Business, Cemetery, Products

Keeping the business flowing

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I love the idea of “American ingenuity”.  To me it means the thought process that is developed to keep things moving ahead even when the system to do so has been upended.  And, around the world this Spring, the system has truly been upended with the advent of the COVID-19 situation.

However, if you are a small business, you have to figure out a way to keep the cash rolling in so that you can pay the bills.  Many small businesses have been helped along with government intervention with programs such as the Payroll Protection Program.  But there is nothing like good old American ingenuity to keep the customers coming through the door. . . or in this case responding virtually.

We’ve heard what funeral homes are doing with livestreaming services and making arrangements virtually with Zoom or Facetime, however, I came across this article from the Rockland County Business Journal of New York on what one small business, Hudson Valley Monuments, has done to stem the tide of a 70 percent drop in business.

The article deals with Anthony Minozzi, President of Hudson Valley Monuments, a company founded by immigrant Italian stone carvers in 1899.  Mizzoni mentions in the article that COVID-19 has raised cremations and that, in itself, has created less demand for monuments.  In addition, the timing of the coronavirus pandemic coincided with the timing that many who have lost loved ones over the winter season start Spring monument shopping for Memorial Day delivery.

Minozzi has taken the slowdown period to create an on-line showroom where sales representatives can design monuments virtually.  He has also fought the decrease in sales by offering free carving and engraving on monuments bought by families.  He opines that this discount will help sell granite and the free engraving will keep his valued employees working.  He’s quoted in the article, “This will help us keep our team in place.  Keep food on the table.”

Funeral Director take:  The management of Hudson Valley Monuments, in our opinion, is not only using good old American ingenuity to keep moving, but is also using patience and investing in the long-haul for the betterment of the company and employees going forward.  Even after the pandemic, the investment in virtual showroom will pay dividends long after the coronavirus pandemic is gone.

And, the idea of offering free engraving to stimulate granite sales, even though it will, more than likely, show a decreased profit is good planning.  He can keep his valued employees coming to work, won’t lose them to a competitor, and feel good about helping them make it through the pandemic time period.

I’ve never met Mr. Minozzi, but he reminds me of some of the best business leaders I’ve met.  While profits for small companies are great and should be encouraged for the risk takers who own the businesses, many of the best small business owners I know have the attitude that “Business is about “Us” . . . not just about “Me”.  I think from the article it is pretty evident that Anthony Minozzi also has that attitude.

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