Waukesha Chamber Top 10 Businesses : Economy Lighting Designer Showroom

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:24 pm

Waukesha Chamber Top 10 Businesses: Economy Lighting

In the battle of the small business vs. the large chain store, Economy Lighting Designer Showroom is David to Goliaths like Home Depot and Menard’s. Armed with an aggressive advertising plan and exclusive products, Economy Lighting has thrived for 25 years, even when faced with monster competition and a tough economy.

Economy Lighting was founded in 1978 with a staff of three employees. That year, the company generated about $80,000 in sales. Today, the business has grown to 32 employees with sales of more than $5 million.
The business features indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures, lighting design services, accent furniture, framed art and decorative accessories to residential and commercial customers.
Economy Lighting had its best year in 2002, in the midst of a major economic slump. President Lyn Schulz attributes the company’s success to a number of factors. To compete with the large chain stores, Economy Lighting began offering high end products – such as chandeliers – that are not available at the chains.
The company also added design services led by professionally trained lighting personnel. Economy Lighting’s showroom displays merchandise so as to allow customers to visualize products in their homes. The company expanded its market to include commercial lighting and hired an outside salesperson devoted strictly to commercial customers.
To maintain a high level of expertise within the showroom, employees are encouraged to attend training seminars offered through the American Lighting Association. One staff member is a certified lighting consultant, and several other employees are working toward the certification.
Advertising is vital to maintaining name recognition in a market saturated with chain store brands, Schulz said. Economy Lighting instituted an aggressive advertising policy at a time when many businesses cut their advertising budgets.
"When business tends to be slow during a tough economy, most companies pull back on advertising," Schulz said. "We took advantage of that and got our name out there."

Company name: Economy Lighting Designer Showroom
Location: 1707 Hwy. 164, Waukesha
Year established: 1978
Type of business: Retail lighting showroom
Main products/services: Lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, decorative accessories
Number of employees: 25 full-time, 7 part-time
Business words of wisdom: "Success comes from a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck. There’s no magic formula for it."

June 27, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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