Long time Inglewood business, Parker Lighting has been in the city for over 50 years. Today we talk with the president, Louise Hirsch about the background and future of his company.
IBM: What is your background?
LH: Education – I have a BS in Accounting with computer science from CSUN – Work Experience – I stated working and Parker Lighting, Inc. when my father bought it in 1977. Left in 1982 to work as a photographer for a couple of years. Then I worked at a computer software company for four years. I returned to Parker Lighting in 1989.
IBM: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
LH: My father bought Parker Lighting from Parker Williams in 1977. I bought it from him in 1992.
IBM: What was your mission at the outset?
LH: When Parker Lighting started in 1965, you could only buy lighting from lighting stores and some lighting at drug stores. We were the most knowledgeable company in the lighting business.
IBM: What service(s) or product(s) do you offer/manufacture?
LH: We are a full line lighting store specializing in both the old style of lighting and the newest styles, LED. Our staff has over 65 years of experience in the lighting business.
IBM: How do you market your business?
LH: By website, www.parkerlighting.com, by networking groups I belong to and vendor fairs. How are people aware of your business? We have a reputation, because we have been in business for over 54 years, of knowing what we sell.
IBM: To what do you attribute your success?
LH: Lack of competition at the beginning and gaining a knowledge over so many years to know the correct product for our customer, customer service, and experience.
IBM: What’s your company’s goals?
LH: To always grow.
IBM: What is unique about your business?
LH: Being in businesses for over 54 years as a leader in the lighting business
IBM: Why do your customers select you over your competitors?
LH: Knowledge, pricing and service
IBM: Does your company help the community where it is located?
LH: Not enough
IBM: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
LH: Find a business that you can compete with the internet.
IBM: What are the biggest issues for running this business?
LH: Competition from the internet.
IBM: What is the future for this type of business?
LH: It’s tough. You can compete with luck and hard work and having the right connections. We are still looking for more connections
IBM: How has technology, such as computers and the internet, impacted on how you conduct business?
LH: People now can shop and buy the items we are selling, but it difficult to ship many of the items we sell. If you want service, you come to a company like ours. If you want price only, you can go on the internet.
IBM: As a business owner, what are your top three priorities?
LH: Keeping our customer happy, keeping my employees happy and keeping our suppliers happy. Not expanding when we had a chance in our early years, not seeing the impact of the recession in 2008 (which is still hurting us) and not seeing the advantage of the internet early on. IBM