The first-ever Showroom of the Year Awards honorees were announced on Thursday, June 24 — opening day of the June Dallas Market — during a special cocktail reception at the summer show.
The inaugural event was organized by Residential Lighting in partnership with the Dallas Market Center . Several hundred attendees, including representatives from the 30 showroom finalists — plus manufacturers and other industry friends — gathered in the first floor Grand Pavilion of the Trade Mart building that night to cheer on some of the top lighting retailers in North America.
The winners in the three dollar-volume categories were: Lighting Unlimited , Houston, for revenue over $5 million; Prima Lighting , Vaughan, ON, for revenue under $5 million; and Pace Lighting , Savannah, GA for revenue under $2 million. Three more retailers were honored in specialty categories: Chicago’s Lightology  took home the award for Outstanding Merchandising Display; Hortons Home Lighting , LaGrange, IL, was recognized for Exceptional Community Involvement and Cleveland Lighting , Lyndhurst, OH, won for Most Significant Accomplishment.
All of the winners exemplify a spirit of innovation, resourcefulness and creativity in challenging times, and a passion for the field that has helped fuel their success.
“There are no better examples of business achievement in North America than the inspiring winners of the Showroom of the Year Awards,” says Bill Winsor, President and CEO, Dallas Market Center. “We congratulate these exceptional businesses and wish them continuing success.”
Nick Senofsky, CEO of Lighting Unlimited (shown here, with Residential Lighting's Laura Van Zeyl and Ed Gillette), says he shares the honor with his employees: “It’s exciting, exhilarating, a real honor and privilege,” he says. “[Our employees] are really what make our stores distinctive. They’re all professional, seasoned lighting experts. They make us who we are.”
More than half of that store’s 15,500 square feet is devoted to contemporary product, and it just opened an LED room to help demystify the category for customers. Looking forward, Senofsky says the company will continue to focus on cutting-edge technology. “It gives us an edge in this market,” he adds.
Founded in 2001, Pace Lighting opened a state-of-the-art, 18,500 square foot designer showroom in January 2009, to great response. “We wanted to try something new and different. The world is changing,” says Lisa Dixon of Pace Lighting. “The whole Pace family is delighted by this honor.”
Proof that a lighting showroom can be a true experience for shoppers, Outstanding Merchandising Display winner Lightology packs inspiration in every inch of its space, from its three-story atrium to its scenic rooftop and educational displays. This approach is helping set the retailer apart from the competition in tough times. “I wanted it to be an experience. I wanted everyone to walk through and have a discovery,” says owner Greg Kay.
For Matt Bursky of Cleveland Lighting, the Most Significant Accomplishment award had special significance. The showroom reopened to great acclaim nine months after a total-loss fire in 2009. “We’re very proud and humbled,” he says. “We share this [award] with all of the [people] who helped us get through a very challenging time.”
The awards ceremony was moderated by Winsor, Van Zeyl, Gillette and Dallas Market Center COO Cindy Morris.