March 23, 2023
Diversified’s Strategic NYC Plan is Taking Shape
Current HLI to part ways with ELA; expands Diversified partnership across the Hudson River
Diversified will soon become the Current HLI representative for the New York Metro Area including New York City, Long Island and northern suburbs in various counties including Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. The new partnership will take effect on June 23 after Current HLI’s partnership with Electric Lighting Agencies (ELA) winds down.
Over the last twenty years, Pennsylvania-based Diversified has consistently been in the conversation for the highest volume Hubbell Lighting – now Current HLI – lighting agent in the country. And their significance really expanded years ago when they took on Northern New Jersey for Hubbell Lighting –eventually leading to a 2021 merger with long-time market leading agent, Liberty Lighting Group.
Diversified’s NYC Push
It was just over eight months ago when Diversified partnered with Nora Lighting in New York City – something that normally wouldn’t be headline news on inside.lighting – but we believed at the time that the Nora Lighting was the tip of the spear that foreshadowed Diversified’s now-evident, strategic plan to enter the New York market with strength, swiftness and gusto.
Since the momentous Nora Lighting partnership began, Diversified’s New York team has picked up some other nice lines including LSI Industries, Atlas Lighting and EMERGI-LITE. An important New York brand, Apogee Lighting, whose presence in MTA subway stations is abundant in four of the five New York City boroughs, partnered with Diversified in late 2022.
Is the I-95 corridor from NYC to Philly becoming one market?
We were not privy to the executive negotiations that occurred between the Current HLI and Diversified leadership teams, but we imagine that part of the conversation supporting the business case for a New York City partnership are all the data points that show competitive rep expansions that have often morphed three traditional territories – NYC, North Jersey and Philly – into one.
Electrical products representatives like Brazill Brothers and Thea Enterprises expanded into Philadelphia many years ago, but we’ve also seen notable lighting agent expansion in those markets, too.
Illuminations Inc. – who happens to be Diversified’s most formidable rival in the Philadelphia market – expanded into New York in 2021 by acquiring Acuity Brands’ New York Digital.
Pennsylvania-based Synergy Electic Sales which has amassed a growing and impressive lighting line card, merged with New York’s Pyramid Lighting in late 2020.
What about ELA?
ELA has been a fixture in the New York lighting market since 1955 and has been partnered with the Current HLI brands since 2008. Agent principals Tom Sica, Ted Pearlman, Roy Weintraub and John Weintraub will be left with a number of specification lighting brands that still resonate strongly with the New York market including Color Kinetics, the Delta Light North America brands and Pinnacle Lighting. Other white goods from New Jersey’s Mercury Lighting and exit/emergency products from Queens-based Encore Lighting, a company founded by Pearlman over twenty years ago, aptly serve the unique demands of the New York market.
With so many capable agents in New York City, line cards are shorter, lighting “packages” aren’t as important and major conglomerate brands don’t seem to carry the weight that they can leverage in other markets. In fact there was a time in the early 2000’s when lighting agent, Swaney Lighting, was selling more Hubbell Lighting products in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont than SDA Lighting & Controls was selling in the New York Metro Area market.
So, even if ELA doesn’t partner with another major brand, the agency should still be able to survive and thrive in New York City. A quick look at ELA’s line card reveals that the agency may need to bolster its architectural lighting controls offerings beyond Sensorworx in order to fill the void left by Current HLI’s NX Lighting Controls.
In September 2022, ELA formed a 50-50 partnership with Slater Lighting in South Florida and represents Current HLI in the Miami - Fort Lauderdale markets. The Current HLI change in New York does not impact the contractual partnership in Florida.