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Family-owned Lofings Lighting turns 50 Friday

From left, Max Lofing, Roy Lofing, Don Lofing and Wendy Lofing-Rossotti stand in their showroom.

From the Governor’s Mansion to the living rooms of DIY remodelers and commercial offices, Lofings Lighting has supplied light fixtures, supplies and repairs from its J Street location for 50 years.

C.L. "Roy" Lofing started the business on Nov. 11, 1961 with his wife, Barbara, and son, Don. Even though he recently celebrated his 90th birthday, Roy Lofing said he is happy to come into the business regularly and be with his family, which now has three generations working at the store.

“Words can hardly explain it,” he said. “It’s fabulous.”

Lofing’s grandson, Max Lofing, said Tuesday that the upcoming 50th anniversary of the company’s founding is an exciting event he’s happy to witness.

“It’s a real sense of pride for a family-run business to be able to go that long,” he said. “I think it shows our commitment to our family and the community.”

He added that the company’s ability to evolve, stay abreast of technological developments and provide knowledgeable staff on all aspects of lighting has enabled it to stay alive through several recessions and remain an industry leader. Owners said they often lobby at the state Capitol as representatives the lighting industry as well. Additionally, the company gets to preview new light technology before it comes out.

Pointing at a new LED product that has been on the market for about a year and is being pushed by the Sacramento Metropolitan Utilities District as an energy-saving device, Max Lofing said Roy Lofing was called in by the manufacturer about two years before it went to market for suggestions.

“That’s one way we stay on the bleeding edge of technology,” Max Lofing said. “We really feel it’s our job to know everything about lighting that we can and really have a passion for it.”

But it’s not always about the ultra-modern. Lofings Lighting has also worked on several high-profile landmarks, including Hearst Castle and the Winchester Mystery House.

Max Lofing and sister Wendy Lofing-Rossotti said the most basic part of successfully running a business is the tried-and-true method of putting customer service and product knowledge first.

“We want a long-term relationship with all of our customers,” Lofing-Rossotti said. “We really focus on taking care of them and making sure we do our best. A dissatisfied customer isn’t good for anyone.”

One of Lofings Lighting’s satisfied customers is Ron Kingston, a 60-year-old Sacramento lobbyist who has been going to the store for several years.

“The way they earn my loyalty is through customer service and knowledge of lighting,” he said. “I know few stores where they can tell you why the product really works, what’s unique about it and know the available product base systemically. They’re extremely comprehensive.”

He said that if anything needs tweaking or repairing, or if there is any other service needed, Lofings Lighting will send someone out to solve the problem.

“They’re like the old physicians. They make house calls,” he said with a laugh. “You can buy a light fixture at Home Depot, but that’s not what Lofings is about. They’re going to give you a unique level of advice.”

Lofing-Rossotti said that level of advice is what has enabled Lofings Lighting to stay strong even as big-box stores and large corporations have expanded.

“We’re really flexible, and also, we can do whatever we want,” she said, adding that the only people the company needs to clear any decision with are the other family members.

Lofing-Rossotti and Max Lofing said that while some view the business as dealing in only high-end lighting, they have something available for nearly every budget.

“They always stand behind the products and the service,” said Julie Haney, 55, of JMH Architecture. “I’ve worked with them since 1992, and I love working with them because of their knowledge of updated lighting technology like LEDs and fluorescents.”

Haney, whose company is based in Davis, said she usually works on residential remodels and likes that someone from Lofings Lighting will come out to a job site.

“I love it that they’re also family,” she said. “The grandfather’s in there, the dad’s in there and the kids are in there.”

Lofing-Rossotti and Max Lofing said they learned the importance of a good work ethic growing up with the business, and they’ve done every type of job, including dusting light fixtures in the showroom.

Their sister, Michelle Puzdrakiewicz, worked with them when they were growing up and went on to be a pediatrician.

“I think it taught us all a really good work ethic,” Lofing-Rossotti said, adding that her 7-year-old and Max Lofing’s kids, 3 and 5, will likely work in the store when they’re in high school.

The business is still located in the original building at 2121 J St. Five years ago, a second building was added, directly across the street, where customers can preview lighting styles.

“That allows them to see the true effect of the light they are looking at and what it will do, without all the other lights shining in the showroom,” Lofing-Rossotti said.

Don Lofing, Roy Lofing’s son, said he’s excited that the business reaches the 50-year milestone Friday.

“It’s been a good ride,” he said. “It’s an amazing feeling, and it’s really great to be here working with my family and being together all the time.”


 

Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.

Editorial Note: This article has been updated after it was published.

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