Fayetteville entrepreneur fills market gap with gravesite care business

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,800 views 

When Terri Mallioux of Fayetteville struggled to find a gravesite care service for her parents in Topeka, Kan., she realized a significant gap in the market. That led her to establish Golden Valley Gravesite Florals in Northwest Arkansas, offering premium silk floral arrangements delivered directly to gravesites.

After her parents’ deaths on consecutive days in 2020, Mallioux faced challenges finding a company to maintain their gravesite. That prompted her to research the local market. She discovered similar needs in Northwest Arkansas and founded Golden Valley to provide custom, handcrafted floral arrangements to honor loved ones.

Mallioux said Golden Valley’s services quickly expanded beyond initial expectations. In addition to local deliveries, clients began requesting arrangements for pickup to take them to other cities. Mallioux said the business has customers in Arkansas, Missouri and Texas.

“When the idea first came to me, I saw it primarily as assisting families who don’t live in Northwest Arkansas, but they have loved ones buried here,” Mallioux explained. “It didn’t take long to realize distance wasn’t really the issue. A lot of folks want the service for other reasons. Perhaps their busy schedule makes tending to the memorial site difficult or they have health challenges.

“I’ve also learned many survivors simply don’t want to deal with decorating a gravesite of a loved one because it can be a lot of work, in some cases traumatizing, and they simply want to visit the site anytime knowing it will be well taken care of.”

Terri Mallioux

Launched just before Mother’s Day this year, Golden Valley offers a variety of silk floral arrangements and custom orders, along with subscription options and memorial gift cards. Mallioux said the company prioritizes quality, using recycled materials for floral foam and durable headstone saddles from Illinois.

Supported by her husband Ross, a longtime bank executive in the region, Mallioux runs the business by combining her marketing expertise with his financial knowledge.

“Our goal is to bring a little sunshine to those dealing with loss,” she said, honoring her parents’ Kansas roots through the company’s name and logo, inspired by the University of Kansas alma mater. “The company really started in my heart, and with each bouquet and delivery, I feel a great sense of purpose.”

Golden Valley serves multiple Northwest Arkansas locations, and Mallioux offers personalized service for requests outside this area. She ensures high standards by providing before-and-after photos and cleaning each gravesite.

“I am still amazed no one has focused on this segment of the funeral industry in this market,” she said. “I saw a need and, at 57 years old, decided to try to address it. I have received wonderful responses so far.”

Mallioux did not disclose the investment cost to launch the business, adding that there are no outside investors. She said that she’s been “pleasantly surprised” with sales.

“I am working out of our home, and costs to date have been floral supplies, marketing materials and a handful of social media ads,” she said. “Supplies are items such as the florals, foam, saddles and miscellaneous items, including containers to hold the materials and items to use for installation.”