Meletio Sheds Light On Indoor, Outdoor Fixtures

DALLAS— Meletio Electric, one of Dallas’ largest lighting showroom retailers, has built its business over the past 70 years, not only as a broad-based supplier of some 13,000 lighting items to consumers and contractors, but also as an educator of how different lighting works in different situations. Focusing primarily on recognizable brands, which general manager Henry Scott says can be important “to offset any apologies or excuses,” the 67,000 square-foot store and warehouse carries a mix of indoor and outdoor fixtures, components, ceiling lights, fans and floor and desk lights. The store has also begun to carry some coordinating groupings of products, such as tables, lamps, ceiling fans and mirrors from suppliers such as Kichler to build incremental interior sales, but the selection is limited based on the company’s dedication to a broad assortment of lighting. “We’ve seen some suppliers doing it, offering some accessories, but we are not into it as much as a furniture store might be,” Scott said. “We offer some tables, lamps and mirrors, but our lighting assortment is so extensive, there just isn’t room.” The store does showcase a broad variety of table lamps and floor lamps, with dedicated displays such as its Dale Tiffany vignette, and other “clouds” of similar product grouped together. Meletio focuses on indoor and outdoor decorative lighting, specialty lighting, fixtures, ceiling lights and fans, built-in and recessed lighting. It is one of Hunter Fan’s original customers, with a still strong relationship dating back to the 1920s. “Some smaller lighting companies might deal with a dozen lighting suppliers,” Scott said. “We deal with hundreds. If we don’t have it, we can special order it, or go to the World Trade Center (lighting supplier showrooms in Dallas) and get it.” A large portion of its business is also working with the home builders, designers and renovators and homeowners. While accent lighting and fixtures are an integral part of a lighting project, because these pieces offer a decorative element, Scott said that recessed lighting has been one of the fastest growing segments of the lighting market. “It is not unusual for a tract house to have half a dozen recessed lights; but a new home may have a hundred,” Scott said. The trend does eliminate the need for certain floor, fixture and accent lighting around a home. Scott said that the opportunity in decorative lighting is still strong because people “combine recessed lighting with other lighting.” “We deal mostly with a more affluent customer or designers who may have a lighting budget, and we can offer them everything in lighting for a new home construction or renovation,” Scott said. “There is general lighting, adjustable lighting, task lighting; we can help them to find what they need, and sometimes they find they want to go over their budget because there is so much they didn’t know is available.” Outdoor, landscape lighting is another fast-growing lighting category, he said. This is based on several converging trends, including the interest in home security; and the consumer interest in gardening and landscaping and the need to accent and highlight outdoor vignettes. Meletio, again, takes the lead in demonstrating to consumers the different effects they can achieve with outdoor landscape lighting. In fact, the category is so important to the company, it constructed an indoor dark room, complete with artificial trees, landscaping, fences and borders and outdoor accent lights. Salespeople can use the room to demonstrate how the outdoor lights will look at night. Educating the customer is a key part of Meletio’s success, Scott said. Scott has been with the company 25 years, and said that new employees are required to work in all areas of the store and warehouse to learn how it works. Constant training and product education videos are also provided. The store also has its own lighting “lab” used to demonstrate the different effects that can be achieved with indoor lighting. Included in the room is a wall of eight “light boxes.” The light boxes, which contain different color fluorescent lights, can all be turned on at once to show the different effects the tones can have. “We can show the different color spectrum; a jeweler might want a cooler light to show off gem luster; while a clothing store, or someplace with wood floors or a library, might want warmer or neutral light,” Scott said. The room also has ceiling lights and spotlights, along with a dining table and paintings on the wall, so that salespeople can demonstrate how lights can be positioned to highlight what they want to in their homes. It shows how halogen can give immediate, bright warm light to an object. In addition to its homeowner and designer/contractor business, Meletio also acts as a source for a range of lighting products to retailers, hotels, restaurants, parking lot security and office landscapers. “We do our own packing, we ship UPS, freight, or use our own local trucks,” Scott said. “We carry products from all of the suppliers so that a customer can get everything, even the wire, the circuit breakers, all in one place.” He said that this has been the basis for much of the company’s success. “Some company’s make a living just on portable lighting but that is not only where we go,” Scott said. “We work with complicated jobs, with blueprints and with special orders.” Meletio was established in 1920 by Alex Meletio, Sr. and is still family operated by John Meletio, his grandson.