

“We do the business part of things here,” Luikart said, adding that without the typical costs of running a full-scale funeral home, he’s able to pass on cost savings to families.

Affordable Cremations differs from a traditional funeral home, in that it does not offer traditional visitation services involving a viewing of the deceased.

“We don’t do that -- it’s all with memorial styles of service,” he said.

Affordable Cremations has a small chapel area where family and friends can gather for remembrances and prayers. It also has a large reception area, with tables and chairs, where food and refreshments could be served.

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“We have a little chapel that seats about 18 people, so we can have more informal, private gatherings.”

Affordable Cremations also handles pet cremations, which Luikart said is gaining in popularity.

“We can help our families with pet cremation when those times come. I find more and more people are requesting this service for the simple reason they love their pets as much as they love their people,” he said.

With cremation, ashes are kept in urns. Affordable Cremations has a large selection of urns on display in a small showroom off the main reception area.

“As far as trends in urn selection, many folks are going with cleaner and greener choices such as biodegradable earth urns, which can also be altered to allow for the planting of saplings and bushes. Some people want to have a diamond made from a portion of cremated remains or a lock of hair. The limits are truly only one’s imagination. There is a wide variety and we can help you choose something to compliment your personality and of your loved one.”

Luikart started his career as a funeral director in Putnam County and has served in similar positions throughout the Kanawha Valley.

At Affordable Cremations, Luikart and his staff are ready to assist families and to help them make informed decisions regarding cremation services.

For more information, call 681-265-2316 or visit www.AffordableCremationsofWV.com

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