story by Ryan Saylor
Van Buren-based Arkansas Lamp has launched a new product line and a new company name to signify the growth the company is experiencing. President Jeff Null of Arkansas Lamp said the company would be changing its name before the end of the week to Arkansas Lighting to coincide with the launch of the company's new line of LED fixtures which include ceiling lamps and wall sconces.
"Instead of being Arkansas Lamp, it's going to be Arkansas Lighting," Null said. "When most people think lamp, they think table or floor lamp. But we're more than that, so we're trying to broaden the perception of what we do."
Null said the new line includes more than the lamps the company started with in 1972 and allows what will now be called Arkansas Lighting to seize an opportunity in the marketplace. The company has about 60 employees.
"We have seen an opening in the market for decorative LED wall or ceiling sconces, and not just in our core (hospitality) business, but others like multi-family (housing) or medical. We think this is a perfect niche for that. It enhances our existing market and gives us new ones."
He said residential and business customers are looking for "energy efficient, no maintenance, excellent light quality" products and moving into the LED market would be good for both consumers and the Van Buren manufacturer, what Null said was "a win all the way around."
Null acknowledged that consumers in the past have complained about newer types of bulbs having a blue-ish tint or not becoming bright quickly enough, "but LED doesn't have that problem," with Vice President Greg Null discussing the benefits of LED.
"These highly efficient fixtures consume about 80% less energy than their incandescent equivalents and about 40% less than fluorescent fixtures. Plus they last many multiple times longer so that owners don't have to spend maintenance time and effort on replacing burned out bulbs."
As for whether the company was changing directions with the introduction of the new product line and the name change, Null said the company is just taking opportunities that present themselves.
"It's not that we're changing directions, we're trying to expand the opportunity. These (fixtures) are fully usable in a hospitality setting and we expect to sell a lot of them, but it's good (to have a product available) for other segments we've not been in before. So we hope to broaden our market."
The new product line was launched at the HD Expo in Las Vegas May 14, with another showing at the LightFair on June 3 and since that time, Null said the company had sold "several thousand" fixtures to companies in the multi-family residential industry though he declined to provide specific sales figures.
He said many locals will not see a huge difference with regard to the launch of the new product line other than the change in name and logo for the time being, but that could change as the LED fixtures become a larger and larger part of Arkansas Lighting's core business.
"If that continues, we'll add permanent people to the (LED fixture assembly) line. Right now, we can handle it with the people we've got."
But even a small bump in sales could push the company to expand either its assembly line or warehouse space or possibly both in addition to the company's already announced expansion earlier this year.
"We think all of those things will happen. We've done some limited expansion of one of our assembly lines. We're still at the scaling point to operate more or less like we've always done. But it won't take much more growth before we start looking at more assembly lines or more warehouse space, but we're not there yet."