“Wow!” “Awesome!” Those are typical responses most first-time customers declare upon entering the Illuminations lighting showroom in McAllen.
Located at 4801 North 10th Street, Illuminations is the Valley’s premier lighting showroom with more lighting fixtures and accessories than any other area store. It displays an immense variety of breathtaking lighting, including chandeliers, wall sconces, pendants, bath vanities, niche lighting, ceiling fans, recessed lighting, exterior and landscape lighting, table and floor lamps, and bulbs.
In addition, it also offers a great selection of accessories and home décor items like candle holders, mirrors, and tables to complete or augment any home or office.
The lighting and accessories are showcased in specially designed settings or vignettes throughout the showroom. As customers enter these settings, they can easily view the fixtures and experience how the proper layering of light can enhance and illuminate the color and ambience.
“When people walk into our showroom, they’re not just seeing a bunch of lighting hanging from the ceiling. They’re walking through different spaces and getting feelings about how the lighting can be used in different settings,” says co-owner Melinda Garcia.
Melinda and her sister D’Ann Garcia run the showroom that was established in 2000 by their father and mother, Gustavo and Gracie Garcia.
Gustavo, a home building contractor, easily related to the headaches builders in the area faced. One headache was the lack of a well-equipped lighting showroom. This made it difficult for builders to purchase lighting fixtures for their construction projects.
In response to this market need, he opened a small lighting showroom south of their present location. Covering only 1800 square feet, it didn’t give Gustavo and his wife much space to merchandise their fixtures. But what they lacked in space, they made up in providing great customer service.
That tradition of providing outstanding customer service continues today. The Garcia sisters and their 12 employees are trained and certified lighting specialists, who keep abreast of the latest technology. They work with builders, designers, and walk-in customers to assist them through every phase of their lighting project including fixture and décor selection.
Melinda says one of the most fulfilling parts of her job is guiding people through the process of lighting their homes. Certainly, building and remodeling can be expensive endeavors. But she and the entire staff at Illuminations reward their customer expenditures with a better living experience.
“Because we’re trained in lighting design, we can match our customers’ lighting needs with the proper type of fixture, the proper placement of those fixtures, and so remove the stress out of lighting their homes or offices.
“We’re a beginning-to-end store. We’ll sit with our customers in the beginning with their blueprints when their home is being built or remodeled. If we need to go to the job site to do a walk-through, we’ll do that before any purchase is made. That allows us to recommend the right product,” she says.
In 2007, the Garcia’s opened their present showroom, which covers almost 10,000 square feet. Since they own the building, they have the option of expanding as the need arises.
D’Ann takes care of accounts payable and accounts receivable, while Melinda handles the marketing and advertising. Both travel to market shows to purchase new merchandise and both do sales at the store.
Illuminations proudly carries items from more than 100 of the best lighting manufacturers in the industry – names like Kichler Lighting, James Moder, Hinkley, Casablanca, and Fine Art Lamps. Products from home décor companies such as Cyan Design and Howard Elliott can also be found in the showroom.
Despite being located in a relatively small market, Illuminations has already made a name for itself within the lighting industry. In 2012, a panel of experts selected Illuminations to be a finalist for National Showroom of the Year from among all showrooms nationwide in their revenue category. The event was sponsored by Residential Lighting magazine and the Dallas Market Center.
Part of Illuminations’ philosophy has always included giving back to the community that helps support it.
“We often work together with our suppliers to do programs where we can donate to Habitat for Humanity. We’ve made several donations to Habitat representing thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise,” Melinda says.
“We also do a lot of donations throughout the year for different community events such as “Dancing with The Stars.” Whenever we can, whenever we’re approached, we usually donate to the community.”
While Illuminations keeps D’Ann and Melinda quite busy, they plan to eventually add new showrooms.
“We definitely want a second location and even a third,” notes Melinda. “While we serve much of the Valley now, from Brownsville to Alice to Rio Grande City, we want to be more accessible and convenient for Valley residents. That’s something we’ve wanted for a while and something we intend on doing in the next two years.”