After years of serving as a school psychologist, Porterdale resident and Conyers native Molly Canfield established Georgia Gravecare, which provides maintenance and floral decorations for gravesites. Canfield said she sees a definite correlation between her old job and her new one.
“Being in a helping profession seemed to translate well to that,” said Canfield, who opened Georgia Gravecare in August. “It’s all at the basis of it is helping people. That is something I feel good about. The helping end is something I’ve been drawn to.
“And I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I like meeting new people, and I think we need to do more than we’re doing to preserve places like cemeteries. We’re not doing enough, and that’s a shame because there’s a lot of history in those places.”
Canfield, who retired eight years ago after a long career in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties, said her mother originally gave her the idea to start the business, which she said mixes her interests in working outdoors and in studying history.
“Basically, it’s a history thing,” said Canfield. “I’m interested in the history of cemeteries and being outdoors, and being able to do something for a family that maybe can’t do this themselves any longer.”
The services Georgia Gravecare offers are general grooming maintenance (which includes headstone cleaning) and floral decorations. Clients have a variety of service schedules to choose from, from once a year to once a month. Canfield also provides before and after pictures at the conclusion of every visit.
Canfield said she would have started the business sooner but her acknowledged lack of experience in running an enterprise held her back.
“I resisted for the longest time because I didn’t know anything about running a business,” she said. “I had no business courses. When I retired and decided I didn’t want to go back into the schools, and I don’t know anything about business, but I taught myself – you really can learn a lot on YouTube. I basically taught myself enough small business to get it rolling.”
And Canfield said that while she’s tending to a few graves at the present time, she’s more interested now in getting her name out to let others know of the service she offers, which she said is not comprised of a crowd of competitors.
“I think I’ve got the market cornered,” she quipped. “Nobody that I know of around here does this… As I explained to my mom, you don’t search for something like this on the internet unless you know what it is – it doesn’t advertise itself, really. So I’ve been going around to funeral homes, crematories, writing to assisted living places and knocking on doors of churches.”
And despite the fact that the object of the work may make some people uncomfortable, Canfield said she hasn’t heard a negative word after making her pitch.
“Anytime I mention what I do, I get a positive response,” she said. “I haven’t had anybody tell me anything negative. And I like people. I like helping people…. I like to think people can look at me and know I’m being honest and straight-up with them, which is the truth. Any kind of hesitation people might have with regard to their family plot I’ve still gotten good feedback, even people who think they can’t afford it or aren’t ready to do something like that right now.”
Canfield added that watching YouTube videos gave her confidence to go into business for herself, but reconnecting with her faith also played a key role in her decision.
“After pushing it away for so many years, I started going back to church in 2017, and since then I’ve decided to make the most of what I’ve got,” said Canfield, who attends Calvary Baptist Church in Conyers. “And being able to get right in my head and my behavior gave me the courage to teach myself how to do this, even when it’s hard and I don’t understand this.
“(Going to church) gave me the backbone to get it done. If you have a strong faith, you have to have a strong faith in yourself. They go hand in hand.”
For more information about Georgia Gravecare, call 678-856-1164, 470-330-1032 or visit www.georgiagravecarellc.com.