A television news report and story from WSET out of Lynchburg, West Virginia, can be seen here and tells of a Facebook group that has garnered more than 600 followers that says that there is a problem with the way StoneMor Partners operates their cemeteries.
Melissa Cash, whose father is buried at the Fort Hill Burial Park in Virginia, says “the cemetery roads have potholes, the mausoleums are run down and the grass is not kept up”. She learned of the problem through the Facebook page and also says, “This is not a local problem, this is not a state problem, this is a national problem”.
Cash is happy that StoneMor Partners has fixed a wall at Fort Hill Burial Park but also believes that there is a lot more to be done. Earlier in April, Cash sent a letter with 1,300 signatures on it to the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation requesting that the state prohibit StoneMor from selling any more plots until there is improvement in StoneMor cemeteries throughout the state of Virginia.
Funeral Director Daily take: We’ve said before that the people who are at StoneMor are working to clean up past problems the company has had. They’ve indicated themselves that they are in the midst of a turnaround that just doesn’t happen overnight.
However, this case just shows how tough it can be to make a turnaround and get consumer clients to continue to believe in you. Fixing the wall at the Fort Hill Burial Park is a good faith example of StoneMor trying to make things right. However, as their financial documents indicate, the company has lost almost $150 million in the past two years. With that kind of loss, you can expect that there is not a lot of money sitting around for capital expenditures on deferred maintenance.
We have said this before and still say it today. . . . the secret to StoneMor’s success will be to keep current heritage families happy and keep morale and their brands confidently in the consumer minds while they work to put their new business plan in place. And, it needs to be done within the financial constraints under which they are working. That is a tall order for any executive team.