Updated: September 23, 2020 09:55 PM
Created: September 23, 2020 09:52 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Tricia Ruffino goes from gravesite to gravesite, meticulously watering and planting flowers, pulling weeds and making sure each plot is tended to with care.
"I take care of their families as if they were mine," she says. "Every detail. Every care. And I'm here all the time."
Eight years ago, she began Daizy Fresh, a full-service gravesite care and maintenance business. She didn't start out doing this. For 23 years, Ruffino owned the Diamond Delights Bakery in Webster. She says she was prompted to start the service after visiting her own loved ones at the cemetery.
"I used to come to the cemetery with my mom all the time and after a while, she couldn't do what she wanted to do, she couldn't kneel," Ruffino said.
She realized that caring for the grave of a deceased loved one can be difficult for the elderly and for those who live out of town.
"I found a lot of people that were out of state. I got a lot of people from all over the country that call me that moved and want to care for their family," she added.
For a fee, Daizy Fresh will provide full-service seasonal care or a-la-carte services, from seasonal plantings to holiday decorations and headstone cleaning and maintenance. And Ruffino routinely updates customers with photographs.
"I care for the gravesites. I clean them in the spring, dig them up in the fall, and we plant annuals all year and keep them clean and weeded and watered," Ruffino said.
Gravesite care is still a relatively new service. But Ruffino says she has seen a growing demand — she now has 320 clients and a staff of retiree volunteers.
"Going from baking to this, I'm still making people happy and doing something that they love and I love to do," she said.
Ruffino says she's passionate about her work, bringing her satisfaction in knowing she is helping to honor and remember those who have passed.
"It's caregiving in a different way. So we are caring for the past as you see, but we are also taking care of the soul and the heart of the living."
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