For 25 years, the renowned retailer Lighting By Gregory has been the centerpiece of Manhattan’s famed Lighting District in The Bowery section of New York City. Founded by industry veteran Joel Horowitz, the showroom features many premium brands in the U.S. and abroad – such as Robert Sonneman, Hubbardton Forge, Flos, Meltemi, Leucos, and Estiluz – and can accommodate projects of all sizes, from small condos and boutique retail spaces to large residences, restaurants, and hotels.
For the last five years, the business was owned by Fifth Street Finance Corp., even though the original executive team (with the exception of Horowitz, who left to pursue other interests including the launch of enLIGHTenment magazine) was on-site to handle the day-to-day operations.
When the financial institution recently decided to return to its core business of finance, an opportunity arose. On September 13, LBG Enterprises, LLC purchased all of the assets of LBG Acquisition LLC from Fifth Street Finance Corporation. LBG Enterprises’ members are Clifford Starr, David Silverstein, Joel Horowitz, and William (Bill) Skarren. Under the new ownership, Silverstein will serve as VP/Sales, Starr will be VP/Showroom Operations and Chief Lighting Consultant, Horowitz will be Chairman of the Board, and Skarren will serve as President and CEO.
With this purchase and change of ownership, the members were able to infuse capital and strip away all of the debt that burdened LBG Acquisition since it acquired Lighting by Gregory, Inc. in 2008. More importantly, Lighting by Gregory is back in the hands of skilled, seasoned lighting veterans.
Says Horowitz about the purchase from Fifth Street Finance Corp., “It worked out well. They were happy and satisfied their shareholders, and we are all happy with the outcome.” Horowitz is taking on the role of senior advisor, helping out with marketing and heightening the store’s brand recognition nationally. “As the founder who ran the business for many years with the help of Cliff and David, I provide a great amount of stability to vendors and long-time customers,” he notes, adding, “I’d like to restore our Internet part of the business to the successful level where it once was.” The partners plan to launch a completely new Web site with a clean look and a state-of-the-art back-end operating system.
“Being away from the retail business for the past five years, I’ve come back with a different outlook on what is happening in the industry and where it will grow,” Horowitz states. “Regionally, Lighting by Gregory has been the best name in lighting in New York City. We have designers, decorators, construction specifiers, and high-end residential homeowners as our clients. We also do a tremendous amount of restaurant and gallery work.”
According to Horowitz, there is still a need for bricks-and-mortar stores; the Internet cannot replace a great lighting showroom. “Lighting is still a feel and touch type of product,” he says. “What we’re hoping to achieve is to become a multi-channel store.”