On a rainy West Coast winter day, walking into The Lite Shop offers a bright escape from the dreary scene outside.
You open the door and your eyes can’t help but be drawn to the crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. And then there are the walls filled with a wide variety of lighting fixtures – for indoors and outdoors – and the displays of table lamps around the store.
All these lights give the store a warm and inviting feel, and that’s one of the many reasons manager Rhea Parker has enjoyed working here for the past nine years.
Randy and Heather Beaulieu opened The Lite Shop in downtown Campbell River in 2007. The store moved to its present location at 582 South Dogwood St. four years ago, and last January, the Beaulieus sold the store to Will and Daisy Qin.
Parker has been with the shop since the very beginning.
When Parker first started looking at The Lite Shop, she actually had no idea about lighting at all.
“I was taking the business program at North Island College, and a fellow that my husband worked with at Windsor knew Mike and Janice from Sears and Kennys Lighting, and they were looking for somebody to fill in for one of their employees, so he called me up and said ‘do you want to do this?’ I said ‘OK, I’ll try that.’ That was 10 years ago,” she said. “They closed the store down and Randy and Heather approached me when I was working at Sears and asked if I would be interested in starting another store. It was very nice for sure [to be there at the very beginning.] It means quite a bit more to you when you get it going from the ground up.”
Parker says it is the customers who have kept her loving her job.
“I like helping people design their homes and figure out their little lighting problems,” she said. “There’s always something new and interesting to do. You meet all types of people in here – people building houses, renovating houses, little old ladies with lamps that they can’t figure out how to change a lightbulb. Right now, we just had the fellow from the 14-house development on Alder come in and do a house order.”
Parker likes having a part in people’s houses and helping them decide what kind of lighting to use.
“It’s interesting,” she said. “You see some really great house designs and some really great designs.”
Parker, who is one of two employees at the store along with Mark Savesen, says that over the years she’s been working at The Lite Shop, probably one of the biggest changes has been the shift to the new LED technology.
“It’s always changing,” she said. “That’s one of the things that I like about the job, that it’s always changing. Styles change; lighting changes. Nothing’s ever the same for very long.”
The most common question Parker gets is “is there an LED replacement for this?” or “Do they make this in LED yet?”
When it comes to deciding what kind of lighting to keep in the store, Parker says she looks at what she would like in her own home and she listens very closely to what people tell her they are looking for, and she uses those ideas.”
So far, for 2016, she sees that the trend for lighting style is rustic, Edison bulbs, farm lighting, exposed bulbs and dark metals. Concrete fixtures have also become very popular.
Parker’s most highly-recommended lighting would be under-cabinet lighting.
“If you don’t have it, you need it in your life – especially if you have an older kitchen,” she said.
Over the years, Parkers has learned how important lighting is and she tries to emphasize how much it matters when it comes to trying to sell your home.
“If it looks like you don’t care, people won’t care either,” she said. “Everybody underestimates how powerful good lighting is. We get that a lot with new construction too; people will say ‘just put in the cheapest thing you can find.’ They’ll blow their budget on flooring and their countertops and then they’ll be like ‘oh, it’s just lighting.’ They come back later and say ‘oh, what was I thinking?’ People build these beautiful homes, these high-end homes, and then they’ll just put in the cheapest fixtures they can find. Why would you do that?”
The Lite Shop sells a wide selection of indoor lighting and outdoor lighting. Parker says one of the most popular things they sell is the HappyLight from Verilux. Parker says they do a lot of contractor house orders and special orders, but it’s probably their customer service and knowledge that sets them apart.
“We help people making decisions and figuring out what will work and won’t work, and I love giving people ideas,” said Parker. “They’re always asking for ideas. There’s a lot of people renovating very interestingly-built houses.”
For more about The Lite Shop, visit liteshop.ca or call 250-287-9905.