Showroom of the Year: Outstanding Merchandising Display

Winner of the 2011 Showroom of the Year Award for Most Significant Accomplishment, Urban Lights returned to the winner’s circle in 2013, this time honored for its famously fabulous merchandising and displays. Thoughtfully arranged in themed lifestyle vignettes, the 20,000-square-foot showroom is easy to shop and provides an entertaining and informative buying experience.

Owner David Nestor favors the “less is more” school of thought. These days, he treats each display fixture as if it were a bottle of fine wine, giving it space, allowing it to breathe. “Doing that adds personality and brings out the fixture’s character,” Nestor explains. “Then you subtly accessorize it.” For Nestor, that would mean “getting even more into the touches and details that tell the story.”

Vignettes offer several benefits. They preclude what Nestor calls “jungles.” Vignettes help customers become visually at ease with new style possibilities. Done right, they can instantly create a comfort zone in which the customer feels just right.

Nestor and his team regard each of the store’s lifestyle statements as a chapter in a big style story. “We try to inspire creative thinking while also letting customers know how savvy and sophisticated we are by the lines we sell,” he says. “We want to them to feel contemporary, and even savvy being here. And, most importantly, we try to help them figure out what makes sense for their lifestyle. Our lifestyle statements give us an opportunity to show customers options.”

Urban Tech is one of the newer lifestyle statements in the store. Its story is all about LED lighting, “Our customers are asking for LED light sources, and we owe it to them to be on top of new developments,” Nestor says.

Nestor likens trying to capture design trends as being “like capturing air.” It’s not an easy task. “The market is always changing, and you are never going to get it just right,” he says. “It’s a matter of giving it your best shot.” His advice to showrooms that sell lighting: Emulate the art gallery, not the big-box store. “Minimal,” he says, “is good.”

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