Bright Light In Economy

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

In the little corner leases from a metal plant in Jackson, it's like a busy Santa's little energy-efficient workshop.

"Business is good," says owner Phil Curtis. "It looks like we're on track to triple sales from last year."

That means bringing their revenue from less than $200,000 last year, it's first year of business, to an expected $600,000 this year.

The Jackson-based online company ships environmentally-friendly christmas lights all over the country. Curtis had to hire more employees and move locations this year just to accomodate the extra business.

"A lot of it has to do with people's interest to switch to energy-efficient lighting," he says.

The lights are supposed to last 10 times as long as your average Christmas string light, and are expected to save you 85 to 90 percent in energy.

People continue to go green, even when they don't have much green themselves, he says.

His biggest order this year was $80,000-- or 500,000 lights-- to the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania.

"It's been surprisingly successful, in light of current economic conditions," Curtis says.

Mason was one of the first cities to lead the way with ordering from And this year, they're increasing their evironmentally-friendly arsenal of Christmas lights.

"Last year, the City of Mason decided to switch over to LED lights on the community Christmas tree," explains Doug Klein of the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce. "We liked it so much we decided to buy some lights for the smaller trees in the downtown area."

Klein says the savings so far have been in the hundreds-- and he's glad to support the Jackson business.

"We try to buy locally whenever possible-- it's important to us," he says.

It's important to Curtis, too. The immigration lawyer, who was born and raised in Jackson, says he plans to stay in Jackson, especially because real estate is so inexpensive. Buhe'd like to see the state encourage more e-commerce.

"It's a great opportunity for our state to grow economically. Ninety-five percent of our business comes from outside of Michigan," Curtis says. "These are dollars coming into the state that otherwise would not."

Making the future bright for Curtis, at least, and hopefully for the Jackson area. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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