July 18, 2022
Creative Lighting – an award-winning lighting showroom and B2B provider of quality lighting products, lighting design expertise, and customer service with a local online presence – has been operated by the Minsberg family since 1926. Bellacor was started in 2000 at the Creative Lighting showroom and later moved to a new headquarters in nearby Minneapolis. Run as a separate business from Creative Lighting, it provides inspiration, expertise, and an effortless online shopping experience to consumers and B2B customers such as interior designers, home builders, and the specifiers.
Tim Arland, CEO of Bellacor, stated, “This acquisition of Creative Lighting is the beginning of our ‘showroom and clicks’ model and strategy. Creative Lighting makes an ideal fit since we are neighbors, and we know them so well. We love the location of Creative Lighting, and we envision some excellent synergies in growing the brands together. In addition, Creative Lighting provides the showroom experience for our online business and Bellacor can provide online and nationwide opportunities for Creative Lighting.”
Michael Minsberg, CEO & President of Creative Lighting, added, “Our Creative Lighting business has made many transformations over the years to stay competitive and build a bright future for our employees and customers. I am extremely pleased with the next chapter for Creative Lighting as a strong lighting retail presence combined with growing online opportunities as part of the Bellacor family. I see many new opportunities and synergies for Bellacor and Creative Lighting to move forward together in a ‘showroom and clicks’ business model.”
The acquisition is expected to close by September 1. Arland will serve as CEO for the combined businesses; Creative Lighting will be a subsidiary of Bellacor. Both companies will retain their company names after the acquisition.
“Jon and I are excited about this development as it represents the future of our industry: a robust e-commerce business with brick-and-mortar representation in the local community. We are also grateful that the Creative Lighting story and family legacy will get to continue under this new business direction,” Michael stated.
Coming Full Circle
Jonathan and Michael’s maternal grandfather founded the family business in 1926 as an electrical wholesaler. “In the mid-1960s, our father and mother took over. By the mid-1970s, they dropped the electrical supplies and kept only the decorative lighting,” Jonathan recalled, adding, “I joined full-time in 1973; Mickey (Michael) and our brother Jeremy started in the early 1980s.” [Jeremy eventually left the company and works in the tourism industry in Europe.]
While Bellacor literally came to fruition inside the Creative Lighting building, the business grew in leaps and bounds, moving into its own headquarters 15+ years ago. The two business have been kept separate, with Bellacor operated by its own management team and outside board of directors.
Over the past two years, Jonathan and Michael turned over the day-to-day running of the business to 9-year Creative Lighting veteran Jim Palmersheim, Director/Sales, and 13-year Creative Lighting veteran Tara Simons, Director/Showroom Operations. “They’ve done an excellent job, and they will continue to lead the Creative Lighting family forward under the leadership of Tim Arland,” Michael said. “We know that the path forward with Bellacor is promising and bright, and we look forward to watching the next part of the story unfold and celebrate in all of the future growth and success that is to come.”
When asked whether the inventory/warehousing of both businesses will be consolidated into one space instead of separately, Tara Simons said that has yet to be determined.
“We are currently exploring all options regarding inventory and storage. We will be looking at ways we can optimize our current warehouse space within the Creative Lighting building as well as utilize Bellacor’s warehouse for certain portions of our ‘pack and hold’ and B2B business,” she explained. “This will be a methodical process and will take some time to determine the most successful scenario for day-to-day operations, but it is one the items we will be addressing earlier on in the transition.”
Will long-time Creative Lighting showroom customers notice anything different? “Perhaps one of the most exciting parts about this acquisition for Creative Lighting customers will be the changes to our current showroom, which they will [see] early on,” Simons stated. “We have spent the last two years really focusing on the overall product assortment in the showroom, placing a strong emphasis on differentiation within our local market, which has been a successful move for us. We are also currently in motion with a fairly significant remodel on the east side of our showroom, including the main entrance.”
The acquisition will provide the best of both worlds for Creative Lighting and Bellacor in regards to product assortment as there will be access gained to new product lines and vendor opportunities for both companies.” Simon noted. “The Creative Lighting customer will not only have new things available to them in the showroom, but the local Bellacor customer will now have a place to see products in person. We will be stronger together, as we will now have multi-channel sales opportunities in ecommerce, showroom, and B2B. This is a very exciting time for us all.”