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

Rapid ascent

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

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


Read more...

Speeding up science

News
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
02.25.14 Thumbnail MedwasteBY JOE ROJAS-BURKE | OB BLOGGER

The medical research enterprise wastes tens of billions of dollars a year on irrelevant studies. It’s time to fix it.


Read more...

The 2014 List: The Top 33 Small Companies to Work, For in Oregon

March 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014

100best14logoWebOur 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.

 


Read more...

Closing the gap: Community colleges and workforce training

News
Thursday, March 27, 2014
03.27.14 thumb collegeBY MARY SPILDE | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Community college career, technical and workforce programs present an opportunity to bring business and education together as never before.


Read more...

From the Editor: The human factor

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In this issue, we celebrate our 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project.


Read more...

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...

The more they change, the more they stay the same

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
100-best-collageBY BRANDON SAWYER

The 100 Best Companies get more creative with perks and more generous with benefits; employees seek empowering relations with management and coworkers.


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