Editorial

Things to watch in 2019: Funeral home war

Taos News editorial team
Posted 1/10/19

A so-called war among funeral home companies in Northern New Mexico will reach a new phase in 2019 with the opening of at least one new facility in Taos.

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Editorial

Things to watch in 2019: Funeral home war

Posted

A so-called war among funeral home companies in Northern New Mexico will reach a new phase in 2019 with the opening of at least one new facility in Taos.

Rivera Family Funeral Home has been the only such business in Taos for years but two competitors — Riverside Funeral Home and DeVargas Funeral Home — have been trying to change that.

DeVargas is in the midst of rehabilitating the dilapidated Lujan’s Funeral Home, located south of the Sagebrush Inn on Paseo del Pueblo Sur.

Riverside was twice sidelined by the town’s planning board, whose members said traffic would be too hectic in their proposed location. Riverside’s owner could not be reached for comment about future plans for a Taos funeral home.

Rivera has pitched itself as the only locally owned and operated funeral outfit, a claim that became the center of a lawsuit brought by the company that owns DeVargas.  

But “local” is in the eye of the beholder.

In 2017, DeVargas sold his funeral business to The Signature Group, which was then bought by Park Lawn Corp. The May 2018 acquisition was lucrative, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

It’s taken several years for the Taos market to develop such fierce funeral competition. This year, with the opening of another funeral home and a guaranteed stream of business, the landscape is sure to keep changing.

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