From Garage Start-up to Industry Leader: Lithonia Lighting Celebrates 75 Years

June 1, 2021

In 2021, the Lithonia Lighting® brand celebrates 75 years. It is a proud heritage that continues today as Lithonia Lighting builds upon its status as a leading name in lighting trusted by specifiers, facility and operations managers, electrical contractors, electrical distributors, and many more. The Lithonia Lighting journey started small.  

This year the Lithonia Lighting® brand celebrates 75 years of providing great products and services to its customers and the electrical industry. It is a proud heritage that continues today as Lithonia Lighting builds upon its status as a leading name in lighting trusted by specifiers, facility and operations managers, electrical contractors, electrical distributors, and many more.  

And like with many great brands, the Lithonia Lighting journey started small.

It All Started in a Garage

The Lithonia Lighting story began in 1946 when Sam Freeman founded the Lithonia Lighting Products Company. Operations began with just two employees working out of a 2,000-sq.-ft. garage in Lithonia, Georgia, which at the time was a small town of about 1,500 residents located outside of Atlanta. Initially, the business involved finishing and assembling metal parts and first year sales were $287,000. 

In the early 1950s, Sam decided to concentrate on the growing demand for commercial and industrial fluorescent lighting fixtures and sell these products through wholesale electrical distributors and sales agents. By the late 1950s, Lithonia Lighting had rapidly become a well-established leader in engineering and manufacturing fluorescent lighting. 

In 1957, with more than 400 employees, Lithonia Lighting moved to larger facilities in nearby Conyers, Georgia. In 1969, the company was acquired by National Service Industries, Inc., which in 2001 spun off Lithonia Lighting and other assets to the newly formed Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI).

Acuity Brands designs, manufactures and brings to market a portfolio of market-leading lighting, lighting controls, building management and location-aware products and services, of which Lithonia Lighting remains a cornerstone brand. 

75 Years and Still Growing

Today, Lithonia Lighting offers customers an industry-leading selection of quality LED lighting products in nearly every category. These include commercial indoor and outdoor lighting to industrial, life safety systems and residential lighting, for a diverse array of market applications ranging from commercial office to education, healthcare to retail, and from manufacturing and warehousing to parking garages and pedestrian walkways.

The success of Lithonia Lighting over the years has been grounded in listening closely to customers to understand their needs and requirements while marrying those with the best solutions that make an impact in the spaces where they are used.

Here are four examples of these innovative and often pioneering lighting solutions:

1. Contractor Select™ series of in-stock, everyday lighting products to meet immediate lighting needs and project budgets; 

2. Same-day shipping through the LightQuick® quick-ship program for fast, immediate service; 

3. Indoor and outdoor LED fixtures that can fully connect and integrate with lighting controls and building systems to create full-scale solutions that are simple to specify, install and operate; and

4. Wired and wireless controls-enabled lighting fixtures to further optimize energy savings that can later scale as a space grows.

[More from Acuity: Using Lighting and BMS to Advance Your Business]

Lithonia Lighting is one of the lighting industry’s most successful and sought-after brands thanks to Sam’s foresight, the dedication and hard work of countless teams of associates over the years, and the ongoing financial and strategic strength of Acuity Brands. 

That’s 75 years and counting of having the right products, readily available with the trusted performance customers count on. Come see for yourself and experience the Best Value in Lighting™.

About the Author

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