Ask Howard Gurock of Econo-Lite how his company is different from other lighting suppliers and you’ll get an education in illuminating retail spaces. He’ll quickly tell you to choose a lighting partner, not just a lighting supplier. Gurock quips, “Possessing lighting knowledge without an understanding of design, retail environments or positive customer experiences is like possessing precious metals and stones without the ability to turn them into a product you can sell.”
In 2007, Howard Gurock and Jeffrey Gasman took over Econo-Lite which was established in 1982 by George Halvatzis. Known to many jewelers as the ‘King of Jewelry Lighting,’ George provided store owners with expertise in the latest jewelry lighting technologies. After his retirement, Howard and Jeff stayed true to the company’s reputation and continue to provide the jewelry industry with lighting products and a high level of customization few companies provide.
Econo-Lite’s close relationship with leading jewelry store designers (Artco, Store Design and Fixturing, Grid3), case manufacturers (Grice Showcase) and jewelry display companies (Pacific Northern) demonstrates their commitment to being more than just a lighting supplier. Gurock works with designers and case manufacturers to ensure their projects go smoothly, stating, “We have to talk to all parties involved because there is a great level of customization nowadays.”
Gurock is deeply involved with the technical side of lighting, specifically LED diode manufacturing which is the most important component used in LED lighting. Diodes are no bigger than the head on a pin, but they determine how warm or cool the emitted light is from an LED bulb. When he discovered that manufacturers were allowed classification deviations within single groups, and those deviations were perceptible to the human eye, he did what any good business owner would do – he went for custom diode production.
“With only a few LED diode manufacturers in the world that really produce a quality product, we decided to choose one of these manufacturers to produce our diodes custom made to our specifications,” Gurock said. “Manufacturers classify diodes into warm, neutral and cool according to the color they emit. But when the colors weren’t consistent within a classification we went the only route we could – custom.”
Creating a special diode (known in the industry as custom binned), requires a lot more testing, evaluating, re-testing and work, but Econo-Lite refused to sell inconsistent product, whether or not the solution was complicated.
Selling quality products is only one component of the business mix for Econo-Lite. Creating a custom lighting plan for each retailer is equally impressive in its offering. With so many variables affecting the lighting of a jewelry store, Gurock and Gasman decided they simply couldn’t offer a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to retailers.
“What most people don’t realize is that what works for one store doesn’t work for all. Most believe lighter and brighter is better, but it may not be the best solution for all jewelry,” Gurock explains. “If we put the brightest and whitest lights in a case and produce a look that cannot be replicated outside the case, then our jewelry partners are at risk of losing a sale, and that’s not acceptable to us.”
At no cost, Econo-Lite consults with the jeweler to gain insight into their retail environment and to evaluate the physical surroundings, including: how much natural light is available, what the layout of the store is like, what mix of products are being sold, what color is on the walls and in the display cases and the height of the ceiling. They may recommend one type of lighting for the cash wrap, a different type for the work benches and yet another for the showcases and wall displays.
Gurock explains how lighting becomes a part of the sales process: “First, lighting in the showcase must make the product catch the eye of the customer. Then you have to create a look that makes the customer want to see the product outside the case, and, last, the lighting outside the case needs to blend with the incase lighting to make the product look just as good above the glass as below it.”
Hiring teams of technical engineers, LED engineers and many other experts in the field of lighting has helped Econo-Lite carve out a niche in the jewelry industry, and with that tremendous success they found the next natural progression was to jump into the optical and beauty salon industries. Like jewelry retail, both present tremendous challenges when it comes to lighting, but Gurock and Gasman are nothing if not extremely business savvy.
“The salon industry is an extremely tight-knit group that posed significant problems when it came down to being the new lighting kid on the block,” Gurock recalled. “If you’re not connected in that industry there is no way to earn their trust. That’s why we partnered with the top hair color specialist in the industry, Beth Minardi, to create lighting specifically for salons. It took over a year of intense research and testing, but we proudly launched our Minardi Color Perfect Lighting line specifically designed to address the needs of hair salons, and we’ve helped reconstruct the way they light the retail area in the salons.”
But perhaps the best offer Econo-Lite makes is one of value. With a five year guarantee on their product and the free lighting analysis to customize a lighting plan per individual store, it easy to see how Gurock and Gasman have become the new ‘Kings of Lighting’ in the jewelry industry. After all, customization is king regardless of what industry you serve.
Visit Econo-Lite at www.econo-lite.com or call 800-345-9652 for a free consultation.
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