When Stacey Fedor started looking for a new location for her store, Alpine Lighting and Design Center, about a year ago, she was already trying to shift her business concept from retail to a stronger emphasis on design.
So when she was looking to relocate and the old CHS store opened up on First Avenue West North in Kalispell, Fedor jumped on the newly remodeled space. Because of the old farm store’s loading dock, Fedor now has a much smoother mechanism for receiving freight, as opposed to the tight alley that she shared with the Kalispell City Police and Fire Department on Main Street, in addition to more parking.
Back in 2002 when Fedor first opened Alpine Lighting, a large showroom was necessary at the time, before Amazon became mainstream. But consumers gradually transitioned to buying online. So Fedor has adapted to refocus on the service aspect of her business.
“The desire to serve better became more evident,” Fedor said. “People can’t buy service on Amazon, where we have that expertise to guide people from the beginning.”
Downsizing from a 7,000-square-foot showroom to a 4,000-square-foot space at the new location, Fedor and Manager Jeri Miller shifted the business from a large retail space to a more intimate design space.
“The change is exciting for us,” Fedor said. “And frankly COVID actually helped it along.”
Instead of attending to a steady stream of customer walk-ins, Alpine Lighting services are now mostly appointment-based, where customers can have a more personalized visit, which is also more conducive to social distancing. Fedor and Miller also use Chief Architect and Interiors software, which resembles a high-tech and practical version of The Sims computer game. The technology helps clients visualize their homes’ interior design and light fixture orientation.
In addition to the software, the new space also has a model kitchen or a “lab,” where the lighting designers can demonstrate the different layers of light.
“We take people into the kitchen and explain how to illuminate glass cabinets and how to illuminate a kitchen and they can actually experience and understand it rather than us just trying to communicate it to them,” Fedor said.
In addition to lighting demonstrations, designers also sit down with clients to go over housing plans and work with electricians to ensure they have appropriate lighting levels.
“We work very closely with the contractor and electrician so it’s a smooth and successful transition from dream or vision to their final product,” Miller said.
Additionally, Fedor and the designers also custom-design light fixtures for clients who want one-of-a-kind products. Some of their designs appear in Cedar Creek Lodge, Brannigan’s Pub, Many Glacier Hotel and some buildings in Yellowstone National Park.
While Fedor has transitioned the business concept at Alpine Lighting, her staff still offers the same services, which includes walk-ins and repairs, while adapting to the growing Flathead Valley amid a pandemic.
“I think we’ve evolved with the changing times of how people purchase and we have so many new people coming to the valley that are building,” Miller said. “We live in a time where you either adjust and adapt or you die.”
For more information, visit alpinelightingcenter.com.