CLEVELAND — Andrew Agee has worked as a memorial specialist and stone cutter at Milano Monuments for 11 years.
What You Need To Know
- Andrew Agee has worked as a memorial specialist and stone cutter at Milano Monuments for 11 years
- He said when the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced, it prompted change
- He said the demand for memorials recently skyrocketed to where crucial materials like granite, saws and stencils are in short supply
- He said to keep the business afloat, staff thought ahead
“Even before I started working here, I had family members that came in here and purchased memorials for my grandmother and my uncle," he said. "So, it means a lot to be a part of this."
He said when the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced, it prompted change.
“We implemented Zoom meetings almost immediately, and that was a huge relief for families because at the end of the day, this is already a stressful enough situation to have to get a memorial for someone you love, and to add COVID and all that into it does not help at all,” he said. “So, we figured it was our duty to make sure families could rely on us and trust and trust us even more.”
He said the demand for memorials recently skyrocketed resulting in crucial materials like granite, saws and stencils being in short supply, but shipping delays and costs continue to climb.
“So, for instance, our stencils, the cost of our stencil has gone up and even our main supplier of our stencils throughout this entire pandemic, they have gotten so backed up," he said. "They couldn't even fulfill orders. So that kind of held us up a little bit.
He said to keep the business afloat, the staff thought ahead.
“We have all this inventory; we have all the stock on hand and we have a lot of supplies that we use on hand," he said. "So, we've kind of been able to adjust and move forward accordingly, being that we are such a big production company and we have such a big plant here.
He said they slowed down for a bit to make sure everyone's health was taken care of. As soon as they came back, though, he said they jumped right back on to keep up with the timelines they promised families.
One of the owners, Alecia Milano, said her family’s business supports families at their time of grieving and encourages them to explore their options.
“FEMA offers a reimbursement back to families who have maybe lost someone by COVID," she said. "It has to be stated on the death certificate. And there is a definitely a very lengthy process to go to get that money back, but they will give you back up to $9,000 towards any type of death-related expense. So, it could be a funeral. It could be anything from the funeral home all the way to the monument and in the cemetery."
Agee said their current production timeline for memorials is about three-and-a-half to four months. He said if they have to order a custom memorial, it would realistically take double that time.
Milano said the business offers various services like cemetery headstones, foundation work address, stones, boulders, plaques, statues, concrete work and more.
For more information on Milano Monuments, click here.
For more information on FEMA assistance, click here.