Capitol Lighting Launches Vanilla Ice Lighting at New Store Opening
Nearly 25 years ago, rapper Robert Van Winkle, known by the stage name “Vanilla Ice,” released his first album with the chart-topping hit “Ice, Ice, Baby.” These days, a new generation of fans recognize him as the renovation expert who stars in The Vanilla Ice Project on the DIY network, now in its third season.
Based in South Florida, Van Winkle partnered with the Lebersfeld family – which operates the Capitol Lighting showroom chain in New Jersey and Florida – several months ago on a Habitat for Humanity project called “Making Lives Brighter” as well as several other projects featured on the TV show.
Recently the rapper and Capitol Lighting collaborated again, unveiling a licensed six-piece collection of transitional chandeliers and sconces with Italian brass castings and custom “iced” nickel and bronze finishes. Not only is the Vanilla Ice Lighting line 100-percent made in the USA, but it is exclusively available through Capitol Lighting stores and its online entity 1-800Lighting.com. The lighting is manufactured by American Brass & Crystal in New Jersey.
“We’ve been friends with the Kirshenbaum family [at American Brass & Crystal] for decades,” explains Eric Lebersfeld, VP/Marketing for Capitol. “I approached Ross [president] about the idea of doing the fixture line and he was very enthusiastic.” The Vanilla Ice Lighting collection has special signage and hangtags. One of the collection’s chandeliers will be hung in an installation during an upcoming episode of The Vanilla Ice Project. As for Van Winkle, he is excited about the lighting line. “He’s been tweeting about it and mentioning it during interviews with the media,” Lebersfeld says.
Capitol Lighting introduced the line during the grand opening of its latest store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The showroom is part of the company’s new retail platform of “clicks and mortar,” which consists of a smaller footprint than a typical Capitol Lighting store. At 4,000 square feet, the new showroom doesn’t stock any inventory. Instead, it serves as a showcase for displaying a variety of lighting styles for consumers and designers to examine in person. Orders are placed on the Internet, with the guidance of store personnel, and shipped to the customer. “It has the benefits of a showroom, but utilizes all of the [modern] tools online,” Lebersfeld comments. “People want to see lighting in person, touch it, and talk to someone knowledgeable. It’s a more [significant] purchase. It’s not a pair of shoes that you can put back in a box and send back,” he notes. “People change their chandeliers less often than they change their cars. They need to have trust.” That consumer confidence comes from the sales staff, who help customers with their selections and the buying process, which is accomplished via computer workstations. “We’ve created a beautiful gallery presentation [of fixtures] with contemporary finishes,” Lebersfeld notes.
In a playful nod to the surrounding golf community, the store has implemented a mini putting green. “This area has the highest density of golfers per square foot,” Lebersfeld quips. “We though having a mini golf hole would work well within our landscape lighting display.
The grand opening event at the showroom included a guest appearance by Rob Van Winkle, who mingled with party-goers, posed for photos next to his Vanilla Ice Lighting line, and signed autographs. A local radio station broadcast live from the grand opening event, and each attendee received a $25 Capitol Lighting gift card.