Metro Lighting, Berkeley, CA
Metro Lighting is breaking new ground in lighting showroom operations. With an eye on moving the world toward a zero-waste culture, the 6,500-square-foot showroom creates sustainable lighting fixtures that are handcrafted in its own design-build studios in California and Oregon.
Powered exclusively by solar energy, Metro is a certified “green” business that incorporates sustainable design and energy-efficient options wherever possible. Many of the fixtures it creates and sells are made with recycled materials and energy-efficient light sources. “Our goal is to shift the lighting industry away from disposable products made by disposable labor overseas to sustainable lighting made by skilled artisans in the United States,” Metro’s entry statement explains. Metro’s community involvement is central to its business plan. The company belongs to organizations such as Buy Local Berkeley, the Sustainable Business Alliance and the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce.
Within the past year, owner Lawrence Grown organized a coalition of 10 nearby home improvement retailers to form the West Berkeley Design Loop. Supported by funding from Berkeley’s Office of Economic Development, the group hired a branding firm to develop a name, logo and tagline for its business district.
Meanwhile, back at the showroom, Metro’s merchandising is as creative as the products themselves. Room-size alcoves that open onto a larger central space provide much-needed display walls. Perforated soffits make it easy to hang ceiling fixtures. Sconces are hung on custom cabinets. About 200 glass shades are presented on 10 metal and wood shelving units. An interactive display allows customers to try out combinations of glass holders, glass shades and light sources. Window displays facing busy San Pablo Avenue are works of art.
People are noticing; Metro has developed a database of 2,300 contact names and has increased its Facebook “likes” from 75 to 525 in the past year. A new e-commerce website launched in April includes case studies and links to Facebook, Pinterest and Yelp.