Meet Our 10th Annual SOTY Finalists: $2M to $5M

The 10th Annual Showroom of the Year Finalists in the $2Million to $5 Million category! 

To see finalists in our other categories, click here:

Under $2 Million

$5 Million and Up 

Nicole Davis
05/16/2019
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B.A. Robinson 10th Annual SOTY Finalist

B.A. Robinson Co. Ltd.
Penticton, British Columbia 

 

B.A. Robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opened in 2000, the Penticton, British Columbia branch of B.A. Robinson Co. Ltd. has put its best foot forward to stay competitive. The showroom recently took on an extensive renovation that doubled its space, allowing more room for displays that consumers can touch and feel.

A beautiful showroom is only part of the equation; the staff really makes the experience at B.A. Robinson. With so many options, it’s easy for customers to get overwhelmed, but the showroom’s salespeople provide guidance in design and functionality while staying on top of the latest products and trends. And it doesn’t stop when the sale is made. Customers receive the after-purchase service they deserve should they ever need extra assistance with parts or warranty.

“We pride ourselves on going above and beyond for our customers,” says Amber Arnott, Branch Administrator. “We treat them with the respect and kindness that we would expect our loved ones to be treated with.”

This personal touch, plus its large array of products — from those available at big-box stores to higher-end, more exclusive options — allows B.A. Robinson to build long-lasting relationships with its customers, whether they just came to browse and get ideas or are sitting down for a full consultation.

Looking to the near future, the whole company will be getting a facelift with a modernized look for its brand. This initiative will get the company in front of new faces and expand its customer base, something that B.A. Robinson will surely build upon.

Q: Look back 10 years at your showroom and reflect on where you were then versus now.

A: “Ten years ago, our showroom was quite small and dark,” says Arnott. “Even though we only displayed economy products from a limited number of brands, it was cluttered and overwhelming for customers to shop. The showroom was not a good reflection on the company’s vast amount of product lines and resources. We’ve gone from a small, limited showroom to a destination where homeowners and designers want to shop.”

 

Illuminating Interiors
San Diego, CA

Illuminating Interiors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Anne Keen joined Illuminating Interiors three years ago, she put her 20 years of experience in the industry — plus her interior design degree — to use and transformed the store into a lighting and furniture showcase. 

She brought in home decor and furniture categories and created vignettes that appeal to all styles. From the lighting to the artwork to the rugs, each display is pulled together with the idea that someone can buy that look for their home. Combined with the open floor plan and large foyer with 15-foot ceilings, which allows for plenty of display space without being overcrowded, shopping at Illuminating Interiors is a unique experience. 

The showroom is very tuned into San Diego’s design community — it donates unused space upstairs for the local ASID chapter to use as office space. Once a year, the showroom hosts what it calls a “Designer’s Quarter,” where staff draws a name at one of their designer events and gives that designer a section of the store to create a vignette in. “This helps the designer get to know the vendors we work with, feel comfortable working in the store and get to know the staff,” explains Keen. “We then promote each other on social media as well.” The concept has been a win-win so far.

Beyond its 10,000 square feet full of product, designer-friendly workspaces and events, Illuminating Interiors aims to make customers feel at home. When they come in, they’re encouraged to take it all in, have a cup of coffee, hang out with the staff and perhaps most importantly, enjoy the beautiful surroundings. 

Q: Look back 10 years at your showroom and reflect on where you were then versus now.  

A: “The showroom used to be so crowded — there was so much product in the ceiling you couldn’t make out what was what, and there was just a sea of table lamps,” says Keen. “We were competing with stores like HomeGoods and sites like Wayfair, where people can go to get the trendy, cheap table lamps that they can easily afford, and we just didn’t need to be. We’ve stepped it up a bit, bringing in higher-end brands, and it’s definitely changed our business, bringing in more business, new business and just better business.”

 

Joseph’s Electrical Center
Lake Charles, LA

Joseph's Electrical

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When six of the eight staff members at your showroom are family members, you know the connection and dedication runs deep. That’s the case at Joseph’s Electrical Center, a fourth-generation business that’s been open since 1929. Today, as a lighting showroom and electrical supply house, the business calls on its longstanding history to connect with customers. When people walk into the store with a strange-looking globe from the ‘70s or an odd electrical part that they can’t find anywhere online, the staff recognizes what they have and is able to help them.

And while it has a long history with lighting, Joseph’s Electrical Center has remained current, now carrying more than 80 brands of lighting and fan manufacturers and the latest in electrical technology in its 12,000-square-foot showroom.

Joseph’s merchandising is known around town. Driving by to see the window displays, especially during the holidays, has become a tradition for many locals over the years — they’ve been said to remind onlookers of the window displays at Macy’s in New York. 

Another way Joseph’s connects with the community is through its social media activity. “We’ve found that maintaining a presence on social media and advertising on Facebook is important for reminding people that they have a local lighting vendor right here in Lake Charles and they don’t have to immediately resort to the big-box stores or the giant online lighting retailers to get what they need,” says Erin Howle, Showroom Sales & Marketing. “We have always wanted our small city to have access to the world of lighting without ever having to leave town.”

Q: Look back 10 years at your showroom and reflect on where you were then versus now.  

A: “The biggest change was bringing the fourth generation of our family into the business,” says Randy Lanza, one of the third-generation family members, an American Lighting Assn. (ALA) Lighting Specialist and Lighting Consultant/Buyer at the store. “While the rest of us have been here for 30 to 40 years, mostly doing things the way we have always done, Erin had a fresh perspective on what to do to bring us up to speed. Overall, what was tired now has new life.”

 

NorthWest Lighting and Accents 
Mt. Prospect, IL 

Northwest Lighting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Showroom of the Year finalist multiple times, NorthWest Lighting and Accents is no stranger to accolades. In business since 2000, the showroom has continued to innovate, which is the key to their success according to Amanda Wolfe, Residential Lighting Division Manager.  

“We realized years ago that the future of NorthWest Lighting and Accents would be driven not just by how successfully we operate internally, but by forces within and outside of the lighting industry that were beyond our control. In order to thrive we would need to embrace change, respond quickly and preemptively prepare for the future of lighting,” says Wolfe.

This willingness to change is noticed by the showroom’s partners, as reps frequently come to them to test new marketing ideas. From the showroom’s recently formed design services division, to a low-price guarantee on decorative fixtures that speaks to the online shopper, to a new and improved sales staff mix, trying new things is second nature for NorthWest. 

Another standout quality? The showroom’s merchandising. The two-story, 66,000-square-foot shop is filled with well-thought-out vignettes, galleries and experience centers to provide customers with the latest trends, but also a sense of how they will look in their own homes.

NorthWest is currently creating a lighting plan to adapt several areas of its second floor showroom into room experience centers, including a master bedroom, bathroom, living room and master closet space. Inside each room, they’ll showcase various light layer effects that will include the use of new integrated technology like auto-tuning LEDs, RadioRA control systems, TRUFIG mounting solutions and Lutron’s custom automatic shades, plus custom furniture and decorative lighting. 

Q: Look back 10 years at your showroom and reflect on where you were then versus now.

A: “Over the last decade, our sales team has developed into one of our most powerful assets,” says Wolfe. “We have expanded our department to include members with strong sales experience, interior design, and construction backgrounds in order to help with today’s demands of product knowledge and design. The skills needed today for lighting design require continual training. It’s vital to keep our team up to date on the latest products and trends. We believe our staff’s amazing efforts make our showroom stand out.”

 

Passion Lighting
Grapevine, TX

Passion Lighting

Multiple-time Showroom of the Year finalist Passion Lighting does not take any of its successes for granted. Having weathered market downturns and retail challenges, the 9,000-square-foot showroom continues to stay relevant.

The showroom’s entire display has been reinvented in the last 36 months, including new paint colors, new surfaces, lighter colors throughout, raised ceiling clouds up to 15 feet and a 75 percent turnover of product in the last 30 months. Almost every fixture on display is lit, they’ve moved to 100 percent LED lamping throughout the showroom, and they have a tremendous amount of product on display for clients to touch and see.

And that’s not all that’s new. An exciting initiative Passion has started called Club25 has become more successful than even initially thought. Customers pay $25 to join the club for a year, and by doing so, they gain access to a couple of hundred select fixtures that are very competitively priced everyday, even beating online pricing. More than 225 people have joined the club in less than a year, and Passion is going to continue to expand the program because customers and vendors have embraced it so warmly.

Beyond Club25, another thing that Bruce Paul, President, is proud of is Passion’s dedication to charity. “We’ve donated to Cook Children’s hospital every year since we opened, even when we lost money. Being able to give back to people in need in our area is a great thing.”

Passion’s full range of displays, knowledgeable staff — which has one of only five ALA CLCs in Texas — and its in-house design and install landscape lighting division set it apart in its local area and industry-wide. 

Q: Look back 10 years at your showroom and reflect on where you were then versus now.

A: “We started 12 years ago now and we’re still here, so we’re very appreciative of that,” says Paul. “We’ve grown a lot and the industry has changed tremendously in the last 10 years, more so than I think in 40 years. When I started 12 years ago it wasn’t so fashion-oriented as it is now, and the amount of product coming out is astounding. It’s hard to keep up at times but I like the changes.”

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