The monument advisor will first ask which cemetery the stone will be going to.
Each cemetery has its own rules and regulations about:
what size stones are allowed,
which colors are allowed,
whether grave location coordinates must be added to the stone,
whether or not certain carvings or etchings or effects will be permitted on the stone...
...and they each have various different fees. Most common is a foundation fee to cover the cost of installing a concrete base, which the stone will eventually be placed on top of.
The next question the monument advisor will ask is if you have the grave location, such as the "section, range and lot number." This information will help the monument advisor determine what types and sizes of stones are allowed in the section you are buying a stone for.
If you do not have the section, range and lot number, then the monument advisor will call the cemetery and get this information.
Once it is clear what type and size stone is allowed, then the stone selection process begins.
You determine the stone color.
You determine what exact wording and dates you want on the stone.
Then you pick a design.
At Cullis Memorials, you pay for half the cost of the stone up-front, along with a separate payment for the cemetery's foundation fee. (This fee will be forwarded to the cemetery, along with required paperwork from the monument dealer).
Our partners in Vermont then create a draft of what the stone will look like.
Typically a draft takes 2 weeks. Once it is ready, we either email it to you or you stop by the shop to review the draft. Three important things happen at this step:
You ensure that everything is spelled correctly.
You verify that the dates are correct.
You determine whether the design is suitable or not.
If changes need to be made, then this is the time to make changes.
If everything is fine, then you approve the draft by signing it or by giving written approval by email. At this point the stone is sent into production with our partners in Vermont.
There really is quite a lot involved in the making of a headstone.
First, the granite is extracted from the earth using a process that actually involves dynamite.
Barre gray granite actually weighs 168 pounds per square foot. This quarry sells it in bulk to "sheds" like the one we work with in Barre.
Our partner takes large blocks of it, and then begins to process it.
The slab is polished, then cut into the needed sizes...
After the stones have been cut, polished and inspected, then it's time to prepare them for sandblasting.
After the work is done, it goes through a final inspection process, then it is crated and prepared for shipment.
During our busy times, we get a truck from Vermont once a week. Here is one of those trucks in our parking lot.
After the truck arrives, we unload it with a forklift and use our in-house crane to position stones in our garage.
Above is Jamie, our regular driver. He brings the finished stones down from Vermont, and he is a real pro at it. On the day this photo was taken, it was probably the hottest day of the year, and the AC wasn't working in his truck.
Side note: The granite drivers bring along old tires. Those are used for "crashing" the stones. If a monument dealer does not have a forklift, then the stones get pushed off the truck on to the tires. We do not allow crashing.
* * *
After the granite is unloaded, we uncrate the stones and inspect them. We expect perfection from our partners, nothing less. This means we don't tolerate a single scratch.
Upon the stones passing our inspection, we call our customers and invite them to visit the shop to inspect their stone themselves.
At this point, if the stone is satisfactory, then the customer pays the balance and we put the stone "on the board" for stone setting... that is IF the foundation is in.
Sometimes we get the stones in before the foundation is in. If that's the case, then we press the cemetery to get THEIR job done. Ordinarily, after the stone arrives at our shop and the balance is paid, we have it set at the cemetery within 2 weeks.
By the way, that's Tony above. He handles all of our stone setting, and he does a great job. A crane truck is used for setting our larger stones. It can lift up to 7500 pounds.
After the stone is set, we call our customer to let them know our work is done.
Typically, from the time an order is placed until the stone is set at the cemetery, the process takes about 3 months.
As you can see, a lot of hands touch each stone. Many different workers are involved. When you place a stone order through us, Cullis Memorials is the hub of all this activity. Let our experienced hands see it through.
Monday through Thursday 9:30 till 4:30
Friday 9:30 till 2:00
Saturday 9:30 till 1:00
Appointments can be made, or just walk in.
Cullis Memorials has been in business since 1875. We are known for fair dealing. Numerous funeral directors refer their customers to us.
Contact: Cullis Memorials
3525 Edgmont Avenue
Brookhaven, PA 19015
We also do in-the-field inscription work with existing stones. So if you want to add a passing date to a headstone, or something like that, we can help.
Above: Mike Moravetz of the Cullis Family has assisted monument buyers for 18 years. He is regarded by many in the trade as an expert with local cemeteries. It's not unusual for funeral directors to seek his advice about various matters.