Lighting the Way


Family-Owned Illuminations Offers Personalized Lighting Expertise

There are a plethora of decisions that go into building a house. From floor plans to wall color and everything in between, there are so many ways to personalize a living space — right down to the light fixtures that brighten each and every room.

That’s where the experts at Illuminations come in.

“Most people don’t realize all the work that goes into it, all the details that are associated with choosing lights for a new house, until they come across the problem, so we help them avoid those problems before they are faced with them,” said Melinda Garza, a co-owner at Illuminations.

Illuminations is a family-owned lighting fixture showroom that has served the Rio Grande Valley since 2000 at its McAllen location. Founded by Garza’s parents, Gustavo and Gracie Garcia, Illuminations is now co-owned by Garza and her two siblings — D’Ann Torres and Marco Garcia.

“There’s nobody else that you can trust as much as you do family,” Garza said. “We’re very close, so I couldn’t see myself working with anybody else but my family.”

In April 2017, Illuminations expanded with a second store opening in Brownsville.

“We’re just excited about the Brownsville location opening,” Garza said. “The Lower Valley is growing a lot. We’ve had customers from the Lower Valley come to McAllen to shop. So it’s nice now that we’re able to have that second location for our customers’ convenience.”

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 1.32.08 PMIlluminations is more than a lighting showroom. The experts there work closely with contractors and homeowners to select the best fixtures — everything from chandeliers and ceiling fans to exterior lighting and even home decor — for residential and commercial projects. Employees at Illuminations often personally visit the site of the project to fully understand what the lighting needs are.

“We’re the experts,” Garza said. “We have the floor plans, or we walk the house, so we’re able to count every single little thing they need so we can make sure our customers don’t go over budget.”

It’s a personal touch that many customers wouldn’t get by visiting a big box home supply store, and one that Garza’s father intimately understood.

“My dad used to be a contractor himself many years ago, which is when he got the idea to open the store,” Garza said. “He knew what the builders were struggling with, or what they needed when it came to sending their customers to choose their lighting.”

Many contractors operate by giving their clients — the homeowners — an allowance to select home features like lighting fixtures, Garza explained. It’s easy, though, for the homeowners to get overwhelmed and go over budget, select pieces that don’t work well together, or forget items altogether — especially if they don’t have someone to help them. The experts at Illuminations help eliminate that confusion and uncertainty with their specialized knowledge on exactly what is required to properly light a house. They streamline the entire experience.

“A customer may go to one store for one thing, another store for something else, so the builder’s running around all these different places trying to gather all the items they need,” Garza said. “When with us, it’s more of a one-stop shop. They send their customers to us, we help them choose everything. And if necessary, we can deliver next day, if they need it, because we stock everything.”

Garza and the rest of her team at Illuminations find it rewarding to help homeowners and business owners stay abreast of trends in lighting and fixtures. The store also offers price matching if customers find the same products at lower prices elsewhere. But if homeowners fall in love with fixtures that push them over budget, there’s already a plan in place to help.

“We collect whatever overages are due so the builder doesn’t have to worry about it,” Garza said. “They just come, pay their allowance, and they’re not incurring expenses after the fact.”

And with nearly two decades in the RGV, Illuminations has become part of the fabric of the region it serves.

“We donate fixtures every year to Habitat for Humanity,” Garza said. “We’ll donate items to the church. We’re always giving back to the community.”

Visit the Illuminations website at