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

Intrepid reporter checks out ZoomCare rebrand

The Latest
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
dentistthumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Like all good journalists, OB editorial staff typically eschew freebies. But health care costs being what they are, digital news editor Jacob Palmer couldn't resist ZoomCare's offer of a three-in-one (cleaning, exam, whitening) dental office visit, guaranteed to take no more than 57 minutes. 


Read more...

Downtime with John Helmick

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.


Read more...

Eco Zoned

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Travelers have always come to Oregon for its natural beauty. But will the increasing popularity of agritourism, European-style hiking getaways and forest resorts relax Oregon's notoriously strict land-use laws?


Read more...

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Up in the Air

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON

Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.


Read more...

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


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