Big Sandy’s Superstore: Big Change

Big Sandy Superstore in Ashland, Kentucky

When executives at the family-run Big Sandy furniture store chain wanted to reduce energy costs, a store-wide  retrofit of LED lighting fixtures was just the beginning of the benefits. In addition to saving energy, the LED light sources were specified in a color temperature that provides a “warmer” ambiance for consumers to shop in while also enabling them to see upholstery colors and textures in a truer light. 

Big Sandy Residential Lighting


Fresh out of the Air Force in 1953, Robert Van Hoose, Sr., borrowed $1,000 from his wife, Lorna, and opened up the Big Sandy Superstore in Ashland, Kentucky. Van Hoose adapted the Golden Rule (treat others as you would like to be treated) as his motto for doing business and has credited his faith in God for the company’s success.

From the beginning, Van Hoose targeted the middle of the market, striving to offer the best value for his customers. Over time, the company opened additional stores in Kentucky as well as West Virginia and Ohio and counts multiple generation of family members among its 600 employees.

 This privately owned, family-run business has evolved along with the furniture industry and is ranked among the nation’s top 100 furniture retailers. The company has a Web site for its customers’ convenience, and recently decided to undergo a lighting retrofit in four of its showrooms to improve the color rendition of the furnishings while saving energy and reducing its carbon footprint. 

Big Sandy Superstores replaced approximately 700 lamps in all and reduced its energy consumption per lamp by more than 75 percent. Working with distributor King Companies, Big Sandy selected the latest LED retrofit lighting technology from Light Efficient Design (a division of TADD, LLC) for the project. The supplier provided a custom color temperature that provided a warmer, residential feel for the retail environment. Light Efficient Design offers niche products such as LED high bays, post tops and wall packs as well as PAR, MR ,and T8 lamps and retrofits.

“LED lighting is the solution to getting both energy savings and a better color rendition in our large showrooms,” says Mike Miller, Director/Maintenance for Big Sandy Superstores. In addition, Light Efficient Design’s LED-8026 is multi-voltage, which made the retrofit even easier. “We have different power sources at each store and the LED-8026 could accommodate each of those,” explains Trey Van Hoose (grandson of Robert Van Hoose, Sr.), President of Big Sandy Superstores. “From a labor standpoint, it was quicker and simpler.”

Van Hoose adds that the project qualified for rebates from American Electric Power, which helped defray the costs of the lamps, creating even more cost savings.  Pleased with the aesthetic and energy-saving results of the LED retrofit, the executives at Big Sandy Superstores plan to install LED lamps in a new store opening soon in Lancaster, Ohio. “We’re proud to be leading the way in giving our customers the best possible, energy-conscious shopping experience,” Van Hoose states.

The family business carries on the tradition of the Golden Rule by supporting local charities and youth sports throughout the communities it serves. In 2013, the furniture store chain launched the “Big Sandy Cares” program, which donates 3 percent of the purchase price to charitable organizations when a customer is referred to Big Sandy.

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