A fire destroyed Cleveland Lighting’s original location in a matter of hours, yet the business never stopped. After moving into temporary quarters and getting help from vendors and even competitors, the company had to make a decision. It was 2009. Despite early signs of softening business conditions and warnings that Cleveland, OH, was not the right market for a state-of-the-art lighting showroom, Cleveland Lighting took the plunge. It was the right decision. The dramatically different, 10,000-square-foot showroom has taken the area by storm. Its grid-free, vignette-style merchandising was a bold, new approach that caught the industry’s attention from day one.
Residential Lighting: What’s new at your showroom?
Matt Bursky, Sales Manager:We want our store to feel like a museum of lighting. We are constantly changing our window vignettes, which face out to the street and are visible even if you are just driving by. The window vignettes range from very traditional to very modern. To enhance our lighting, we invest in new paint, fabric, granite, whatever it takes to create the right look. Our goal is to change these windows quarterly, but at least semi-annually.
RL: What do you think your showroom has done right during the downturn?
MB: Two to three years ago, we felt very challenged as a company because already there were fewer housing starts and consumers were spending less. So we reduced our overhead but continued to keep the showroom looking fresh and full of goods. Then a major fire interrupted our recession experience. Despite warnings that it would never work in a place like Cleveland, we decided to rebuild and bring the city something entirely new and exciting. Our belief that the people of Cleveland would respond very favorably was 100 percent correct. We took a major risk that paid off.
RL: What do you think your showroom did not do very well during the downturn?
MB: To reduce expenses, we lowered our inventory levels. We encountered lost opportunities when we did not have adequate stock on hand.
RL: What’s on tap for next year?
MB: We are enhancing our leadership position in our marketplace. We have recently started to re-brand our company with a new logo, a new website and more marketing. We just launched an advertising and marketing campaign that positions us as the experts in the lighting business. Our ads let people know they will have a great customer experience when they shop Cleveland Lighting, and they will also find fair pricing. These efforts are already bringing new clientele into the store, namely interior designers. This is a customer we rarely saw in our old store. Exceeding their expectations is the key to success.