HOW A FAMILY OWNED TINTON FALLS LIGHTING DESIGN BUSINESS COMPETES AGAINST MEGA COMPETITORS IN A MULTI BILLION DOLLAR MARKETPLACE
BY LINDSEY BLAIR • PHOTOS BY ROBERT NUZZIE
The Lighting Design Center in Tinton Falls, family owned and operated, seems to be engaging in the impossible competing against mega sized bulb and fixture retailers like The Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Wal Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sam’s Club, and Costco for a share of the $27 billion U.S. lighting market (according to U.S. market research firm Fuliduoni Asia). A full service supply house offering expertise in switchgear, generator sales/service/rentals, solar energy systems, commercial lighting, and residential lighting design, as well as lighting energy audits and with five distribution locations throughout New Jersey (Little Egg Harbor, Lakewood, Tinton Falls, New Brunswick, and Parsippany) one of the business’s selling points from its founding was diversification of services.
In fact, the company showroom was awarded the “Showroom of the Year” designation at the Dallas Market industry gathering (the largest lighting trade show in the country), and was also given Lutron’s National 5 Star Showroom of the Year nod for 2017.
“Lutron is by far the industry leader in lighting control and motorized shading solutions,” explained Jim Dunn, executive vice president of Lighting Design Center parent company Warshauer Electric Supply. “There are only a select few Lutron 5 Star Showrooms across the country, so to be the best of the best was very humbling.”
According Dunn, three main factors separate Lighting Design Center from big box and other competitors. First is a crew of six full time Lighting Designers, all of whom are certified in lighting design across residential, light commercial, retail, restaurant, multi dwelling housing, and residential & light commercial lighting control applications, along with automation and motorized window shading systems. A close second, to Dunn, is what he describes as a selection of products that customers simply “can’t find anywhere else.”
“We have lines and pieces that only very select design centers across the country are franchised to carry, such as the Ralph Lauren collection from Visual Comfort, and others,” he explained. “Lines that reflect the latest lighting and lighting control trends.”
Last, but not least, Lighting Design Center has over 100,000 square feet of electrical supplies for designers, homeowners, and builders.
“We are a one stop shop, so if a customer or contractor buys a job, they can leave with everything they need for a successful and professional installation,” said Dunn.
With any market, trends are ever changing, and the lighting design market is no different. From LED bulbs to voice activated lighting control, Warshauer and its Tinton Falls subsidiary company make it a point to stay ahead of the curve. (The global LED lighting market alone, worth approximately $20 billion currently, is anticipated to reach $63.1 billion by 2020, according to the National Association of Electrical Distributors.)
“Oversized fixtures and pendants are very hot right now, with finishes that include golds, blacks, and whites as well as fixtures and pieces with crackled ribbed glass or mirrored glass,” said Dunn. “A lot of attention is being placed on properly lamping a fixture (light bulb election). A beautiful piece can either sparkle or be ruined by incorrect lamping. With the advent of the LED bulb dominating in today’s marketplace, the choices are almost overwhelming for the traditional consumer.”
Another design concept that’s gathering momentum is combining natural with artificial light. According to Dunn, the former remains the perfect light source, and harnessing its free energy is a considerable plus. The use of motorized shading (set to open and closed at ideal times), combined with the perfect color temperatures of light fixtures, can bring beauty and increased functionality to any space, not to mention energy savings. [HOME + DESIGN]
“Another gathering trend right now is voice automation,” Dunn explained.
“Amazon Alexa and Google Home have an enormous installed base right now, but people are often surprised that these systems require specialty switches and lighting control programming to tell Google to ‘Turn the lights on’ before they would actually work. We are a Google Nest Pro distributor, so we can supply the Google/Nest material needed components and specialty switches to execute lighting control commands.”
The business also boasts a 24 hour, 7 days a week service department, including generator repair.
“It’s not about spoiled meat in the fridge, but more about no heat in the winter, frozen pipes, no security system… things that require electricity that may be out for weeks at the worst possible time,” Dunn said of a sudden need for a generator fix. “Businesses could lose thousands of dollars a day if the power outage is prolonged.”
Equally as important, the Center offers a multi layered protection plan that will prevent surges from affecting home or business components; such surges can be produced by weather events or other grid interruptions, during normal utility switching operations, or they can be internal, produced when heavy motor loads like refrigerators or air conditioners tax the system.
“As LEDs have become the dominant light source, we tell our customers that they are just like any other sensitive electronic equipment: they can be ruined by surges, as can flat screens and computers,” said Dunn, adding that his business also offers education courses to interior designers and electrical contractors, keeping them at the top of their game.
“We are probably the only electrical wholesaler and design center approved to offer a continuing education unit (CEU) through the American Society of Interior Designers and to contractors through the New Jersey State Board of Examiners,” Dunn said. “We also hold designer training events, which gives us the ability to network with designers and provide a much needed service.”
The Center also prides itself on creating an “our home is your home” atmosphere for its clients.
“The experience is everything,” Jim Warshauer, the president of Warshauer Electric Supply, added, regarding the redesigned showroom. “We wanted a more comfortable experience, vignette based lighting in a typical environment, and we want the most experienced and knowledgeable staff that can answer any question and design any project.”
The Lighting Design Center
800 Shrewsbury Ave, Tinton Falls / 732.741.6400