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Granite shortage hits cemeteries and other local businesses

Some families could wait up to a year for a grave marker for a lost loved one.

Posted: Nov 24, 2021 6:49 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- There's several types of businesses feeling the effects of the supply chain shortage, and cemeteries are on that list. 

At the root of the problem is a lack of granite available for making headstones. The Eugene Masonic Cemetery has been dealing with the shortage. Sally Dietrich, the sexton at the cemetery, said her business is especially affected, and even more so when their supplier in Portland is running late.

"It could take maybe about six weeks because basically the difference was that if we designed and ordered something, the company had the granite in the shop already," said Dietrich. "Now we're designing and ordering and they are ordering granite but not knowing when it will arrive. So now it'll take up to several months, sometimes a year."

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When memorial services became more common over the summer, she said more and more people started contacting her about markers, and some people are still waiting to get their gravestones. 

"I think because of COVID and people had to delay working on projects like that, that there have just been so many people wanting to do memorial services and getting markers in place for that," said Dietrich.

She also said being understanding and patient is key, especially in her business. 

Other businesses, like Signature Surfaces NW, have been more fortunate. Owner of the granite supply company Shaun Nugent said thanks to their business model, they still have a lot of granite and other stones in stock. 

"When the pandemic hit, we had almost 300 slabs in stock. So that gave us a couple years worth of inventory to kind of buffer the supply issues that are happening right now," said Nugent. 

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But he said they haven't been immune to supply chain issues. 

"Containers that we ordered back at the beginning of 2021, we didn't actually receive them until September of this year," Nugent said.

Despite these straining issues, he said they are still able to complete orders and help people get their counters finished. 

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