A piece of history was brought to light this morning in our showroom. As many of our customers know, we offer more than just chandeliers and ceiling fans; we also sell light bulbs. Back when our doors first opened, we actually only sold light bulbs, custom neon, and all the disco lighting the 90s would need.
The year of 2021 marked a celebratory milestone for our showroom: twenty-five years of doing business. Looking back on the past, appreciating the journey and keeping our history in conversation is a gentle reminder of how far we've come. The joy that sparks within each time a customer mentions, "I've been shopping with you since the Mattthews location" or the "Independence location."
But today's interaction had a slightly different approach to a joyful morning.
An older gentleman strolled through our doors early this morning, with a light bulb in hand. I greeted the gentleman as Dawid came around the corner to help him. Dawid took a look at the bulb he brought in, checked our stock and left to grab two off the shelf. As he walked back to our checkout counter, the gentleman asked, "Are you the owner?"
"No, but he's here today" Dawid replied kindly.
A few moments later, Hans exits his office and approaches the gentleman at the counter. Some time goes by and the conversation seems to be going well from afar. Smiles, laughter, and a genuine interest that engages the conversation to continue on. Many of our customers have worked with Hans in the past, usually returning from their initial visits to our Independence, Matthews, or even our South Tryon locations. Hans has always had a contagious smile, of it was of course assumed that the gentleman worked with Hans years back for the lighting in his home and was simply stopping by to say hello.
I'm called over to take a photo. Lo and behold, the gentleman has quite the history with the land our new showroom is built on.
When we purchased the land, there was a small, brick home on the lot near the road; at the time, the entire inside of the home was gutted but the frame and exterior of the house remained.
Back in the 50s, the gentleman's family immigrated to the United States from Greece. In 1953, his family purchased the home and continued their life in Charlotte. As a young boy, he worked with his family in their restaurant; eventually he attended Duke University and served as an Naval Officer before returning to the Queen City of Charlotte, NC. His name: George Couchell.
In 1982, Mr. Couchell opened the doors to his first restaurant location off of Independence Blvd in Monroe, NC. He called it Showmars. Lighting & Bulbs Unlimited would actually later open our first doors in 1996, also on Independence Blvd, except miles away and in the Charlotte zip code.
Showmars was created with an innovative idea to offer a blend of both fast-food and formal dining, while keeping his Greek influence in the menu. Having a Showmars nearby the showroom on Monroe Road, Hans unknowingly supported the restaurant for plenty of years.
Today, we captured a photo that truly shows how "small" the world really is. A humble reminder of how great the local Charlotte community is. Hans loves Greek cuisine and visits Showmars often, yet never knew that his own business had a small connection with a favorite restaurant of his. Mr. Couchell stopped by for some light bulbs and at the same time was able to revisit the land he grew up on many years back.
We were able to bring a little light into his day, while he most definitely brought the brightest of light to our morning. The perfect, first-customer for a Monday morning.
Street view from © Google Maps, dated August 2012, June 2014, May 2015, & August 2021 (Lighting & Bulbs Unlimited)