Award-winning lighting showroom CEO & owner Lisa Dixon of Pace Lighting in Savannah, Ga., has been so impressed by the networking opportunities presented by the American Lighting Association (ALA) Conferences and twice-yearly Dallas lighting markets that she wanted to continue that invaluable dialogue with her colleagues throughout the year.

“I often find myself in the midst of passionate, in-depth conversations with colleagues about the state of the lighting showroom and the somewhat odd place we have found ourselves in for the past few years,” Dixon states. “It seems likely that there will be some evolution in our collective future for a large variety of reasons, ranging from developments in LED to competition from online shopping.  We made it through the Recession and times are pretty good again, but despite that, I know many of us have frustrations with vendor and customer relationships that can seem beyond what any independent retailer can cope with efficiently.”

Dixon decided to create a forum for lighting retailers to discuss challenges and brainstorm solutions to problems they all face — whether it be handling re-stocking fees, evaluating POS software, and staffing situations. She established a Facebook group called the Lighting Showroom Coalition with the purpose of being an online community for lighting showroom owners, managers, and staff to share concerns, news, and thoughts on our industry and its future. 

“This is an open and respectful forum that is not intended to take the place of other industry organizations,” Dixon cautions, “but simply to supplement and provide an ongoing way to facilitate real-time communication and hopefully, strengthen, and improve, our businesses. The more we are on a similar page as lighting showrooms and distributors, the more our collective voices will be heard by those who most need to hear it.”

Dixon welcomes any differences of opinion and various regional concerns that will factor into the discussions. “If we share those differences, perhaps we can all learn a little bit and grow individually and together,” she says. “Vendor insight is welcomed and encouraged on topics as is fitting and appropriate.  I’m sure there are considerations all around that we, as showroom operators, are not fully aware of.”

Interested retailers can join the Facebook group at Lighting Showroom Coalition. All are invited to attend a get-together during Lightovation at the Dallas Market Center on Thursday, January 18, in the Loft 4 space in the Trade Mart from 5 to 6pm.