Built in the Blue Ridge: Crenshaw Lighting

Built in the Blue Ridge
Built in the Blue Ridge (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

FLOYD (WSLS 10) - The fixtures that Crenshaw Lighting produces will not be seen in a hardware store that you can take home.  Their products are custom made to last a life time.

With the flip of a switch, the lights shine bright in schools, almost all universities in Virginia, as well as expensive homes and state capitols across the country.

“These are Solid State LEDs that are being retrofitted into a historically accurate original lamp from the Wyoming state Capitol,” said company owner Patrick Daley, describing a project.  He continues, “This is done as a prototype at this point.  This will eventually lead to a production run that will be retrofitted into all of these that exist in the state capitol.”

They are identical reproductions to replace the current fixtures that are showing signs of their age.

The company is currently working on a project where they are taking every light fixture from the Minnesota state Capitol and restoring it.  A project they just finished working on that is closer to home is for the University of Virginia.

In many cases, the originals were made over a century ago with fine detail that a machine can't reproduce.

That is why workers sculpt the replacements by hand with skills passed down through the generations.

“We have three generations in some instances on our shop floor where we have grandfathers, and grandsons who work here,” says Daley.  “It’s kind of the old apprentice model where young guys who we think fit, we bring them in and try to pair them up with somebody as best we can to broaden them.  The goal is to teach them to do every process that we do.”

It is a process that allows the company to continue to grow.

“We have grown exponentially over the past few years,” Daley says about the company’s growth.  “Our strategy has been, we service the east coast very well.  We're very well known in our world on the east coast.  We've made attempts to bring it to the west coast and midwest.  The interesting thing is, it's been well received that we've had to try taper back so that we can kind of monitor and manage our growth.”

The company stays disciplined, so quality doesn't suffer and pride in the product remains high.

“It's a beautiful things for us to something that we've put our hearts and souls into go to a place where it’s going to live for the next fifty or one hundred years and know that we had a part in it,” says Daley.  “We win a lot of awards and get a lot of recognition, but I think that the pride that these guys see when we get an email saying, hey it looks great, we love it from the end user, those are the things that we post up and are really proud of and share around.”

Crenshaw Lighting started in the 1950s in North Carolina, specializing in lighting for churches.

The company moved to the Blue Ridge in the 1980s.