Hoegh Pet Casket Company - 2010
The tour of the pet casket company was offered as part of the Good Sam Samboree in Escanaba. It was a short drive to the company's building. While we do not have a pet, this sounded like an interesting tour. And, it was.
In this business since 1966, they produce eight sizes and 22 styles of pet caskets.
The owner moved to Gladstone from Iowa to be closer to his hand-carried gun case customer - his initial business. After making some styrene boxes friends used to bury their pets, he expanded that business. He ended up selling the gun case business to his customer in order to manufacturer styrene pet caskets for the pet cemetery market.
The tour started in the storage area. Both raw material and molded product
are stored here. The products are made of
The fern design on all their products is not a Copyrighted design. They have always used the design on their products - more to strengthen the flat section of the product than identify the company.
All the scrap is recycled after being ground into small pieces.
The process . . .
While only one vacuum mold machine was in operation the day of our tour, two additional machines were available for use. The aluminum mold is water cooled on the bottom and air cooled on top.
The flat sheet material is placed in the frame above the mold and moves into the machine.
Once warmed, the material is sucked into the mold. In the first photograph, you can see it beginning to be formed.
Just about complete in this photograph...
The material is very warm to the touch with bare hands when removed from the machine.
This worker removes the rough edges from each piece of the pet casket.
He told Mary Lou that some of the local funeral home directors use their caskets for 'newborns' and 'infants' who have died.
In the next room the two sections (inner and outer) are assembled. Foam is applied between the two sections. Just the correct amount of foam is used resulting in a very ridged casket.
He demonstrated how a small quantity of the foam expands.
After the foam is applied, the assembled parts
are placed in a fixture that insures that the
foam does not force the two pieces apart.
Brass hinges join the top and bottom assemblies. A small roll of butyl tape is included to seal the pet casket later.
A cottage industry of local women picks up fabric at the factory and sews the cloth into the pillows and pads to be used in the caskets in their homes.
Shipping quantities varys from one pet casket to many on a good day. There is no set pattern because their customers do not carry a large inventory. Their main customers are the pet cemeteries around the country. They do occasionally ship overseas.
This sign notes the wide market they enjoy.
They have molds to make eight different sizes of pet caskets. The 10" one on the left is the smallest.
The small one on the right is purchased from another manufacturer.
The display room was our next stop. We know that pets become a part of your family. However, we were surprised to see the wide range of products and high quality levels of items available for pet burial.
They displayed the eight sizes (from 10-inches to 52-inches) they sell to 700 pet cemeteries.
You can note the additional luxury top and bottom in the deluxe version.
The display showed the fabric colors available.
An entire package is displayed as it may appear at a pet burial service.
They also had a collection of plates, plaques and other remembrance items which they can order from several vendors.
Next, our tour guide took us outside. Part of their advertising says they have "the only model pet cemetery in the world".
. . . in ground and above ground headstones . . .
. . . crematory vaults and wall of memory . . .
The tour took a little over an hour. The tour guide was a fun guy. When Fred would ask him to repeat an action for a photograph, he moved in slow-motion . . . with a great big smile.
There was no charge for the tour. Appointments are not necessary, but recommended for large groups.
For additional information, visit their Web site at ... www.hoeghpetcaskets.com .
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