Union Lighting and Furnishings, Toronto
A past Showroom of the Year Award winner, Union Lighting and Furnishings continues its mission of providing a retail environment and shopping experience that is unlike any other lighting, furnishings and accessories store in the metropolitan Toronto marketplace. The largest lighting showroom in Canada is also among the oldest; the company began in 1914 as Star Gas & Electric, later changing its name to reflect the “union” of the five brothers and their families who owned and operated the business. The current showroom opened in 1960 in a centrally located part of the city and today spans some 100,000 square feet of selling space, served by a staff of more than 80 men and women.
Renovations and improvements are ongoing. In the recent past, the store added a mattress gallery, enlarged the fabric selection area, created new galleries for chairs and wall sconces, and revamped its juvenile furniture area. Outdoor lighting, seating and dining furniture are now displayed in another new area designed with a life-size house façade, real cobblestones, doorways, trees and other atmospherics to closely replicate a genuine outdoor experience. Customers use iPads to control LED lighting and electronic window blinds within a new state-of-the-art “Experience Room.”
While consumers account for a sizable portion of sales, Union also provides Toronto’s top interior designers, builders, architects and developers with a commitment to excellence and service beyond most retailers. Union has renovated its showroom for the designer, too, with intimate, self-contained room settings that make for a better understanding of the design process. Designers’ clients can literally ”feel at home” and take each experience one room at a time. A new coffee bar gives designers a place where they can sit and talk with their clients in a comfortable private setting.
Union aims to be a good neighbor and works with a number of non-profits throughout the year. It is the largest contributor of new retail goods to area Salvation Army stores and is the exclusive lighting partner to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation Home Lottery. It has also provided fully furnished rooms for the Children’s Wish Foundation.