Home Back Issues March 2013 Lighting the way

Lighting the way

| Print |  Email
Articles - March 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013

 

BY DAN COOK

0313 FOB Dispatches LightFixtures
Sunlan owner Kay Newell holds a 30S21 Marconi lightbulb. On the table are the Edison-style G30 and Neon Flower.
// Photo by Sierra Breshears

"How may I light your world?” asks Kay Newell as a potential customer walks through her door. Newell, also known as the Light Bulb Lady, is the founder and owner of Sunlan Lighting. Hers is no ordinary shop. Aisles wind through towering stacks packed with light bulbs, many of them hard-to-find or novelty lights larger stores wouldn’t bother with.

Newell has no idea how many different light bulbs she has in stock. But she will tell you that when you can’t find the right bulb elsewhere, you’ll end up talking to her. “We meet the needs of people who can’t find the bulb they need anywhere else,” she says.

Newell does not strive to be on the cutting edge of artificial illumination. She does not carry mundane bulbs that can be found at any lighting or big-box store. She does not carry grow lights. “I don’t sell anything that can be used to grow marijuana. It’s not worth the risk to me.” She does not sell light fixtures or other accessories.

She also won’t sell online. And therein lies her value to her customers. “Online sales are for people who know exactly what they want,” Newell says. “People come to me because they aren’t sure what they need. I am extremely knowledgeable about this business, so I can help people find just the right light.” Newell pursues an aggressive marketing strategy. She advertises heavily in local newspapers, such as Bob Pamplin’s community weeklies, the Hollywood Star and Portland Observer. She partners with lighting fixture stores that send their customers to Sunlan and she will special order any bulb you want.

There’s a dark side to her business. Very few bulbs are made in the United States, which bothers her. Some of her favorites, the 150-watt bulb in particular, have been “outlawed” by the “stupid” government. Her personal “fun” bulb, the holiday bubble light, is vanishing because “no one wants to make them anymore.” Yet new products like the sunlight-mimicking Full Spectrum Light, well, light her up.

“People actually feel better when they use them,” she says. And the Light Bulb Lady loves to brighten people’s days.

 

More Articles

What I'm reading: Brad Smith & Travis Boersma

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brad Smith, founder of Hot Pepper Studios, and Travis Boersma, president of Dutch Bros. Coffee, share their recent reads.


Read more...

Barrister bands

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
IMG 4691BY LINDA BAKER

An intellectual property attorney by day, 48-year-old Stoll Berne attorney Tim DeJong is a singer and guitarist by night.


Read more...

Tech makes the world go round

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, March 20, 2014
03.20.14 thumb internetBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

I don’t think anyone can (or should) remember what it was like to get things done without the internet. This milestone in technology has certainly benefited brick-and-mortar companies and subsequently launched a new era of businesses.


Read more...

Spreading the wealth

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
HiResBY PAIGE PARKER

A money management firm broadens its reach. 


Read more...

Banishing oil burners reaps benefits for schools

News
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
04.02.14 thumb co2schoolsBY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Three years ago, PPS set out to begin to convert the 1930s-era boilers from diesel/bunker fuel to cleaner-burning natural gas. Oregon’s largest school district has realized impressive carbon dioxide emissions reductions, setting an example for public and private institutions.


Read more...

Small business sales go big

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BY BRANDON SAWYER

Sales of small businesses surged in 2013 according to the biggest Internet marketplace of such transactions, BizBuySell, increasing to 7,056 reported sales, a 24% increase over 2012, when they dropped 7%. Portland Metro sales tracked by the site grew 9% to 73, capping three years of solid growth. On top of that, Portland’s median sale price jumped 67% to $250K, versus just 13% to $180K nationally. Portland was one of just six metros tracked where the median sale price matched the median asking price, with sellers getting, on average, 92% of what they asked.

BTNMarch14 tableBTNMarch14 line


BTNMarch14 piePDXBTNMarch14 pieUSA


Read more...

Rapid ascent

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
IMG 4255-2BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Kelly Dachtler, president of The Clymb, redefines outdoor retail.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS