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Supply chain issues causing casket delays in Phenix City

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 7:19 PM EDT
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PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WTVM) - Phenix City funeral homes say they’re being impacted by supply chain issues made worse by the pandemic.

Two Phenix city funeral homes tell News Leader 9 they need the most important item you need for any funeral - caskets. However, those aren’t the only items these funeral homes are having a hard time getting.

With more than 5 million people around the world dying from COVID, funeral homes are struggling. The issue is made worse by nationwide worker shortages, as more people choose higher-paying virtual jobs over returning to the office. Two Phenix city funeral directors News Leader 9 spoke with say they’re having a hard time getting the one item they need the most.

“We found that there are some caskets -- especially, plus size, oversized caskets that are harder to get,” said Taylor Funeral Home Director Evone Taylor.

“So the last about two years, especially the last year, our biggest problem has been with getting urns in, some of the caskets,” said Colonial Funeral Home Director Lacey Bovaird.

They say lately, many of those caskets families request are on backorder or temporarily out of stock.

“We try to ease their mind by letting them know upfront -- because of the pandemic, your first casket choice may be back ordered,” said Taylor.

However, that’s not the only burial item they’re having a hard time receiving.

“It’s just the caskets that are the main thing and sometimes the sanitizing supplies that we put out for our families when they come in,” said Taylor.

Bovaird says she’s having to wait months at a time for some of the items like granite for headstone.

“I’d say a lot of the urns are on backorder two or three weeks, caskets -- a week or two and then the granite -- it’s taken us probably anywhere from four to six months to get sometimes longer.”

In the meantime, if a family requests a casket or item that is out of stock, both funeral home suggest choosing something similar.

While both funeral home directors say there’s a back log on getting certain caskets, they both they have plenty in stock right now. They just may not have your first choice.

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