Sanchez Rehoboth Mortuary and Cremation Services of Pinellas County
The first thing one may notice when meeting Irving Sanchez III, is how much he breaks the stigma commonly attached to funeral directors. From the warm, genuine smile, to the inviting conversation, to giving back to the community with a year-round food blessing box, Sanchez makes the most challenging time in a family’s life a little more manageable.
Taking over the family business, Sanchez has been a funeral director for more than 37 years. Though he spent approximately 10 years in Illinois, he returned to St. Petersburg to care for his mother and to extend his father’s business.
He bought an office complex and quickly renovated it to turn it into a welcoming location for families to say goodbye. And so Sanchez Rehoboth Mortuary and Cremation Services came to life.
“Everything about this location is high-scale. It’s not a funeral home atmosphere. You don’t see the gloom-and-doom, the low lights and the closed-in area. It’s an area where people can feel comfortable coming into,” he explained.
One of the biggest challenges Sanchez experienced when getting started was the right amount of exposure.
“I had done what I knew to do,” he said. “We did radio, we did TV and my wife is great with the Internet. We needed somebody with an expertise in how to promote, how to market, how to get out there and reach the right people the right way.”
His wife Judy Sanchez reached out to the many available services such as the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, Business Network International (BNI) and the Florida SBDC at Pinellas County for assistance. That’s when they met business consultant, Debra Schweikowsky.
“Debra is very hands-on and she didn’t have a problem with letting you know exactly what she thinks in spite of all these 37 years I talk about,” he said. “Her help has been very beneficial.”
Schweikowsky helped by conducting demographic research and advising them to create more efficient marketing materials to help attract the right demographics for the area. She also helped the duo implement a pre-arrangement program, as well as be able to provide indigent burials to help those who have passed away but do not have loved ones to take care of arrangements.
“This is monumental,” Irving exclaimed. “It is the future. With so many people realizing the benefits and importance of planning ahead, we are able to really just have our doors wide open now.”
Irving recommends all businesses to reach out to the Florida SBDC at Pinellas County for all of their needs.
“They are not stiff-necked,” he explained. “They’re not going to school you and tell you that you have to follow a certain order. They are inviting and they meet you wherever you are. They give you their expertise and help you get where your business needs to go.”