Home & Garden

Seeing the light at Stollmeyer's Main Lighting in Morro Bay

The Stollmeyers, from left: Ken, Hazie, Darik and Corey.
The Stollmeyers, from left: Ken, Hazie, Darik and Corey.

When people visit our homes, we hope they’ll be dazzled by our good taste — and not blinded by our lighting.

This is a common issue that Ken Stollmeyer addresses in his role as lighting consultant at Stollmeyer’s Main Lighting, a Morro Bay shop that he owns with wife Hazie.

Ken is a third-generation lighting retailer. His grandfather began Stollmeyer’s

Lighting in Los Angeles in 1926, the year he emigrated from Holland. Ken’s father took the baton in 1966 when he opened Stollmeyer’s Lighting in West Covina.

Ken grew up working for his father, but decided to take a slight detour when he became a representative for a lighting manufacturer. In 1996, on a sales call to Main Lighting in Morro Bay, he learned the owners were hoping to retire. Ken jumped at the chance to move his family out of Southern California and to the Central Coast. He took over the shop that same year.

Stollmeyer’s Main Lighting offers interior and exterior lighting including fluorescent, LED and solar lighting. But to Ken, his lighting consultation services are just as important as any product they sell.

“It’s more than buying a light fixture then walking out the door,” he said. “We like to educate people on creating good lighting design.”

For instance, many people come in looking for an overhead fixture bright enough to illuminate an entire room.

“That’s a very common mistake,” he noted, “It makes the room a harsh environment to be in.”

Instead, he advocates using multiple, subtle sources of light. In a living room, for example, he might suggest installing wall sconces for ambient light. Spotlights or track lighting could highlight art or perhaps a houseplant. Task lighting is then set up for areas used for reading, doing homework or playing games.

In a bathroom, strong overhead lights can cause shadows on the face, making it difficult to shave or apply makeup. Ken recommends installing lights on either side of the mirror to eliminate shadows.

The dining room is another potential problem area — a space where ambience is important. A common mistake, says Ken, is to install a lovely chandelier, then outfit it with bright bulbs. He will often use lower-wattage bulbs in the chandelier, then install spotlights above it to gently illuminate both the chandelier and the table.

“It reflects off the crystal and makes it really sparkle,” he said.

Although Ken and Hazie keep a variety of styles on their showroom floor, sales of in-stock fixtures account for only 10 percent of their sales. Instead, customers browse for inspiration, then special-order pieces in colors and sizes that fit their space.

Ken offers 300 product lines, which can be overwhelming. So he often offers in-home consultations, the cost of which is partially if not completely offset if you make a purchase. The company does not handle installation, but can recommend a qualified electrician.

In addition to its bricks-and- mortar store, Stollmeyer’s Main Lighting has an e-commerce business through www.lightinglamps101.com,which is run by Eric and Hazie’s son Darik. He and brother Corey, who also works at the shop, are the fourth generation of Stollmeyers to make lighting their life’s work.

Stollmeyer’s Main Lighting is at 3310 Main St. in Morro Bay.