COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — People whose loved ones have passed away may need to wait months for headstones, and suppliers are saying the supply chain crisis is to blame.
“People are cranky, and I think I would be too, especially when it comes to memorializing a loved one,” said Richard Wilhelm, manager at Wilhelm Monuments.
Wilhelm Monuments has been a Colorado Springs staple for the past 75 years. A headstone used to take them weeks to complete, but now orders are taking months and the demand has tripled for the product they currently have.
“Had I had any notion this was going to happen, I probably would have ordered much more much sooner,” said Wilhelm.
Monument companies say finding stencils to make headstone engravings are also hard to find since the majority of stencils come from overseas. They’re also not having much luck getting their hands on stones.
“Sometimes we are settling for stones we didn’t want to begin with,” said Lisa Koselak, owner at Carved In Stone by Design.
Koselak relies on getting her stone from C&C Sand and Stone Co. in Colorado springs where labor and supply shortages are impacting their operations.
“I’ve never seen issues like this since COVID hit, “said Ben Petrini, manager at C&C Sand and Stone Company.
Pentrini said his store is waiting on 30 semi loads of material to arrive at his shop and said contractors are also having a hard time with prices on certain stones increasing by as much as 20%.
“Price increases hit mid-season, and once things have been quoted it’s making profitability for these guys very difficult,” said Petrini.
Customers are growing impatient, but business owners think the problem is here to stay for a while.
“Many companies are shut down because they have no stencil to engrave with,” said Wilhelm.