An Exclusive Interview with Emma Price and Hamid Rashidi

October 16, 2020 [addtoany]

When we began this bankruptcy process 5 or 6 months ago, I never knew anything good could come of it but now because of Elite Lighting, our story has a happy ending.–Emma Price

Your humble editor had a zoom call late Friday with Hamid Rashidi, the CEO of Elite Lighting, and Emma Price, President of Edison Price Lighting (EPL).

Elite Lighting was a last-minute bidder after all of the smart money thought GE Current, a Daintree company, would end up with the EPL assets.   I asked Hamid about coming in so late and whether he was able to conduct due diligence.  He explained that he was fully aware of the capabilities of EPL and having the opportunity to start collaborating with one of the most admired lighting manufacturers in the world was enough due diligence for him.  He went on to say that he has known them for 22 years when Elite first entered the US market.

Hamid stated that both companies have much in common.   He emphasized the values they share and the fact that both are third generation family-owned companies; “Edison Price has been a leader for the past 70 years, and we want to ensure they are a leader for the next 70 years.”  He also explained that both families are extremely customer-oriented and value relationships built with the design community.  Both families, and companies, believe in creating the perfect lighting environment.  He said, “We will provide Edison Price all of the tools and resources they need to continue to be one of the most admired lighting manufacturers in the world.”

Hamid said that he was attracted to EPL because they create architectural lighting products that uphold the most important principles of lighting design which includes clean aesthetics and optic precision.  Elite lighting provides the latest technologies such as tunable white, rgb + white, dim to warm, IoT solutions, as well as products that can be controlled with 0-10v, DMX, and DALI. With the collaboration of both brands, they will be able to reach a larger network and provide these solutions to the lighting design community.

Hamid explained that EPL would continue with their own network of agents and stay a completely separate entity from Elite Lighting.  “EPL will continue to operate as a separate entity under its own name and brand, separate from Elite Lighting,” said Hamid.

Next, I asked about Emma’s daughter, Nora Vizzini, and if she would stay on with the company.  Hamid said that he wants to keep all key EPL employees. We discussed manufacturing in New York City and both Hamid and Emma explained their focus on customer service and working with the lighting designers.  Hamid explained that in this age of COVID, customer service is even more important, and he would not do anything to jeopardize their level of service.  He went on to say, “Because of the pandemic, we must do what is best for Edison Price Lighting and the most important thing right now is to make sure there is a continuity in the business so we can fulfill and ship all new, existing, and future orders,”  The lighting design community counts on EPL to help overcome challenges and help create the perfect lighting environment.

Friday morning on my podcast, I mentioned how Hamid would not tell me the acquisition price, ‘out of respect for the Price family.’

I read them a message I received from Lisa Moffitt,  with Esquire Wire Inc., after the podcast went live:

“I wanted to drop you a note and let you know how encouraging your report was today.  We have been a vendor of Edison Price for years.  All of their people we came in contact with on many levels were all well thought of and we will miss their company.  Elite Lighting, telling you they would not tell you price of settlement, showed their honor and respect for Edison Price Organization.  I agree with you this entire ordeal has been so sad and bankruptcy is never good.  Elite Lighting and your report made me proud to be part of a tight knit lighting community.”

Emma said that she was really touched by that email and that she was hearing a lot of great comments from the lighting design community.  Emma explained that once the bankruptcy is behind them, they will be a bigger, stronger and better company.   She explained, “When we began this bankruptcy process 5 or 6 months ago, I never knew anything good could come of it but now because of Elite Lighting, our story has a happy ending.