Celebrating sucess in Orlando - LBU Lighting

Celebrating LBU success in Orlando, Chris Kampouris 20 years - Winter Park store manager & Sam Hereman - 10 years - Sand Lake Sales associate ~ Congratulations!

NAI Miami Negotiates $1.6 Million Miami Retail Lease

By: Written by ADMIN in Commercial Real Estate, Press Releases

NAI Miami Negotiates $1.6 Million Miami Retail Lease Written by ADMIN on 06.20.17 in Commercial Real Estate, Press Releases, Retail - No comments NAI Miami, a member of the world’s premier managed network of commercial real estate firms, announced that the team of Edward Schmidt, CCIM, and Timothy Merriman Jr. recently negotiated a seven-year, 5,664-square-foot retail lease for their client, Pinecrest Village Plaza, located at 12455 South Dixie Highway in Miami.

The lessee is LBU Lighting (Light Bulbs Unlimited), who are moving from their current location next door. This move will allow them to display their lighting in an open showroom floor. This lease is valued at over $1.6 million. The first Light Bulbs Unlimited store in Florida opened in Fort Lauderdale in 1987 and immediately became a bright point on the South Florida landscape. Today the Light Bulbs Unlimited Lighting Showroom Group consists of nine established locations across South Florida, Orlando, Naples and the Treasure Coast.

Pinecrest Village Plaza is a 32,000+/- square foot shopping center location off US 1 (Dixie Highway) between Dadeland and The Falls Mall in the heart of Pinecrest. There are three spaces available ranging from 1,430-1,801 square feet. Current tenants include T-Mobile, Subway, Sherwin-Williams, Papa Johns, Pincho Factory and OrthoNow.

Finding The Light

By: John Buchanan

For three decades, LBU Lighting had been South Florida's premier provider of an extensive collection of light bulbs and lighitng fixtures...

A Real Turn-on

By: John Buchanan

In today's high-tech world, a light bulb is no longer just a light bulb. In fact, Light Bulbs Unlimited stocks a staggering 10,000 types of bulbs and fixtures.

Last year, Light Bulbs Unlimited -
which operates eight specialty retail outlets in Florida, including stores in North Miami Beach, South Miami, Boca Raton, Palm-Beach and two in Orlando – celebrated its 25th anniversary.

"Over the past five years, manufacturers have been continually changing the kinds of light bulbs they put in their products like fixtures," says Jorge Fernandez, manager of the company's North Miami Beach store and a 10-year Light Bulbs Unlimited veteran.  " And not all big box stores or other retailers carry all of those kinds of specialty bulbs.  That's where we come in.  We're a place for all kinds of customers that have very unique needs.  We're the place where they know they can have their needs met and find exactly what they're looking for."

Precisely because lighting technology has become so varied and complex, the time-tested expertise of Light Bulbs Unlimited means even customers who don't know exactly what they need or only have partial information about a product can find what they're looking for.  "That is something we deal with on a daily basis," Fernandez says.  "Sometimes we don't even see a picture or get an accurate description or a product number for what a person needs.  But through a series of questions, because our salespeople are very well trained, our customers come to know they can depend on our expertise."

Among the 10,000 individual products the Deerfield Beach-based company stocks, the specialty tungsten and fluorescent bulbs used in lighting equipment for photography and film or video production rank high in popularity.  "Those kinds of bulbs are relatively rare in retail stores,"Fernandez says.   "And there are different kinds of codes that must be used to identify things like wattage or the spectrum of light that the bulbs put out.   We carry those kinds of products and know which ones are right for which applications."

Yet another example is LED lighting, one of the fastest-growing categories in the market.  "Not only has that market exploded over the last few years, but it will continue to explode," Fernandez says.  "Because of that, we've taken it upon ourselves to educate ourselves and to provide a wide variety of different kinds of LED lights.  We carry a much wider variety of LED bulbs than you can find anywhere else."  

Even more important than the company's impressive inventory, however, is its customer service.  "That is the number-one thing that sets us apart from our competition," Fernandez says proudly.  "Our stores are not 'big box' stores.  They're smaller in scale and that allows our customers to have a one-on-one experience with a well-trained salesperson who is an expert in the lighting business."

By the same token, Light Bulbs Unlimited strives to create a relaxing shopping experience in a peaceful environment.   "If people just want to come in and walk around and look at a lot of different kinds of lighting fixtures, they can feel very comfortable that they won't be pressured. And because of the range of products we carry and the expertise we have, they can also know that when they're ready to make a purchase, we have exactly what they're looking for. And you're not going to find that at a Home Depot or Walmart."

For more information, call 1.888.452.8662 or visit 1974 N.E. 163rd Street, N. Miami Beach, or

Phase out of standard light bulb causes confusion

By: Susan Salisbury
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Updated: 7:09 a.m.Monday, Dec. 19, 2011
Posted: 11:09 p.m.Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011

Pedro Villagran, manager of Light Bulbs Unlimited in West Palm Beach,holds an LED bulb (left) and a long-lasting compact fluorescent bulb. He reassures customers who are 'freaking out' about federal changes

The traditional 100-wattlight bulb is being phased out, and consumers are confused about what to buy as a replacement for the iconic household item.   Now there's more time to prepare for the change and more chance for confusion.  The ban on the conventional 100-watt bulb was supposed to start Jan. 1, but after congressional action late last week, it won't take effect until Sept. 30 .

That's because the last-minute deal to avert a government shutdown included a provision that prevents the Department of Energy from spending money to implement or enforce the new standards for light bulbs. The federal law passed in 2007 will prohibit the import or manufacture of the 100-watt incandescent bulb, which sells for about 60 cents. After Sept. 30, retailers can sell their inventory until it runs out. "Most people don't know what's going on," said Pedro Villagran, manager of Light Bulbs Unlimited in West Palm Beach. "I have people coming in who are freaking out. Some people think all bulbs will no longer be available." Many people think the only replacement for the conventional bulb is the twisty-style, more energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulb, or CFL, which sells for $3 or less. But that's not true, Villagran said. He recommends a 75-watt halogen incandescent bulb in the $4 to $6 range that is designed to last twice as long as a standard bulb. The phaseout is expected to continue in 2013 with the 75-watt bulb, and in 2014 the 60-watt and 40-watt traditional incandescents will be discontinued.

CFL Concerns

The U.S. Department ofEnergy predicts that the end of the standard incandescent will save consumers close to $6 billion a year on energy costs. Manufacturers are required to produce bulbs that are 30 percent more energy-efficient. There's some apparent hoarding by those who love the standard bulb and, in some cases, hate the "spiral". People who manage estates in Palm Beach have bought as many as 360 100-watt bulbs at a time recently, Villagran said. "The incandescent bulb is so familiar, they just don't want to give that up. They are afraid of the CFLs, due to mercury. It's a valid concern", Villagran said. CFLs contain smallamounts of highly toxic mercury and are supposed to be disposed of at a specific site, not just thrown into a garbage can. If a bulb breaks, special steps must be taken to clean it up, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are another pricier choice. They cost $20 to $70 a bulb and are rated for 25,000 to 50,000 hours. Manufacturers are introducing more alternatives. GE, for example, has come out with a domed CFL that resembles a traditional bulb's shape. "It helps consumers who are concerned about breakage," said Kyle Pitsor, vice president for government relations at the National Electrical Manufacturers Association in Rosslyn, Va.

Consumers Fretting

At the Home Depot inWest Palm Beach last week, shoppers paced in front of an array of light bulbs, trying to figure out which to buy. "I'm perplexed," said Tim Moore, a West Palm Beach retiree. "Do you buy the new type of bulbs or do you stick with the old ones?" Helene Lorentzen of Palm Beach picked up a pack of 60-watt incandescent bulbs and said she wasn't aware of the approaching changes. However, she said she already uses the "squigglies" and previously bought the domed type for her children's rooms. Patricia Dejean of WestPalm Beach reached quickly for a four-pack of CFLs. "I'm a student," she said. "I leave the lights on all night studying. This saves me a little bit, and I don't have to replace the bulbs as often." Her daughter Karen Dejean, 10, said she learned about CFLs in class at Westgate Elementary School.

"The CFLs last longer," Karen said. "They feel warm. The other kind are hot and sting your hands. They don't last long because the filament breaks." Such incandescent specialty bulbs as three-way bulbs, appliance bulbs, color bulbs and candelabra bulbs will still be available and are not included in the phase-out. That's because those bulbs account for a small percentage of sales, said Larry Lauck, vice president of communication for the American Lighting Association in Dallas. Consumers have more to consider than what type of bulb to buy. Some bulbs produce a brighter, whiter light than others, which produce a more yellowish light. "The good news is you will have a lot more choices," Lauck said. "The bad news is you have to really understand what you are trying to do with this light bulb. What is the application?"

'A Transition Period'

Although consumers are becoming more aware of the changes, Lauck said it's not surprising that there's confusion and that people are stocking up on the old standby bulbs. After all, the standard bulb has not changed much since Thomas Edison developed it in 1879. "A lot of people don't like change. They don't like being told what to do," Lauck said."In the next several years, everything will be LEDs anyway; This is atransition period." At Capitol Lighting in Lake Park, sales associate Andrew Mazor said he has reassured customers who are concerned about the coming end of the 100-watt incandescent that the 75-watt halogen is a good choice. "They are panicking in advance. There are replacements. The halogen is the same shape. It looks just like a regular household bulb that we are used to," Mazor said. "I tell them not to worry. If you want to buy hundreds of 100-watt bulbs, you can do so."


By: Bella Kelly Spetial
The Miami Herald

Shine on: Reynaldo Cobo, above, of Light Bulbs Unlimited in Pinecrest holds a 1,000-watt bulb that's used in commercial lighting. It costs $39.95. A flamingo light bulb, top left, sells for $7.95, while colorfull party bulbs, blow left, sell for $10.95.
If you haven't seen the light after visiting Ashley Hennings' store in Pinecrest, chances are you never will. At Light Bulbs Unlimited on South Dixie Highway and 124th Street, Hennings runs a light bulb emporium with thousands of bulbs of every conceivable shape, size, color, wattage and use. You want a tiny, needle-shaped bulb to replace the one burned out in your grandmother's antique table lamp? Hennings just might have it -or at least a reasonable facsimile.

You need a giant-sized 1,500-watt bulb to light your tennis court? Hennings has shelves full of them. And, if you happen to run the girlie show in the Stir Crazy lounge down the street and run out of the flickering lights that spin and turn on the dancers, Hennings has those, too, but he doesn't go to the lounge to deliver them personally.

A native of Cape Town, South Africa, Hennings has been running Light Bulbs Unlimited for 13 years and has turned it into a beacon in the light bulb market. All his employees have received specialized training through the American Lighting Association so they are familiar with the different aspects of lighting, bulbs and lighting equipment. The array of bulbs stocked in the store can cost anywhere from 99 cents for a flashlight bulb to $500 for a light for projector equipment. A two-pack of ''Chase-A-Bug'' yellow bulbs costs $2.49; the large tennis court bulbs, $59.95; fluorescent bulbs, $5.95; bulbs for medical equipment, from $25 to $50. There are bulbs for microscopes, linear fluorescent bulbs, bulbs for track lighting, bulbs for strobe lighting and specialized stage and studio equipment, halogen bulbs, flickering bulbs, ''Happy Eyes'' bulbs for reading lamps, bulbs to make plants grow, reflector bulbs, indoor and outdoor bulbs, multicolor party bulbs, everyday soft white and clear bulbs, three-way bulbs and Christmas bulbs.

There is a steady flow of customers, many holding a bulb they can show rather than try to describe.

Some 70 percent of the store's customers usually aren't sure of what will fit their lamp or equipment, Hennings said.

In addition to the myriad bulbs on hand, the store also turns to the Internet to fulfill unusual requests.

But if it turns out Light Bulbs Unlimited hasn't got the hard-to-find bulb, not to worry.

The store's motto: ``If We Ain't Got It, We'll Get It.''


By: Shelley Owens
Treasure Coast Business Journal

One of Mark Gersowsky's toughest jobs as manager of the new Light Bulbs Unlimited may be letting people know it's more than just light bulbs: it's a complete lighting showroom. The store carries Bruck, Eurofase, Access Lighting, Tech Lighting, ET2, W.A.C. and other popular brands. There is lighting for homes, landscapes, commercial buildings, even streets. As you might expect, the store can order what it doesn't have in stock, including hard-to-find bulbs and Lutron-brand dimmers, he said. "We don't have a Web site because we like that face-to-face meeting," Gersowsky added.

He thinks of the company as a service business that happens to sell lighting. On a recent night, he made a trip to get fixtures to a customer on time. A South Florida lighting vendor took the fixtures home from work and Gersowsky drove to the vendor's house in Pompano Beach to get them to his Treasure Coast customer by the next morning. Gersowsky said Light Bulbs Unlimited was started 25 years ago in Texas and the founder's son owns a store in Fort Lauderdale.

Gersowsky, who formerly owned a Light Bulbs Unlimited store in Coral Springs, opened the Port St. Lucie store about three months ago for a group of investors. "We have seven locations and this is the baby," he said. This baby is in the new Crown Plaza at 8635 U.S. Highway 1, north of Village Green Drive in Port St. Lucie.


Light Bulbs Unlimited
12451 S. Dixie Highway
Pinecrest 33156

Everyone knows the old joke:  How many (fill in the blank) does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Here's a new answer for you: None, if you take your lamp to Light Bulbs Unlimited.

Just ask the helpful employee behind the counter, and he or she will tell you exactly what it will take to lighten up your world.   Regular bulbs start as cheap as 34 cents; those craving a spotlight can purchase one for $6; and hydro heads can purchase grow lights for $6.75.   It's easy to be dazzled by the array of cool hanging fixtures and lamps.  A standing lamp with a row of round blue fixtures like six fish eyes will set you back $1995.  A whimsical fixture with a silver parachuting man affixed to a silver minispotlight costs $240.  A beautiful modern chandelier that resembles a shining spider web costs only $847.50.  Fluorescents and miniatures, fixtures and novelty lights, colored bulbs and neons - this place is positively glowing.
Stopping by is a bright idea.  You'll leave feeling positively illuminated.


By: Purva Patel
Business Writer

FIRE: Stan Civin started anew a few blocks from his original location after Light Bulbs Unlimited on Federal Highway in Boca Raton burned. "It was our baby that we had nurtured from nothing/' Civin said. Staff photo/Mark Randall
Stan Civin wasn't sure he wanted to start anew when he watched one of his stores burn on a Sunday afternoon last November.

"It was our baby that we had nurtured from nothing," said Civin, CEO of Light Bulbs Unlimited International, which includes nine stores.   "And now it was all gone."  The fire - the cause was never determined - destroyed all of the inventory inside the Light Bulbs Unlimited store in Boca Raton.  Civin says investigators are still trying to determine the estimated damages, but he wasn't able to salvage even a paper clip.   After a few hours of debating whether to reopen, Civin and his staff decided they couldn't let the store he had opened 12 years after arriving from South Africa disappear.  That night they moved operations to the company's headquarters in Pompano Beach and decided to keep the effect on customers minimal.  The store supplies bulbs for individuals and a wide range of businesses.
"We didn't want people to know there had been a disruption," Civin said.

The staff had all calls forwarded to their newly purchased cell phones, and an employee manned the entrance of the burned-out store for two months to direct customers to the Pompano Beach store or call orders in on his phone.  The company also offered free deliveries, even for only one 60-wattbulb.
"That really married a lot of customers to us," said Jon Gavronsky, the assistant manager.

They also bought a new car to make the deliveries, sending finances further into the red.  After moving to a new location a few blocks down the road in March, Civin says he's still struggling to climb into profitability.  He hopes that more house calls to help customers with their lighting and doubled advertising will help them succeed.  The new store is slowly rebuilding its inventory, interior construction is still going on in one corner, and Civin still receives checks and inquiries addressed to the old location.  But Civin says longstanding customers are returning, and he hopes that his practice of frequenting the businesses of current customers will help build strong relationships.
"We try to maintain reciprocal business," he said. "Everything we buy, we buy from a local business."


By: Laurie Fuller
Florida Magazine

Chances are you've put more thought into your holiday light display than you have into the lights you live with the other 11 months of the year.

Designers agree that lighting is crucial to the appearance and appeal of your home. The good news - updating your lighting is an inexpensive way to highlight your home's features, safety and beauty.

First let's look at the oldie-but-goodie: bulbs. You know the kind. For years they came in one color - white - and one shape- pear. If you were feeling a little adventurous you might have used the three-way type that offers low, medium and really bright light.

These are the workhorses of the bulb world - incandescent bulbs - and professionals say they're still the best for providing a soft, pleasing light next to the couch or bed. They come in a variety of wattages and are available in energy-saving models. Manufacturers have even started offering a few color options. Pink is particularly nice for setting a dreamy, romantic mood in the bedroom.

Incandescent bulbs, though, have a few drawbacks: They get very hot, their light isn't easy to focus and they aren't the most energy efficient option. So this is where the fun begins. Lights, camera, action!

Of the 3,000 products in Avron Satill's Winter Park store, Light Bulbs Unlimited, two are shining bright with customers. The first is the full-spectrum fluorescent light bulb, which is color-corrected to make objects look healthy and enhance their true colors, said Satill.

These bulbs work well in a room where people want to see accurate hues, such as in the bathroom or over a vanity table where women apply makeup.

"I'm slightly color blind so I use them in my closet to see my clothes better," said Satill.

The full-spectrum bulbs are available in a variety of sizes and shapes; they look like a regular light bulb and are compatible with incandescent bulb sockets.

Ultra-longlife bulbs are the other hot item in Satill's store. They're popular in homes with vaulted ceilings and for outdoor fixtures that are nearly impossible to reach -anywhere you have a bulb that is out of step-stool range, said Satill. Ultra-longlife bulbs last about 15 times as long as conventional bulbs -20,000 hours compared with about 1,200 hours.

Halogen bulbs are a relative newcomer on the lighting front. They provide a very clean, bright light that can be dimmed, and they last up to three times longer than ordinary bulbs. Like the full-spectrum bulbs they come in a variety of wattages and fit standard fixtures.

Halogen bulbs are good as task lights for close work - over the kitchen sink or sewing table. Lighting manufacturer Sylvania suggests on its Web site that you use halogen bulbs in the home office to give the room a bright, spacious appearance. Halogen lights also come in crystal-faceted designs for adding sparkle to the china on your dining room table or setting a warm, welcoming mood in the entry.

Fluorescent lights have evolved from the long tubes that buzz overhead in offices and stores. They are energy efficient - using 70 percent less energy than ordinary bulbs and provide shadowless light. GE says compact flourescents work well in a variety of locations - in a torchiere lamp in your home office or in the pendant lamp hanging over the breakfast table. Fluorescent fixtures also are easy to install under kitchen cabinets to enlarge coun­ter work space ad high­light a typically dark area. But don't turn off the lights just yet - there is more news in bulb world.
  • You can get specialty lights for artwork, such as bulbs that have UV blocks to preserve oil paintings.
  • General Electric produces shatter-resistant Teflon-coated incandescent bulbs which would be good for added safety in table lamps used in children's rooms.
  • Bug lights, not to be confused with the bug "zappers," are designed to deter bugs by giving off a light that does not attract them. So they're a good choice for outside fixtures on porches and decks.
  • Silicone-coated bulbs are more durable and help prevent breakage. They are suited for garages and attics.
And if you still have some holiday shopping to do, give the gift of light. Decorative neon and night lights are popular gift items at Light Bulbs Unlimited.

"The newest item we have is a range of illuminated trees and towers glass blocks with water - almost an advance on the old type of lava lamp," said Satill. "They're very soothing to look at. There's nothing like flowing water to soothe the nerves."

Soft lights and flowing water - a perfect antidote to the holiday frazzles.


By: Deborah Balshem
Pinecrest Tribune
From a 10,000-watt stadium light to the smallest key chain bulb, Light Bulbs Unlimited has got it.

"And if we ain't got it, well get it," said owner Ashley Hennings, reciting the motto of LBUs around the country. "We specialize in hard to find bulbs."

Looking for something to liven up a party? Try something from their stage and studio collection: a few strobe lights, one or two lava lamps, a fog machine (great for Halloween parties) or possibly even a bubble machine which continuously spews out hundreds of bubbles. A "black light" bulb will bring out white colors and make everything glow.

Delving deeper into their "disco room," where it is dark and music is playing so the equipment can be tried out in the proper atmosphere, you'll also find fiber optic lights and other "wacky and funky stuff for kids and adults,"

And for the kids who always complain about how boring their rooms are, a simple red, blue or pink bulb can change the atmosphere instantly. Add a traffic light, a police beacon light and a few neon signs or sculptures, and they may never leave their rooms again.

Light Bulls Unlimited, located at 12451 S. Dixie Hwy., carries a wide range of fixtures and lifting techniques, including recessed, cable, sconce, vanity, track, indirect and hanging fixtures.

"Whether your objective is practical lighting of an elegant stairway or enhancing the ambiance of your kitchen, quality lighting combined with thoughtful aesthetic strategy, can make an otherwise dark and dreary environment t come to life/' Hennings said."For example, recessed lighting is subtle, yet dramatic, when done properly. Sconce fixtures provide the* perfect blend of elegance and utility for both indoor arid outdoor lighting- Track lighting helps give depth to a room,"

Whatever your needs are, LBU has professional lighting planners who can help make your rooms more functional, exciting and attractive.

According to; Hennings, landscape lightening designed to accentuate the beauty of a house, building or garden, can be achieved through accent lighting, path lights and inconspicuous well lights. Step lights provide safety.

Other suggestions include installing full spectrum lights in rooms where a lot of reading or work takes place. More like natural sunlight, the spec­trum lights have a more pleasing quality and produce less eye strain. For the kitchen and bathroom, he suggests warm colored lights. In the living room, certain halogen accents can bring out the colors and quality of paintings more than a regular incandescent bulbs.

Light Bulbs Unlimited also can equip stadiums, greenhouses, warehouses and other large facilities. They supply bulbs to Sears, Burdines and the AMC theaters. Other accounts include restaurants, marinas, nightclubs, carnivals, hospitals and prisons. They even ship overseas and do lamp repairs.

"To get the most from your indoor and outdoor lighting, we offer a complete line of control systems, from the simplest on/off switch to the most elaborate of computer station lighting control systems," Hennings said.

LBU also carries bulbs for plants and aquariums, car interiors, doctor and dentist equipment, cameras and numerous other speciality items. They even have mini-lights for toy trains and flashlights.

"Service is the key. My employees have worked here for years and really know what they're talking about," Hennings said. 'We can help you create whatever mood you desire."

Store hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The store is closed Sundays. For more information, call 305-235-BULB (2852).


By: Liz Langley
Orlando Weekly

In addition to the lights he stocks, Avron Satill will try to track down the bulb that should've come with that antique-store treasure you just bought.
You're living your life in the dark. You just can't see your way clear anymore. Avron Satill can help.

The South African emigre made his way to America a mere 10 months ago, and within four months of moving here had opened his own business, Light Bulbs Unlimited, in Winter Park's New York Arcade.

A long-ago "Saturday Night Live" skit about a store that sold nothing but Scotch tape parodied this kind of specialty shop - after all, nothing but light bulbs? How could they stay in business? But business is very good; thank you, no need to advertise. "Look at this place," Satill says, "It's like a beacon in the night."

Light Bulbs Unlimited is adorned with loads of neon, speciality fixtures and groovy lumi-nations for the most discerning to the most college-dorm tastes. To explore the latter, check out the sample disco room with box strobes, fiber stars, multi-colored rope lights and, best of all, the stuff no '70s kid's bedroom would have been complete without: black lights and those ultra-fab velvet black-light posters of Jim Morrison, a black panther and the Green Giant getting stoned with his elfin pals. (The posters are for sale, too).

The stock neon available through the store is largely of the type that makes sure everyone knows you live in Florida, like pink flamingos and potted palms. But Light Bulbs Unlimited also subcontracts custom neon work.

And Satill offers free home or office lighting consultations. That includes advice on the best use of available light to enhance what you already have. After all, what's the point of having a great art collection if no one can see it?

Light Bulbs Unlimited has light bulbs that will last up to 8 years, Chromalux plant lights that approximate sunlight for better care of your indoor foliage, blue police lights to amuse you and alarm your neighbors, and Basking Lights.

The stem was green and the flower was red - the filament was actually a rose," Logan says, adding that while the bulbs are still around, they are no longer made. "They lasted 20 years. That's probably why (the manufacturer) went out of business.


By: Christine Shenot
Sentinel staff

New store in Winter Park sheds light on bulb needs
There was a doctor who needed a light bulb for one of those gizmos they use to look inside people's ears; and a woman who wanted a neon sculpture shaped like an elephant, a special gift for her boyfriend.

Then there was the couple who wandered in after lunch, amazed and amused by a store that sells nothing but light bulbs.They ended up spending $37.

Those were some of the first customers of Light Bulbs Unlimited, an offbeat store that opened on Fairbanks Avenue in downtown Winter Park this month. The shop carries about 2,000 light bulbs, from the sculpted neon tubing to colored floodlights and energy-saving bulbs that go by the brand name of, what else, Earth Light.

Avron Satill, manager and part-owner, says he will special-order anything he doesn't have in stock.

"The interesting thing about this business is we meet a need," he said.

That need, unlikely as it may sound, has been established by the success of 19 other Light Bulbs Unlimited stores that have opened nationwide in the past decade, including five in Florida.

Ron Fabian, a partner in all of the Florida stores, estimates those stores will sell $2.5 million worth of light bulbs this year. At established stores, he said, sales average about $600,000 a year.

The business started as a single store in Houston and expanded to other cities in Texas and Southern California. Fabian, a friend of the founder, opened the first Florida store in 1986 and then bought the rights to other markets outside Texas and the West Coast. He has expanded the chain through limited partnerships.

Satill, his partner in Central Florida, expects to open additional stores in the area, possibly as early as next year.

Among Fabian's biggest customers at his stores in South Florida are boat owners who need special lights for navigation and other uses. He also has a customer who needs unusual light bulbs for his business - he's an ostrich breeder - that he can't find elsewhere.

In Central Florida, another young company already has built a sizable business in the light bulb trade since it opened in 1990. All States Lighting Inc., on Silver Star Road in Orlando, serves mostly commercial customers, such as restaurants, retailers and medical centers.

"We have 6,000 square feet of nothing but light bulbs," said Tom Griffin, a vice president and general manager at the store. All States' sales are expected to approach $3 million this year, he said.

All States' track record with commercial users could limit that line of business for Light Bulbs Unlimited. And one has to wonder if anybody could sell enough light bulbs to carry the costs of running a store in what Satill admits is a high-rent neighborhood.

On the flip side, Satill says the store, at New York Avenue and Fairbanks, is very visible and has lured some of the more curious passers-by.

Having the right real estate at the right price is critical for specialty retailers who go after such narrow niches, said Cynthia Cohen Turk, president of Marketplace 2000, a retail consulting company in Coral Gables.

But Turk said the light bulb idea could work. These are products people buy regardless of the season or how the economy is doing, she said.

The trick, she said, is to establish a reputation for the kind of service and expertise people want when they have a particular need.

"Specialization has proven to be a very viable concept," she said. "Consumers today want more information; they want wider selection. It's a question of figuring out the niche and creating the right formula."


Herald Staff Writer

ENLIGHTENED FELLOWS: Derek Hude and Ron Fabian, owners of Light Bulbs Unlimited, say people are delighted to know where to buy light bulbs.
You know the song You Light Up My Life! Derek Hude has about 5,000 ways. "I'm sure there are 20,000 more we haven't discovered yet," said Hude, co-owner of Light Bulbs Unlimited in North Miami Beach.

The store carries all kinds of lighting accessories and gadgets, but its primary business is bulbs, lots of different kinds of bulbs.

"We offer a service to people who have great difficulty in finding bulbs," Hude said. "Any bulb that is manufactured basically in the world, we have access to."

"If we cannot find it in Florida, we'll get it in another state. If we cannot find it in America, we'll get it from Europe," Hude said.

"If it's still made, we will get it for them." Hude and his partner, Ron Fabian, opened the franchise outlet nine months ago. There is another store in Fort Lauderdale. The owners are considering ones in South Miami and Kendall.

Between 25 to 30 customers come in to buy bulbs every day. Some walk in with lamps they bought in other countries. Others come in to find colorful lighting that can be used to spruce up a party, restaurant or club.

"We market this business professionally. We take it very seriously. There are a lot of frustrated people out there who walk around with bulbs they can't replace for months," Hude said.

The store also carries grow bulbs, used to grow plants indoors; commercial lighting used in parking lots; and high-pressure sodium bulbs used in stadiums. It has track lighting, custom-made neon and colorful flourescent rope lighting like the kind seen in restaurants and night clubs.

Lights range in price from 49 cents for a household bulb to $450 For a bulb used on European graphic laser printers.

"They opened up this store and, hell, the name says it all," said customer Michael Vinci, who is in charge of lighting and special effects at Facade, a night club and restaurant in North Miami Beach. "I think it's great.

Vinci, who uses theatrical lighting and aircraft landing lights at Facade, said he spends about $1,000 a month on bulbs. He has been a regular customer since he discovered the store six months ago, he said, because it is convenient and prices are fair.Hude said business has been good.

"It's a great service," he said. "People are thrilled that they can actually find a light bulb."


The hottest trend in light bulbs continues in the opening of its second store. Until recently, choices were extremely limited.
One company that has met with phenomenal success in carving a niche in light bulbs, evidenced by the growing number
of shops being opened in the United States, is Light Bulbs Unlimited located at 1938 N.E. 163rd Street, the Houston based
national franchisor whose positioning line is "If We Ain't Got It, We'll Get It".

Each new Light Bulbs Unlimited location is selected on the basis of extensive market research and demographic analysis.  
"We've been studying the North Miami Beach market carefully and our results show that there is a definite demand for a consistently
high quality light bulb outlet" said Ron Fabian, President of Light Bulbs Unlimited, South Florida.

Let's find out a little about this unusual business...With the recent introduction of many new light sources, such as metal halide,
tungsten halogen, low voltage lamps, neon's and the development of long-life and energy saving products, the industry's ability to cope with
public demand has been severely strained and largely inadequate. Large manufacturers like G.E., Sylvania and Westinghouse spend
millions promoting their name, products and image. They sell their bulbs in huge quantities to bulk buyers in the wholesale industry,
but out of the thousands of dif­ferent types of bulbs they produce, only a fraction are available at the retail level. "The Houston headquarters
has such large buying power it can pass savings to its franchisees, who in turn pass savings on to its customers", noted Mr. Fabian.

Never before has a comprehensive range of basic and specialized light sources been marketed professionally to the public...
Now there is Light Bulbs Unlimited!

No longer will you have to search the length and breadth of Dade and Broward for a hard to replace bulb, just drop on by...
The North Miami Beach shop marks the first Dade location and the second Light Bulbs Unlimited Florida location.