MHP Enterprises Ltd. offers a variety of furniture that will last its clients from now until eternity.

How many companies boast that they sell finely-crafted furniture that will serve their customers throughout their lives and beyond? MHP Enterprises Ltd., located outside of Nelson, BC, does just that, with a full line of casket furniture. Among the company’s designs are a bed, a couch, coffee tables, bookcases and more.

Mark Zeabin, president of MHP Enterprises, says he is continuing on a family tradition of casket building. His great-grandfather built caskets in the 1920s as a service for the community, and his family has been building them ever since. When Zeabins’ grandmother died in 1996, he and his father built her casket. The funeral home owners were so impressed, he says, they asked him to build more.

It was during this time that the idea for casket furniture came to him. Zeabin says he was searching for a way to reduce the high cost of funerals. He envisioned a piece of furniture that could be used for 20 or 30 years before being put into the ground.

“A thought dawned on me,” Zeabin says. “Why not use the coffin while living and get your monies’ worth?”

It sounds a little unsettling, but according to Zeabin, most of his customers get past the shocking aspect of the furniture and appreciate the artistic side of his work rather quickly. The company has garnered attention from various celebrities, and Zeabin says he has built pieces for Playboy and Maxim magazines, with each piece featuring aspects unique to the client.

“I get bored fast and cannot build the same thing over and over again,” he says. “I like a lot of variety and this casket furniture business has given me just that.”

With a broad range of clientele, and a desire for variety, customization is everything. Each piece is built to order and customers can choose from a wealth of options, including wood species, finish, hardware style and bedding.

“I use all types of solid wood and veneers, incorporating all types of woodworking techniques to bring my customers’ vision to fruition,” Zeabin adds. “I welcome any ideas, suggestions or specifications the customer has.”

In addition to furniture, the company offers casket novelties. Customers can choose from casket-themed mirrors, cigar boxes and desk accessories. There is even a coffin-shaped cribbage board. Interested parties can order urns, pet caskets and plans to build their own casket or casket furniture, as well as a line of shirts dubbed “Casket Wear.”

MHP Enterprises receives inquiries from a wide variety of people worldwide. Zeabin says he has attracted particular attention from young people who are interested in gothic themes.

“I speak to cool and open-minded people from all across the world and have a great time designing their dream pieces of casket

furniture,” Zeabin says.

Having been in business for approximately 10 years, Zeabin says he does not know if any of his work has fulfilled its dual purpose.

“It’d be interesting to find out,” he says. “But I really don’t want to phone past customers and ask if they died yet.”

The Salvador casket couch features a contemporary design and a multitude of customization options to make it unique.

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