The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

In the Spotlight

May 4, 2012

Grave concern: Ladies tend to final resting places for those who can’t

WINDBER — For Natalie Becker and her family, it’s all about helping people.

It was out of their compassionate nature that they decided to create their business, Cherish Grave Care, which maintains grave sites and mausoleums in Cambria and Somerset counties for clients’ loved ones.

The family-run business offers a variety of services including grass cutting and trimming around headstones and the surrounding area, pruning of shrubs, clearing of debris, light cleaning of headstones and flower vases and planting of live flowers or placement of artificial arrangements. Clients also are provided with before and after photographs of the work.

Becker, along with her daughter, Megan Becker; daughter-in-law, Rena Gutteridge; and sister, Carole Grisin, officially launched the business Jan. 1.

“I have been doing this since I was a kid when my mom took me to take care of family members’ graves, so it’s always been a part of my life,” said Natalie Becker, a Windber resident.

“After talking about it constantly for years, we finally decided we were able to do this as a business, and it just kept building from there.”

The women kicked around quite a few name ideas, but Becker said they knew they wanted the word “cherish” in the name because it means to keep or cultivate with care and affection, and that’s what they are striving to do.

“We are very respectful of the dead and do the best job we can and care for them as if they were our own,” she said.

The women search area stores to find the best prices on silk flowers to create their arrangements.

They make saddle arrangements to fit on headstones and round arrangements that fit in vases. Clients can choose the flowers they would like or select one of the themed arrangements offered, such as patriotic, spring or fall bouquets and pretty in pink.

Prices for the saddles are $40 and vases are $20. Prices vary for live flowers.

In addition, clients can choose a package plan that includes placement of flowers, silk or live, and cleaning of the grave site area that will be performed at various times throughout the year.

For example, a client could choose a plan that includes three visits – in May, July and September. In May, Cherish Grave Care will plant flowers or the client can select either a saddle or vase arrangement.

Cherish also will perform the weeding, edging, trimming and clearing of any debris. A cleaning of the gravestone completes the job. Then in July and September, the cleaning process is repeated. This package is priced at $200.

There also is special pricing for multiple graves in the same cemetery.

“We’re really trying to target out-of-town people who can’t be here to tend to the grave and the elderly who aren’t able to get out,” Becker said.

They work mostly in Cambria and Somerset counties, but will go further upon request for an additional travel fee.

“If someone wants us to go we will go. We wouldn’t turn anyone down,” Becker said.

She added there has been a lot of interest in their services and they’ve been out at craft fairs showing their arrangements.

“We are coming into the busy season so we’re excited and looking forward to it,” Becker said. “This is the kind of business where you need to do a good job the first time or you lose people, and we want them to come back.”

Becker admitted it’s nice to have this business to generate extra income, but it’s more about spending time together as a family.

“We love being together and helping other people,” she said.

“We hope this will continue beyond us and carry on with the grandkids.”

For more information, call 691-4304 or visit the website, www.cherishgravecare.com,

to see pictures of the work and a list of services offered.

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