FOLLOW-UP: Daylight Home makes right move in San Luis Obispo

Name: John Billings

Job: Owner

Business: Daylight Home, Lighting and Patio

What he said then: In March 2010, The Tribune reported that Daylight Home, Lighting and Patio was moving to the former Cuesta Cadillac building in the 1700 block of Monterey Street.

“It’s a dream location for me,” said John Billings, who owns the store with wife Susanna Billings. “Four times the outside area and one central building rather than three buildings — and it has great visibility.”

Daylight converted its previous location, at 1234 Monterey St., into clearance and consignment. Part is used as a warehouse.

“We’re growing in size,” Billings said. “We’d like to get where we were in 2007, when revenues were up 11 percent.”

In the two years following, sales declined.

What he says now: The expansive outdoor area and 25-percent larger showroom are yielding more sales for the 38-year-old business.

“Our sales are up a healthy double-digit amount,” Billings said. “The increased overhead has been more than paid for by the gross dollars increase.”

The store has seen about 5 percent more sales compared to 2010, he said, plus shoppers are spending more.

Customers have been investing in larger-ticket items, such as a two-seat, leather automatic recliner. At $3,895, that model has outsold the other 14 recliners the store carries by manufacturer IMG.

December is an exception: Shoppers tend toward smaller gift items such as hammocks, chairs or wind chimes. The store donates 10 percent of the month’s sales to local charities.

With “new offerings” planned for the spring, Billings hinted the store could add staff. It now has 10 full-time workers.

The exact mix of products will be determined in January’s trade show rounds, but Daylight has plans for more outdoor wicker and new infrared gas barbecues.

It will also launch Daylight Design Collection, including custom orders for indoor and outdoor furniture.

Billings hadn’t expected so much wind exposure at the new location, but Shoreline Awnings built a wind wall that offers protection. Now Daylight offers Shoreline’s awnings, patio enclosures and sun rooms.

“We were (also) surprised when the city spent three months last spring replacing the sidewalks and its impact on sales,” he added, “but it sure looks nice now that they are done.”

Daylight’s renovations were funded with a U.S. Small Business Administration loan from Mission Community Bank.

“We are very happy to have made the move,” Billings said. “As far as the timing of the move goes, the space would not have been available in a better economy so it was now or never.”

Raven J. Railey