Showroom of the Year: Revenue Under $5 Million

Time and again, perseverance has paid off for Bruce Paul, owner and President of Passion Lighting. A finalist in the past two Showroom of the Year Award competitions, the 9,000-square-foot showroom’s third entry was truly the charm. “I was extremely surprised when I heard them call our name. I celebrated that night by taking my wife out to dinner,” Paul says.

From the first day in business when he took in a grand total of $47 to today, to the housing bust that hit 18 months after the showroom opened, Paul has kept his focus on the long-term. Building a diverse customer mix has been key to the company’s success. New construction in the area is still slow, yet builders are still are a small piece of his business. Interior designers, homeowners, remodeling, electrical and commercial contractors are all top customers. Each segment supports Passion’s Landscape Lighting division, which offers design, sales and installation services. Paul says it is the only one of its kind locally and among a handful of companies in the entire state of Texas. Now representing about 10 percent of total sales, Passion’s landscape design service has helped foster more requests for lighting design for interior spaces, too.

Passion’s online presence and social marketing efforts have also had a very positive effect on store sales. A robust website with e-commerce functionality takes advantage of visual aids such as YouTube and Flickr to make it fast and easy to see Passion’s newest products and latest projects. The company recently launched its own video blog that will feature a dozen new videos by the end of the year.

Keeping online content fresh and up to date is a top priority. The website is thoroughly evaluated every 12 months and updated monthly, with 25 percent more content each year. Paul says he posts images to the showroom’s Facebook page as often as five times per week. Using an online software program to regularly send customers e-mail offers and updates has worked quite well, Paul says.

Looking to the future, Paul says his 10-year business plan calls for expansion sooner rather than later. He envisions a larger, more centralized business model, maybe 20,000 to 30,000 square feet, in the same general vicinity.

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