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

South Waterfront's revenge

News
Thursday, July 24, 2014
MoodyAveBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Remember the naysayers?  Those who called the South Waterfront aerial tram a boondoggle?  Those who rejoiced at the massive sell off of luxury condos at the John Ross and Atwater Place?


Read more...

OB features update

Linda Baker
Thursday, August 28, 2014
update-logo-14-thumb

As summer winds down, we update a few feature stories that appeared in our print publication this past year.


Read more...

Why I became an Oregon angel investor

Guest Blog
Monday, July 14, 2014
AngelInvestBY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE

I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.


Read more...

Q&A: David Lively of Organically Grown Co.

News
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
OGCLogoBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.


Read more...

Who said we should sell in May?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, July 18, 2014
BullMarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”


Read more...

Register for 100 Best Companies survey

News
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
OBM-100-best-logo-2015 150pxwBy Kim Moore | OB Editor

The 2015 survey launched this week. It is open to for-profit private and public companies that have at least 15 full- or part-time employees in Oregon.


Read more...

Is this employee right?

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
081314 thumb employeefeelingsBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

When I say, “Your Employee is Always Right,” I do not mean “right about the facts,” but rather “right about how they feel” and “right about how they want to be led.”


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