Burial vaults are required by the South Carolina Perpetual Care Cemetery Board, to hold up the dirt and keep the graves from caving in, as a result of the tremendous wait of the dirt and heavy equipment that would go over the grave. This kept the cemetery grounds looking even, rather than the old mounds of dirt placed on top of the caskets alone. Florence Memorial Gardens offers several varying types of burial vaults to fit any budget. When we provide the vault we eliminate the need to purchase one from a funeral home at the time of death. This usually saves families a substantial amount of money and added grief.
The Cemetery Boards are our State regulators, that license and oversee the operations of the cemeteries within their state. They were put into effect because even though a cemetery owner said they had Perpetual Care; they didn’t always live up to their promise. The Perpetual Care program was begun by the American Cemetery Association, a nationwide group of cemetery owners and managers, to provide for the future care and maintenance of a cemetery. They reasoned that if they would put a portion of money for every grave space they sold into a trust fund, without ever taking any of that principal away, then the interest off of the fund could support the maintenance of the cemetery, once the cemetery was sold out. That program has not changed in many years; and is responsible for the money that provides much of the maintenance in today’s cemeteries.
In the middle 1950’s, another group of cemeterians decide to market a new concept in the industry, Community Mausoleums. This company, Gibraltar Mausoleum Corporation, refined their process to setting up a sales organization within a cemetery and preselling a community mausoleum on behalf of the cemetery owner. Once the building was a little over halfway sold, Gibraltar would build the building and split the profits with the cemetery owner. This was a great enhancement for the owner. A community mausoleum could entomb ten thousand caskets per acre, while ground burial would only allow for one thousand burials per acre. The families were given the opportunity to purchase anywhere in the building and pay much lower costs that the traditional ground burial, because the cost of the building was spread over many chambers. This now gave average families the ability to afford a type of burial that was once limited to the very wealthy.
In the early 1980’s Gibraltar Mausoleum Corporation contacted Mr. Stoudenmire with their program. The deal was set and the sales people were brought in to professionally educate the public on the procedures and benefits of a Community Mausoleum. In 1985, the first Chapel was built, far above the normal industry standards. Mr. Stoudenmire wanted this Chapel Mausoleum to be a showplace for other cemeteries to admire and families to be proud of. The Community Mausoleum Concept was very well received in the community. The crypts sold very quickly, to people that never wanted to be “put under the dirt”.
Mr. Stoudenmire’s health began to fail; and he sold the cemetery to one of the sales people that worked for Gibraltar. After a short stint as owner, she sold the cemetery to Gibraltar. The Florence community was so receptive to this burial concept that Gibraltar decided to expand the already oversize mausoleum to triple it’s size. They enclosed the outside chambers and added two more buildings, one on each side of the original chapel. That was 1989. In1990, another building project was started to offer “outside only” mausoleum crypts. The first outside building was built in 1994 and the second in 1997. Today, the mausoleum buildings are, again, almost sold out; and a new project will need to begin soon.
With this professional education and marketing program in place over the last 35 years, Florence Memorial Gardens has taken over as the leading cemetery in the area. We consistently care for more families each year than does our closest competitor. Additional space sales are derived from the families that use our cemetery. Because more families use our cemetery now, more families will purchase from our cemetery now and in the future; as long as we care for the needs of the community. Please call us to see how we can provide for your family’s future needs.