Special week wraps up Friday with SunOpta.

    This week is Minnesota Manufacturing Week, and the Crookston Chamber & Visitors Bureau and Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority are collaborating to shine a spotlight on Crookston manufacturers, with public tours and articles detailing the latest developments and innovations at those local manufacturers making up the “Crookston Salutes Manufacturers” promotion.
    Since Crookston manufacturers have an almost constant need for skilled workers, organizers of the tours are extending a special invite to CHS and U of M Crookston students, and human resources professionals will be made available during the tours to discuss job and career opportunities.

    Today we highlight another key manufacturer in Crookston; Eickhof Columbaria. A columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of urns holding a deceased's cremated remains, and Eickhof Columbaria is on the forefront of innovation with their latest cremation solutions.

    Nationwide the cremation rate is over 50% and the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) predicts that by 2020 over 54% of all Americans will choose cremation as the preferred choice of burial options. Eickhof is addressing that challenge by serving their clients with the highest quality cremation memorial solutions through progressive engineering, superior materials, and people-focused customer service.

    Established in 1983, Eickhof Columbaria has spent over 25 years developing a better way to engineer, design, and fabricate columbaria. Their product has been tested for years by being exposed to all different types of climates and weather all across the country, and has allowed them to make product improvements based on what has been learned from direct experience, and subsequently providing their customers with a columbarium that is more beautiful, requires less future maintenance, and operates simply during inurnment ceremonies. A company culture of constant improvement, paired with extensive experience, is the reason Eickhof’s now have columbaria across all 50 states, as well as numerous countries around the world.

    Eickhof Columbaria’s first columbarium was an interior wall installation in the First Presbyterian Church in Crookston. The interior space was chosen because of its convenience to congregation members, especially in the cold Minnesota winters. The columbarium filled an important need to congregation members who have lost family, provided an opportunity for congregation members to discuss and plan for their own funerals and burial wishes, and provides an alternative for families who wish to memorialize loved ones outside the traditional cemetery.

    Eickhof Columbaria also designs, fabricates, and installs a variety of exterior custom-built columbaria. Some of these designs have been installed in more traditional locations, others in less traditional spaces. Cemeteries were the first major market that Eickhof Columbaria approached with its concealed hardware system and columbarium product. At one time burial was the exclusive domain of cemeteries. Now, with cremation as a growing burial option, Eickhof Columbaria has had requests for custom-built columbaria at United States military academies, retirement communities, churches, cemeteries, college and universities, retirement communities, homesteads, temples, and various other spaces.

    The beauty and utility of all Eickhof columbaria is based on one simple design innovation: the patented Eickhof concealed locking hardware. This simple, yet secure fastening system allows for a smooth, clean, flush surface which is free from any exterior hardware or rosettes and gives the flexibility for endless design possibilities. Their concealed locking system is fabricated in their Crookston manufacturing facility, and is constructed of 3/8″ thick cement fiber building board with aluminum shelves. The hardware is concealed by attaching all material behind the stone, allowing for a smooth, flush surface, and serving as a security feature because the fronts do not appear to be removable, and require a specialized tool.

    A custom built columbarium can be designed so that it blends with, and is appropriate for, the existing architecture of a space. In addition to granite as a finish material for your columbarium, Eickhof Columbaria can provide wood, bronze, slate, limestone, marble, aluminum, or just about any other appropriate finish material. The columbaria can be mounted to existing walls, as well as free standing. Free standing columbaria can be single sided or double sided. Eickhof’s free standing columbaria can be straight, curved, circular, or semi-circular walls. They also fabricate double sided columbaria having niches that are placed back to back. The back to back niches share the same foundation and the same cap stone. Because the columbaria are designed in a back to back configuration, they are space efficient, and by sharing the same foundation and capstone, they are very cost effective.

    Eickhof Columbaria also manufactures pre-assembled columbaria for exterior garden locations. These columbaria are completely assembled in one piece, shipped to a location on an Eickhof truck with two installers, and then set on a foundation with a crane. The Eickhof delivery and installation crew is there to make sure everything goes smoothly. The pre-assembled columbaria are convenient, require less planning and design work than custom columbaria, and if required, can also be easily moved in the future.