Showroom of the Year: Outstanding Merchandise Display
Design Lighting’s Yvonne Onderwater won for Outstanding Merchandising Display. The Surrey, BC, showroom — which features an interactive living room, dining room and kitchen — also won the International Retailer ARTS Award in January 2011.

2011 started out strong for Design Lighting. In January, the 26,000-square-foot lighting showroom received the International Retailer ARTS Award. The excitement continued in June, when the store was presented with the Showroom of the Year Award for Outstanding Merchandising Display. “It is almost daunting to think about how we will top 2011,” says Yvonne Onderwater, Showroom Manager. 

The company opened for business in 2000 and moved to its current location about two years ago. “When I heard that we won the Showroom of the Year Award, I was thinking of all it took to get to this stage,” Onderwater recalls. “We appreciate our reps, our vendors, the staff, the Dallas Market Center, Residential Lighting magazine and so many others that have helped us get to where we are now. Our reps have been just great to us.”

A welcoming, homey atmosphere punctuated by a freshly made cup of complimentary cappuccino is meant to win over customers. Yet it’s superb service and the way in which the merchandise is presented that allow Design Lighting to win customers for life.

The showroom’s Optiwatt control system saves energy bills. When it comes to merchandising, its most potent power is the ability to turn on individual fixtures as needed. It’s a simple concept with powerful benefits, according to Onderwater.

“Having all the lights on all the time can be very hot and terribly distracting,” she says. “Our system allows customers to clearly view the illumination of specific fixtures without light from other surrounding fixtures getting in
the way.”

“Uniquely placed to capture the eye” is the showroom merchandising motto. Design Lighting chooses to group its light fixtures by style and trend in room setting vignettes. “It’s a great way to show customers a lot of options,” Onderwater says. 

One display that has become a favorite is known as Warmly Welcoming. Segmented from the rest of the showroom with a simple backdrop, the display features a mixture of warm tones seen on lighting and accents with traditional flair. Over time, the display has featured artwork, glass, portable lamps and seating. “While the story line might stay the same, we like to change the displays often, adding new product as our inventory changes,” Onderwater says. “The way the showroom is set up makes it easy to move drama to where it’s needed.”

Onderwater said that since Design Lighting received its Showroom of the Year Award, many new vendors have been in touch. Customers will see all the new lines in the front of the showroom, Design Lighting’s choice spot for displaying new products.

Looking ahead, Onderwater says Design Lighting will work hard to continue to grow along the same path and “strive to do what we do well even better.” It makes sense; merchandising prowess and an abundance of personalized service for homeowners, contractors and the trade have brought the showroom no small amount of industry fame.

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