The winners of the second annual Showroom of the Year Awards were announced on June 23 at a cocktail reception on the opening night of the Dallas Intl. Lighting Market. The awards were sponsored by Residential Lighting and Dallas Market Center.
“It is our privilege to recognize these showrooms for the amazing work that they do, and we appreciate the Dallas Market Center’s partnership that enables the forum to do so publicly,” says Residential Lighting Publisher/Editorial Director Laura Van Zeyl. “The passion these retailers have for their businesses is apparent in the way they treat their customers and employees, and it’s inspiring to see what can be achieved even in a challenging economy.”
One retailer was honored as Showroom of the Year in each of three dollar-volume categories, as well as three specialty categories. Each dollar-volume category had 10 finalists, with all finalists also eligible for specialty awards. Judges for this year’s awards were Cinda Baxter, President of Always Upward and Founder of the 3|50 Project; Martin Pegler, former FIT Professor of Visual Merchandising and Editor of Retail Design Intl.; and Randall Whitehead, Principal at Randall Whitehead Lighting Design and a Residential Lighting contributor.
The winners were:
• Revenue Under $2 Million – Light Up Your Life in Sarasota, FL
• Revenue Under $5 Million – Cleveland Lighting in Lyndhurst, OH
• Revenue $5 Million and Over – Union Lighting and Furnishings in Toronto
• Most Significant Accomplishment – Urban Lights in Denver
• Outstanding Merchandising Display – Design Lighting in Surrey, BC
• Exceptional Community Involvement – Metro Lighting in Berkeley, CA
Light Up Your Life takes a personal approach to finding the right lighting solution for customers, and employees pride themselves son their in-depth knowledge of technology and lighting systems. Judges liked the showroom’s clean and welcoming style as well as its community involvement. One judge commented, “I love how they ‘get’ how helping the community improves the business – it’s not always about just the ‘bottom line.’” To read more about Light Up Your Life, click here.
Cleveland Lighting is the only second-time winner at the Showroom of the Year Awards, having won last year’s award for Most Significant Accomplishment after rebuilding the entire store after a fire. The new showroom is a state-of-the-art space that relies on vignettes instead of grids. Judges commended Cleveland Lighting for its commitment to technology and how owners redefined the store after rebuilding. As one judge put it, “From the ashes rose a phoenix – wow!” To read more about Cleveland Lighting, click here.
Union Lighting and Furnishings is Canada’s largest lighting showroom and demonstrates an unparalleled commitment to community service with “white glove” door-to-door delivery and employees who will walk customers to their cars with umbrellas during rainy weather. Judges praised the store’s visual merchandising and employee engagement, as well as their donations to various community organizations. To read more about Union Lighting & Furnishings, click here.
Judges selected Urban Lights as the Most Significant Accomplishment award winner after the owners purchased the showroom after its previous owners went out of business and re-opened in under two months. As one judge described it, “Rebuilding and re-branding an entire company – successfully – in only eight weeks is Herculean. Holy cow!” In addition to remodeling the showroom using well-known local designers, the new owners also redid the exterior of the building including the landscaping. To read more about Urban Lights, click here.
Design Lighting took home the award for Outstanding Merchandising Display, thanks in part to its fulfillment of its motto – “Uniquely placed to capture the individual’s eye.” The showroom does this using an Optiwatt system allows employees to turn individual fixtures on and off individually, and they keep only 10 percent of the fixtures on at any given time, in order to conserve energy and allow customers to focus. The showroom also features a complete interactive home setting with full living room, dining room and kitchen, as well as a separate room for landscape products so customers can see them in a “night sky” environment. To read more about Design Lighting, click here.
Metro Lighting’s commitment to sustainable design helped it win this year’s award for Exceptional Community Involvement. The new showroom space sought LEED Silver certification thanks to its green building materials, re-used lumber and rooftop solar panels that supply 100 percent of the showroom’s energy. Metro Lighting is also committed to local manufacturing, and its owners shy away from mass-produced commodities made in countries that don’t show commitment to human and environmental rights. One judge commented, “What we see here is the next generation of small business owners: bright, conscientious and responsible beyond just their four walls.” To read more about Metro Lighting, click here.
Read about all 30 of the Showroom of the Year finalists in our May issue. Nominations and entries will be accepted for the 2012 Showroom of the Year Awards starting in December on the Residential Lighting website.