On July 1, 2000, The Lighting Gallery opened its doors. The original space held 1,500sq ft. of showroom, and a whole lot of promise for a new, small business in Grand Forks, ND. Sonia Roberton was at The Lighting Gallery’s helm as it debuted, as she still is today. More has changed than the square footage of space over the past 15 years.
The Turning Point
Sonia opened The Lighting Gallery after an eight-year career with Border States Electric. When Border closed their showroom, she was faced with a decision. Find a new career, or continue to foster her passion for the lighting industry and open her own showroom. She chose the latter, and hasn’t once regretted her decision.
“I honestly didn’t know 15 years ago, that I would make 15 years. The change with the housing market, all the ups and downs … so, I’m happy. I’m happy I am where I am,” Sonia said. “Every year we’ve increased. We built clientele, gained relationships, and found new customers.”
Let There Be Light … and Growth
Sonia envisioned The Lighting Gallery to be a showroom for lighting fixtures and lighting options. Within a year and a half, that vision needed more room, and they moved into a larger showroom with 2,800sq. feet of space. By 2008, they were out of showroom space yet again. Expansion this time included home décor and furnishing collections, because Sonia saw an opportunity there.
The business adjacent to hers closed, and its space became available. “I jumped out on a limb,” Sonia said. “We had always been lighting with just a little décor to make our showroom look good. It was either expand, or lose the opportunity because I knew I wanted to stay there. So I took the building next to me. Knocked a wall down, and now we have 4,800 sq. ft. of showroom space.”
The Lighting Gallery’s Next 15 Years
When Sonia was asked about the next 15 years and beyond, she said, “Less stress.” She laughed that off and answered, “I would love to own my own building with a more state-of-the-art lighting showroom that’s LED-driven. That’s actually a three-year plan.”
The Lighting Gallery has high quality fixtures from a diverse range of vendors, and they pride themselves on offering selections not found anywhere else in town. Their gallery is full of lighting opportunities to satisfy each and every idea, client, and taste. That coupled with the skilled team of experienced designers offering lighting expertise, décor insight, knowledge, and style makes for an unforgettable 15 years in business.
“I thank God everyday when I get to the door and put my key in. I get to start year 16,” Sonia said.