Economists declared the U.S. recession officially over in June 2009, but the residential lighting industry missed the memo. Persistent unemployment, falling household incomes and a dismal housing market wreaked havoc with lighting sales through 2011. But all was not lost; viable brands became part of larger firms offering multiple product categories.
Generation Brands helped kick off the acquisition boom with the fall 2005 purchase of two venerable family-owned companies, Murray Feiss and Sea Gull Lighting. A pre-packaged bankruptcy filing in 2009 allowed Generation Brands to emerge from bankruptcy just 53 days after filing for Chapter 11.
Elk Lighting changed its name this year to ELK Group Intl. following a 24-month-long buying binge. ELK acquired 117-year-old Baldinger Architectural Lighting in June 2010. Just months later, Bailey Street and Sterling Industries — two home furnishings, accessories and lighting vendors — came next. Artistic Lighting was acquired in May 2011. When Nulco Lighting closed its doors, Elk moved in again, buying the business in July 2011.
Kichler Lighting bolstered the commercial offering by buying Teron Lighting in July 2011. Around the same time, Meyda Lighting acquired 2nd Ave.
Ellington Fans and its parent company, Litex Industries, acquired The Jeremiah Co. in early 2011. Then in November, after protracted negotiations, the company bought a 93 percent stake in Craftmade Intl.
In May 2011, a $1 billion transaction brought the Las Vegas World Market Center together with key venues in High Point. The new company, International Market Centers, today consists of 18 buildings in the two cities. Not to be outdone, Residential Lighting also assumed new ownership in April 2009.
Looking Back: Early 2010s
Hortons Home Lighting’s H Foundation raises a record $585,000 for cancer research at its 10th annual Goombay Bash in August 2010 at Chicago’s Navy Pier.
Jeffrey Rose, co-owner and President of Robert Abbey, dies in March 2010 of ALS. He was 55.
Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupts in April 2010, leaving many Light + Building show attendees stranded in Europe, flights grounded due to ash.
Authenticity Lighting opened for business in 2011, then shut its doors about a year later. The high-end company was run by former owners of Murray Feiss.
Lightfair relocates to Philadelphia for the 2011 show due to construction at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, its traditional East Coast site.
Showroom of the Year Debuts:
In June 2010, Residential Lighting and the Dallas Market Center presented the first-ever Showroom of the Year Awards to six lighting retailers: Pace Lighting, Prima Lighting, Lighting Unlimited, Lightology, Hortons Home Lighting and Cleveland Lighting.