The recent Congressional rider  temporarily watering down the enforcement of the Energy Independence & Security Act’s  (EISA) light bulb provisions and resulting confusion among consumers means that lighting showrooms are even more important as educational ambassadors to the public. The American Lighting Assn.  (ALA) was quick to respond with helpful perspective  for its members (and quotes for mainstream media ) that nothing has fundamentally changed as a result of this development. The lighting industry had already responded to EISA with viable alternatives and those advances will continue their forward momentum.
As Jan. 1, 2012, came closer and bits of information (or, quite often, misinformation) about EISA trickled its way through our communities, showrooms found themselves on the front lines, helping to straighten out the facts … or at least accommodating hoarders with cases of quality 100Ws.
It is against this unprecedented backdrop that we kick off our 2012 Showroom of the Year Awards  in partnership with the Dallas Market Center , an opportunity to recognize retailers who are doing remarkable things for their customers and communities. Any lighting store with a brick-and-mortar location may enter , or others in the industry can nominate . Just be sure to do so before the March 5 deadline. As before, finalists will be announced in our May issue , with awards presented during the June Dallas Market .
Another popular outlet for showrooms that we are repeating for 2012 is our Showroom IdeaShare, a roundtable discussion during the January Dallas Market that allows stores to exchange their innovations and improve their businesses. The event will be held on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 3 p.m. in the Accessories Resource Team  (ART) office in Dallas (WTC 166). ART membership is not required to participate, but I do strongly encourage you to join  because the group is offering all kinds of new benefits, such as the ART Card to obtain discounts from leading vendors. Advance registration is required for the IdeaShare. Sign up by e-mailing me  or ART Executive Director Sharon Davis .
Whether you are seeking improvement or recognition for accomplishments you’ve already made, kudos for your initiative. These are exciting times, even if they are also frustrating. We should be proud that our industry remains firmly focused on the future. Care to join us, Congress?