Category: CEO Profiles
by Clark Byron
Senior Business Contributor
Sept. 12, 2013 – Of all the bright ideas that have illuminated Savannah over the past three centuries, perhaps one of the brightest is Gale Singer’s Circa Lighting. The company’s tag line is 'Simply Brilliant' and there’s no doubt that’s what it is.
Owner Gale Singer started the company here in Savannah in 1998. Her brother owns the Houston-based Visual Comfort® lighting company, a manufacturer of premium lighting fixtures and lamps.
“My brother’s company has been in business for 25 years,” said Singer, who worked at Visual Comfort for 10 years before coming to Savannah and starting what has now become a hugely successful retail business that spans five U.S. cities. With the exception of several exterior lighting lines, Circa Lighting carries Visual Comfort® exclusively.
The company started with 375 square feet on Whitaker Street in Savannah and grew to five stores, including its showroom in Savannah. Singer says the company has a very active Internet business, as well as a plan to roll out several more stores. The new stores are planned in other markets throughout the country where there are high concentrations of upscale buyers.
“We are extremely customer service oriented,” said Singer. “We’d like to think that we go above and beyond the call of duty. What we really strive for is being knowledgeable about the products that we sell. We’re very 'edited'; we don’t sell a hundred things that we don’t care about. We are devoted to the product that we sell.”
All products are top-of-the line. “It is incredibly well made,” she said. “We have the top designers in the industry designing our product. In our opinion, it doesn’t get much better than this as far as product design goes.” Such designers as Ralph Lauren, Barbara Berry, E.F. Chapman, David Easton, Alexa Hampton, Susanne Kasler, and John Roselli, ad just a few in the pantheon of artistic genius that Circa carries. “We control the design. We own all our own tools ad dies and so, unless someone is copying us, you won’t see our products made for anybody else.
“As to our pricing, we’re at the mid end of high-end, so we have things for almost everybody,” said Singer. “However, we don’t try to be all things to all people. We’re really concentrated on Visual Comfort® products. It has worked out very well for us.”
Singer grew up in Brooklyn, the daughter of a Shell Oil employee who was transferred to Houston. She attended the University of Texas at Austin where she studied sociology, and the Hebrew University in Israel where she studied sociology and theatre. She came to Savannah from Houston in 1997.
The company’s headquarters is at 513 W. Jones St. in the former Chatham Pipe & Plumbing Supply Company building, built in 1938. The showroom is located at 405 Whitaker Street. Circa Lighting employs a staff of 48. “All these people deserve all the credit for everything,” said Singer. “We’ve developed a really good company. We try to be a good place to work. We try to have a nice environment for our employees to work in. We try to take care of them.”
Circa Lighting now boasts showrooms in Atlanta, Chicago, Charleston and Houston, as well as its location in Savannah. The local store is at 405 Whitaker Street and the headquarters location at 513 W. Jones St. Call Circa Lighting at 877-762-2323 or shop online at circalighting.com.
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