Follow-Up File: Stollmeyer’s is switching lighting mode

Name: Ken Stollmeyer

Job: Owner

Business: Stollmeyer Lighting What he said then:

In February 2010, a Central Coast Living article featured Stollmeyer’s Main Lighting in Morro Bay.

A third-generation lighting retailer, Ken Stollmeyer’s grandfather and father owned stores in Southern California. He bought his shop in 1996.

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

In fact, the family-owned shop was moving toward a design model. Sales of in-stock fixtures accounted for only 10 percent of their sales, Stollmeyer said.

He offers in-home consultation, then orders fixtures. The family also started an e-commerce business, maintained by sons Darik and Corey Stollmeyer.

What he says now:

Although sales are 60 percent to 65 percent off from four years ago, the rebranded Stollmeyer Lighting is expanding.

It opened a second location in San Luis Obispo this month at 2304 Broad St. It has limited hours and is mostly open by appointment.

“The guy was so willing to work with us, we couldn’t turn the deal down,” Stollmeyer said, without disclosing financial details. “We see signs of people wanting to redecorate homes, more now than a year or a year and-a-half ago.”

Ken and Hazie Stollmeyer had wanted a San Luis Obispo location for a few years, especially as other lighting showrooms closed. If it works, he said, they might open a third showroom in Paso Robles.

Unlike the the 10,000-square-foot retail showroom his father ran in West Covina, Stollmeyer Lighting has just 1,600 square feet in Morro Bay and 1,200 in San Luis.

Rather than packing them with merchandise that might not sell, Stollmeyer is creating models of typical home spaces to illustrate lighting options for customers to choose from. As other showrooms have closed, he’s collected their discounted merchandise to use.

A new website is also supporting the designer concept. Rather than lugging around catalogues from 150 manufacturers, Stollmeyer can log onto from a client’s home and search a database of in-stock options based on price, material, size and other criteria.

“It’s allowing us to be more professional,” he said. “I can send (choices) to their e-mail and wish list.”

Maintained by a company in Tennessee, the site makes phone consultation easier. It’s also helping the company win business from local architects and other designers.

Corey Stollmeyer still maintains, which offers products to buyers worldwide.

“It’s very labor intensive,” the father said.

The availability of lower-cost merchandise through Internet vendors has destroyed the traditional brick-and-mortar showroom model, but Stollmeyer is optimistic that local businesses can compete by using technology to support a service-based, “hands-on” approach.

“This is where the brick-and-mortar business will make it in our industry,” he said. “Allowing us to be lighting designers, as opposed to just selling product.”