ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) – Supply chain shortages have been widespread throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, affecting nearly every industry. Even a local memorial stone shop owner is feeling the crunch firsthand.
The past couple of years have been especially rough on business according to Bryan Kenagy, owner of Forest Hills Memorials in Loves Park. There have been both shortages of supplies, as well as pandemic related shipping issues causing the delays.
After working in the business for decades, Kenagy said 2021 has been especially challenging.
“I think one of the more important things for families to see, a memorial at the grave space,” Kenagy said. “I didn’t think we’d be quite where we’re at as far as delays and things that are taking so much longer to get.”
The delays have made filling orders difficult for Kenagy.
“In February of this year we started seeing the trickle effect of COVID,” Kenagy said. “Some pieces we’re waiting for 8 to 10 months just to get the stock piece, and then we still have to do all the engraving and that.”
A lack of both granite and quarry employees is part of the cause, said Kenagy.
“Unfortunately there’s not a whole lot we can do about it. If they’re running at 40% because they can’t get their employees and it’s taking them longer to get product out,” Kenagy said. “Quarries were opening back up, and now ships can’t get into port. There’s ships off of the coast just waiting to come into port, so now we’re waiting on that, and even when customs does approve the container, just getting shipping, flatbed over the road trucker, to drive it to us is another issue, these take time anyway because they’re all personal, then having that extra time, it’s frustrating that families have to wait for something like that.”
Kenagy said getting a headstone for loved ones is vital in the coping process.
“I think it’s one of the last steps in a lot of people’s grieving process, so having that memorial at the grave site is a huge step,” Kenagy said. “My advice to anybody that’s interested in a memorial for a loved one is to still place an order and get it going, because at least it’s in the process and being started.”