In 1994 Joanie and Clyde West owned a business called "Gift in a Balloon". It was essentially a Party Store that sold wedding and party related items with the main focus being balloons with various items inside (i.e., hats, flowers, chocolates, etc.). One night they were having dinner with friends and they were discussing a mutual acquaintance who was very ill. The conversation turned to "what do you want to have done with you after you are gone?" When it was Clyde's turn he said, "I don't care. Just have me cremated, put me in a balloon and send me off". The idea for the Eternal Ascent Society was born.
After extensive research and testing Joanie and Clyde contacted a patent attorney and on October 15, 1996 the Eternal Ascent Society received a U.S. Patent (#5,564,260) for the idea and process of placing cremated remains of a human or pet in a balloon filled with a lighter than air gas and releasing it to the heavens. The Inflation Chamber is also part of the patent. They have since obtained Trademark protection for the name and logo.
The founders, Joan and Clyde West, have been running this business on a part-time basis since 1995. They have recently sold their other businesses and are now committed to focusing all of their energies on growing Eternal Ascent Society.
Until the beginning of 2003 our service was promoted primarily through news stories done by local media outlets (television and newspaper), the occasional national and international magazine article, through our website and by "word of mouth".
In February 2003 we retained a Consultant to help us create a marketing plan that would allow us to grow our business more quickly. After considerable analysis we decided that the quickest and most effective way for us to expand throughout Florida and eventually the entire United States was to License our patented process to Funeral Professionals (Crematories, Funeral Homes, etc.) allowing them to offer our service to the families that they serve and to perform the Releases themselves. (Click here to view our Funeral Professional Information.)
The Funeral Industry's acceptance of this approach was very encouraging. However, there were many who expressed interest in promoting our service to the families that they serve, but only if someone else performed the Releases. They were not necessarily interested in performing the Releases themselves. We decided that by Franchising our concept we could make our unique and beautiful service available to more families on an even greater scale. (Click here to view our Franchise Information.) We have since created a Franchise Opportunity that allows Entrepreneurs to build a substantial business by marketing our service directly to the public within their "territory". Working on a referral basis with the Funeral Professionals in their territory that don't want to perform the Releases themselves and support the ones that do.
As of June 1, 2005 we have franchises in Florida, Washington, Michigan and New Jersey. We are currently in negotiations with potential franchisees in several additional states.