Lightspec’s Luminous Leap: Acquiring BR Lighting & Controls

Last week, Lightspec, a well-established rep in the Midwest, announced its strategic expansion through the acquisition of BR Lighting & Controls, a Cincinnati-based company with a longstanding presence of over 60 years in the Ohio market. This acquisition marks a significant milestone for Lightspec, allowing it to extend its reach from Canada to Kentucky.

This move is unprecedented in Ohio’s lighting industry, as it is the first time Signify has been represented by a single agent across all four major Ohio markets. The integration of BR Lighting’s history, professionalism, and expertise with Lightspec Midwest’s innovative approach is expected to foster substantial growth opportunities for Lightspec and its customers.

In an exclusive interview with Steve Danzig, owner of Lightspec, he explained to your humble editor the strategic moves leading to this expansion. “The acquisition in Cincinnati and Dayton ensures that we have Signify’s presence in all of the markets we serve in the U.S.” He underscored the importance of having a strong leadership structure and the integration of aggressive sales tactics to drive the company forward.

Before stepping into the lighting industry, Steve served in the United States Air Force, an experience that instilled in him a strong sense of duty, precision, and the value of a well-executed plan. Early in his career, Steve arrived for an interview as a truck driver for an electrical distributor. He was impeccably dressed in a suit and tie—and was initially rejected solely because of his appearance.

He worked for various distributors and one other lighting agent in upstate new York, before joining Lightspec. He purchased the company in 2016.

During our call, I looked at his line cards and noticed something odd. On the Cleveland line card, Lightspec lists the typical Signify brands, but does not specifically list Signify. The Upstate New York line card does publicly list Signify. Steve explained that Signify has expressed a distinct preference for its business operations to be associated with the name Genlyte Solutions, and we found that letter in our archives. He explained that they were updating the line cards, saying, “That is why you see brands such as Lightolier, Daybrite and Stonco and not Signify.”

Steve explained the role of Greg Shick, who was part of the Bright Focus acquisition a few years ago. Shick is a minority partner in the Midwest Division, and Steve emphasized the synergy between his and Shick’s management styles, combining aggressive market tactics with a strong team that is vital for expansion. Lightspec operates through separate LLCs, with Steve holding full ownership in New York and Toronto and Shick as a minority partner in the Midwest business, covering Ohio and Kentucky.

Steve said his company’s core business revolves around specification sales calling on architects, engineers, and interior designers. Steve noted that while there may not be a high number of lighting designers in their markets, specification sales remain a crucial part of their business strategy.