Cemetery Burial Inventory Challenges

By Christopher Mekus


For as long as I have been in the cemetery industry, one of the top issues for cemeterians has been inventory.

Whether expressed as a need for land conservation or trepidation at the rising tide of cremation, it all boils down to the same concern. However, I have to add an important qualifier: It’s not just the right amount of inventory, but the right types and quality of inventory and how you manage them that counts. The quality and character of the landscape, niches, and crypts in which we find our final resting place is very important to driving sales.

One of the greatest challenges regarding inventory is the looming death of the baby boom generation. With 76 million people (20% of the population in the United States), baby boomers make up the largest demographic block in the US. The oldest boomers will be turning 64 this year. With an average life expectancy of 78 years, it might seem like there’s a lot of time to prepare, but of course, 78 is an average. Some boomers are already dying, and the trend will only accelerate over these next 14 years. Cemeterians who are not planning to accelerate inventory development will be left behind.

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Influence of Design: St Mary's Cemetery

Mekus Tanager assisted St. Mary's Cemetery, a historic cemetery in Winona, MN and part of the Diocese of Winona, in developing a master plan to address both current and future cemetery needs.  St. Mary's Cemetery has evolved with multiple expansions over the years, so one goal of the master plan was to provide a cohesive, phased solution that blends together all areas of the cemetery's functionality and burial options.  

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