Out of the 486 attendees at this year’s American Lighting Association (ALA) annual gathering, held at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla. Sept. 11-13, there were 105 first-timers (22%), according to the ALA’s statistics. Thirty lighting showrooms were able to experience the conference, courtesy of being sponsored by ALA manufacturer members. So far in 2011, the ALA has added 70 new members and estimates it will reach 125 new members in 2012.
One of the most frequently cited reasons for joining ALA among attendees polled by enLIGHTenment magazine was the opportunity to stay abreast of upcoming light bulb legislation impacting their businesses starting in January 2012, when the 100-watt incandescent will be phased out. With additional regulations going into effect soon, lighting showroom owners want to be able to provide consumers with the most accurate and up-to-date information that will aid in their buying decisions. According to ALA’s CEO Dick Upton, the U.S. and Canadian governments will continue to regulate many key areas of lighting ranging from bulbs, ballasts, fixtures, portables, and ceiling fans.
Pedro Villagran of Light Bulbs Unlimited in West Palm Beach said he came to the ALA Conference because of the topics on the roster. In particular, he was looking forward to seminars centered around marketing techniques, how to utilize social media, and how to update the showroom to maximize sales.
“It’s my first time at the ALA Conference,” admitted Tammy McArthur of Seattle Lighting. “It’s been a great experience to meet people from all across the country who work in the lighting industry,” she explained.
Referencing the rough economic road that the lighting industry has endured after the housing bubble burst and the resulting recession, Tony Davidson, president & CEO of Kichler and chair-elect of ALA, predicted, “I think the industry will come back and normalize. It won’t be what it once was, but it probably won’t be like it is today. We have to continue to be students of how we approach our business. The ALA has a strong business program in store for 2012. We are offering the right topics to help members be ready for the opportunities ahead,” he stated.