The Edward Sagel Funeral Direction and Danzansky-Goldberg Funeral Home, both of Rockville, were acquired by Ed Sagel Tuesday. A recent ruling by the Federal Trade Commission ordering the largest funeral home operation in the country, Service Corporation International, to sell off the Sagel funeral home created an opportunity for Sagel to reacquire his old funeral home, as well as purchase Danzansky-Goldberg.
Sagel is the founder of Sagel Funeral Direction and has been the manager for many years of Danzansky-Goldberg. Sagel will co-own the two funeral homes with Albert Bloomfield, who previously managed a Jewish funeral home in northern New Jersey, prior to his family selling it to SCI. He has served as president of the Jewish Funeral Directors of America trade organization.
Both Sagel and Bloomfield are excited about their new venture and said they believed it would result in their ability to offer an improved Jewish funeral experience in the Washington, D.C., area. When the two funeral homes operated under the SCI Corporation, there was little opportunity to create individual packages for a mourner’s family, the two men agreed. “Obviously, with one of us being right there at all times,” there is greater opportunity to work individually with a client, Bloomfield.
Under SCI, an owner couldn’t alter a package, and that meant that sometimes Jewish people were paying for a package that included items they didn’t want or use, he said. “Ed and I can make a decision locally that is going to have a positive impact,” Bloomfield said. “We certainly know how the corporate culture is. We know how things are done,” Bloomfield said, adding that he and Sagel plan to offer better, more customer-oriented service.
Purchasing the two funeral homes was not always easy. “During this past eight months I had to negotiate with a two billion dollar publicly held company, local organizations and vendors as well as have our business plan reviewed by bankers, investors and the Federal Trade Commission,” Sagel said. “I am happy to say that we have gotten everyone totally satisfied and closed on the transaction.
These two great businesses are now back under private ownership.” Existing arrangements with either of the two funeral homes will be honored.