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Hardy Doric Seeks to Honor, Memorialize the Dead

Hardy Doric Inc. manufactures burial vaults and cremation niches...but it's not all doom and gloom.

Jeff Hardy tries not to dwell on the fact that he works around death every day of the week.

Hardy and his brother, Rob, own Hardy Doric Inc., which manufactures burial vaults and cremation niches. The Hardys are third generation owners of the business and although certain situations can be tough, Jeff Hardy says he tries not to dwell on the sadness involved in the business.

"It's a situation where you're taking care of someone in a way nobody else can," he said. "You help people in the worst times of their lives, and you try to flip it into something positive. There's nothing better than doing something special for the person you lost."

Hardy works with funeral directors to give families exactly what they want when it comes to the loss of a loved one. Memorializing a loved one is important, he said, because it's part of the healing process.

Although many people say their loved ones who died didn't want services, Hardy encourages families to memoralize because it helps them go through the grief process.

"You get one shot (when someone dies), you don't get another chance," he said. 

With more and more people choosing cremation or to scatter ashes - Hardy said we are losing our history.

"Every July 4, tons of people are gathering at and looking at those old graves. If we scatter our ashes, how are people going to know about us? You can choose to cremate, but we encourage people to memorialize as well," Hardy said.

Hardy said despite how much he tries to separate, dealing with the death of a child can be difficult.

"Especially when my daughter was young, but every job we do is hard because someone lost somebody they loved," he said. "We try not to get emotionally wrapped up in it ... We try to do things that would make that person smile. You can't help it sometimes if you put yourself in their situation, but someone has to keep the stiff upper lip."

Part of being in the industry of burial and cremation, Hardy said, is keeping up with trends. 

"People perceive cremation to be less expensive, the process really isn't, but people are choosing it because of space. Many cemeteries don't have space. As a society we're not honoring people today the way we used to," Hardy said.

Hardy Doric has built a number of niches and cremation walls, which Hardy says is gratifying to him because most of the work his company does gets buried.

"It's nice to build something and know that years from now, it'll still be there and people can enjoy it," he said.

And just like every other business, Hardy says his has to keep up with trends, although it may seem that working in his industry is recession-proof because everyone dies.

"Seventy five years ago, there were really low birth rates, and then for years it skyrocketed," he said, noting that the industry's business reflects the birth rate. "Now you also have a high percentage of people choosing cremation, but many people still want traditional burials."

Another issue Hardy's business has had to deal with is the country's obesity epidemic.

"Oversized people means more concrete and bigger caskets," he said. Even choosing cremation poses a challenge in the way the body burns, Hardy said.

Hardy said there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to taking care of loved ones after they die.

"We're here to give people the options they want for memorialization," he said. 

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