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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Bowling Green mayor expands business line

David Storke in a 2011 shot by FLS photographer Bob Martin.

Bowling Green’s mayor has started two new businesses involving the delivery of home-style meals to people all across the U.S.

In 2008 David Storke started a company called Sympathy Food, which allows people to send meals to family members and friends of people who have recently died, as an alternative to flowers.

The entrees — which include choices such as green-curry chicken, pot roast, lasagna and meatloaf — are ordered at and delivered with a personalized card in one-to-three business days.

The business was a natural extension for Storke, who owns Storke Funeral Home in Bowling Green. Earlier this year Storke expanded the concept to serve two other types of customers who are frequently in the market for the gift of a home-cooked meal. offers meals for people going through an injury or illness. caters to parents of newborns. Storke has also created a parent company for all three businesses called The TLC Kitchen.

A big part of the business’ success involves its logistics, some of which Storke prefers to keep close to the vest. Most of his entrees are prepared in a USDA-approved commercial kitchen in the midwest. The meals are frozen and shipped to a distribution center that is also in the midwest, and from there they’re sent in white Styrofoam coolers with dry ice all across the U.S.

Storke said he picked locations near the middle of America so he could ship the meals all over the country in a timely fashion using FedEx.

To get around the issue of senders not really knowing where to send the gift to grieving friends and family, Storke’s staff contacts recipients before shipping the food. The personalized card is read to the recipient, who gives the information on where and when to ship the food.

Storke has created a network of hundreds of funeral homes across the country that place banner ads offering the service on their websites. They then get a commission on food sold through their site. He markets TheMealStork through websites catering to mothers, and GetWellMeal on sites involving health issues and caregivers.