Business of the Week: Peaceful Pines Pet Memorials and Family Sanctuary

Pilot and review of Wausau

Editor’s Note: Company of the week is a sponsored article that shares the stories of locally owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and how they contribute to the unique flavor of the metropolitan area. Learn how to present your business by emailing [email protected]

The flagship company in the Wausau area this week is Peaceful Pines Pet Memorials and Family Sanctuary in Mosinee. Started 25 years ago by Gerry and Shirley Graveen, the company changed hands this summer. Now Roni Drexler, who started working at Peaceful Pines part-time a few years ago and later became Director, is at the helm, with the personality, compassion and determination to make Peaceful Pines Memorials the best option. loss of pets for families in central Wisconsin. for the coming years. In addition to pet cremation services, a Pet Memorial Park offers a beautiful space where animals can be buried in a casket or urn, with a personal memorial to mark your pet’s final resting place. The Honor Garden, designed several years ago, is for local K9s, hearing dogs, visual assistance dogs or local therapy dogs with at least 250 hours of service, with burial grounds donated by the ‘business. Additionally, the Graveens developed a Family Sanctuary in 2007, a state licensed and regulated section of the memorial park where pet owners can be buried with their beloved pets.

New owner Roni Drexler has been a lifelong animal lover who grew up on a farm, milked cows until high school and always had pets. Drexler is joined by her fiancé Kevin Thomer, who works behind the scenes to brainstorm and implement improvements, as well as Drexler’s aunt, Laurie LaSee, whose love for pets, attention to detail and l life experience makes her an irreplaceable member of the Peaceful Pines family. She has many hours under her belt helping dogs and has helped find homes for many Samoyeds, giving many their forever homes within her four walls. Another invaluable asset to the team is Cindy Steinke, who started working part-time for the Graveens around 18 years ago. As a fellow business owner (at K-9 Elementary School) his experience and support has been exceptional as Roni continues to serve the people and pets of the Wausau and Mosinee area – with a strong vision for the future.

For Roni Drexler, the experience at Peaceful Pines is the most sincere and rewarding occupation she could have envisioned for herself.

“I really think every part of my life, including the avenues that failed, has led me to where I am now… here at Peaceful Pines,” Drexler said.

Read on to hear her story.

Q: When was your business started and what prompted you to get started?

A: The company was founded in 1997 by Gerry and Shirley Graveen. They put everything they had to start Peaceful Pines back in the days when cremation was not common for pets. After seeing Dr Pope of the Mosinee Veterinary Clinic, the couple worked hard to make their dreams come true, dismissed critical skepticism and focused on their goals as pet lovers, joining the Association. international pet cemeteries while learning from others in the business. Together, they have built a thriving business that provides crucial service to pets and pet lovers.

I worked full time as a Certified Veterinary Technician from December 2012 (primarily with Metro Animal Hospital, 2.5 years with PAW Health Network and briefly with Kronenwetter Veterinary Care) until my transition to Peaceful Pines. I started helping Gerry and Shirley with occasional relief duties several years ago, starting with one day a week in early 2019, gradually expanding my hours until May 2020 when I became the full-time director.

At some point around 2015-2016, the thought occurred to me… what is Peaceful Pines’ plan when Gerry and Shirley are ready? The start of a dream or a potential goal? They are both amazing people and role models (separately and together)… definitely people to admire. Shirley and I were working together one afternoon in the winter of 2019-2020 when she approached me, telling me that she and Gerry were ready to retire. The conversation took me by surprise and my immediate thought was, “I’m not ready! to their loved ones and helping them through the most difficult times a person can go through… the same service provided by Gerry and Shirley that I have had the pleasure of witnessing and learning.

I feel I have an advantage though coming from the veterinary industry. I have experienced with many families what happens before the pets come to Peaceful Pines… during those final goodbye moments. These experiences, along with the loss of my loved one, have helped me understand and empathize with clients going through the same. My beloved was a 14 1/2 year old Siberian husky named Alex who I lost on September 30, 2020. He has been with me for most of my adult life.

Q: How did you choose the name of your company? What are you trying to convey?

A: The property has pine trees all around, is secluded and very peaceful… perfect for the final resting place for people and pets. The name Gerry and Shirley chose suits him perfectly.

Q: Tell us about the products and services you offer.

A: We offer pet cremations and burials, pet memorial items to honor the beloved animals who have passed away urns, jewelry, granite markers, stones and engraved rocks , as well as paw prints and nose prints. Cremated people can be buried with their cremated pets in our family sanctuary.

Q: What makes your business unique? What sets you apart?

A: We provide a service like no other. Gerry, Shirley, myself and the other members here are all pet lovers who have gone through the heartache of losing our own pets, so know how difficult it is. It is gratifying to help others during this time of need.

Q: What are you most proud of?

A: I am here and I do it! A business owner has to wear a lot of different hats and it looks like I’m handling them all well. I love learning more and more every day.

Q: How have you changed and evolved over time? What is different now from your beginnings?

A: A conversation I had with Gerry and Shirley focused on the need to provide the same worthy service that they have spent much of their lives building, and I am honored to follow in their footsteps. I haven’t changed anything in this regard. The only changes are the updates to improve the daily tasks so that we are more efficient and the technological improvements. Kevin and I have done a lot of landscaping over the summer. One project that I have wanted to update for a year is our corporate website, but it continues to be on the back burner! My goal is to make it easier for people to search and find the perfect memorials for their lost loved ones.

Q: What challenges did you have to overcome? Basically, if you had to do it all over again, would you do something different?

A: We held a welcome meeting on September 11 to officially announce the new owner and organize a fundraiser for local K9 agents. The planning for this had its struggles and was overwhelming at times, but overall I’m happy with how everything turned out. We raised $ 1,500 to support local K9s. I ran out of time to write a speech, so I threw it up. In doing so, I don’t remember thanking and acknowledging role models Dr Linda Prososki (owner of Metro Animal Hospital), Dr Carlo Riolo and Dr Katie Niksich (owners of PAW Health Network) and Dr Chris Bleifuss (owner of veterinary care by Kronenwetter). I cannot thank them enough for their support and leadership.

Q: What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Where do you see your business in five years? ten?

A: I want to continue to provide the same worthy services, but I want to continue to make improvements to those services and make our days more efficient while meeting industry standards.

Our pets are our family, so my goal is to continue helping families through these times of grief with services that give them peace of mind and memorials that help them pay homage.

Connect with Peaceful Pines

Peaceful Pines Pet Memorials & Family Sanctuary

147988 Land of Laws – Mosinee

(715) 693-0202

Online at

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