‘We’re kind of at a standstill’: funeral services industry rocked by supply chain shortages

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CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Supply chain shortages are extending into funeral services.

More than 800,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and its impact on supply chains has resulted in a shortage of headstones.

“We’re kind of at a standstill,” said Steve Matheney, co-owner of Abel Monument Company in Pekin.

Matheney said granite shortages are affecting their ability to make headstones. What used to take six weeks, is now taking six months.

“Talking to granite supply houses, its no end in sight as far as when they will be able to catch up somewhat,” he said. “So of course we’re getting calls constantly, having to update families on the timeframe.”

Matheney said they are also struggling with stenciling materials. He said his domestic manufacturer doesn’t expect to catch up until mid-spring 2022.

“I call them once a week to see if they got it in yet,” he said.

Gary Deiters, owner of Gary Deiters Funeral Home in East Peoria, said the shortages go beyond the headstones.

“We’ve been having supply chain issues with caskets. In fact, a casket that I’m using tonight is a replacement for something that we should’ve been able to get. But it was not available so they altered the casket,” he said.

Deiters said the backlog hasn’t impacted anyone to change their mind to cremation, but that cremations account for 50% of funerals.

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