January 24, 2024   

Pittsburgh Market Sees Another Shakeup

2024 01 current hli repco ii gormley farrington signify genlyte pittsburgh wv.jpg

REPCO II resigns Signify in favor of Current HLI.  We handicap Signify’s next moves.


MOON TOWNSHIP – The lighting industry in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia is witnessing significant changes.

REPCO II, a 34-person lighting agency and major player in Pittsburgh and West Virginia professional lighting markets, is ending its longstanding relationship with Signify’s Genlyte Solutions brands. The brands include Lightolier, Daybrite and Gardco. This move marks a pivotal shift in the landscape as REPCO II has struck a new partnership by expanding its portfolio with Current to soon represent Current HLI product lines, effective April 1.

REPCO II, known for its decades-long affiliation with Philips/Genlyte, is also the legacy agent for Current GLI. The company is now set to enhance its offerings by including more Current brands such as Columbia, Kim Lighting, Dual Lite and Prescolite from Current HLI's collection.


Gormley Farrington's Recent Developments

Meanwhile, another lighting agent in the region, Gormley Farrington, has experienced notable changes. Two years after their collaboration began with Current HLI, known as Hubbell Lighting at the time, the two entities are set to part ways effective March 31. Current HLI’s termination of Gormley Farrington is not a first, as it had previously ended a partnership with the agent in 2016, transitioning then to One Source Paolicelli.

While the imminent loss of Current is significant, Gormley Farrington still has a formidable line card highlighted by Cree Lighting and Lutron.  It was just two years ago when the One Source Paolicelli exited Pittsburgh, causing Hubbell Lighting and Lutron to land with Gormley Farrington.


Current’s consolidation trend

These developments come amidst broader consolidation trends by Current. REPCO II's adoption of both GLI and HLI brand groupings from Current signifies a notable consolidation, but similar movements have been observed in other regions throughout the U.S. and Canada, including the eastern half of Pennsylvania, where Diversified added Current GLI to its long-established Current HLI representation last year.

The consolidation of brand representations under single agencies like REPCO II and Diversified could potentially lead to increased efficiencies and a more cohesive market approach for Current.  REPCO II will now be the third Pittsburgh agent to represent the HLI brands in the last three years.


Who will be Genlyte's new partner?

Following these significant shifts across Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Genlyte Solutions emerges as a key player in search of new representation. As the market adapts to these changes, speculation surrounds Genlyte's next strategic move. Various scenarios present themselves:


Partner with Gormley Farrington (DraftKings 3:1 odds)

With REPCO II parting ways with Signify, Genlyte Solutions finds itself in the position of a free agent. Concurrently, Gormley Farrington may be looking for a significant line replacement. This scenario suggests a highly probable partnership between Genlyte and Gormley Farrington. Such an alliance appears to be a logical and convenient solution for both parties, given the recent market disruptions.

With Cree Lighting and Lutron being strong anchors for its line card, it's possible that Gormley Farrington decides to stick with those brands and let Genlyte find another partner.

This potential partnership still seems to be the best bet, as reflected in our mock DraftKings odds of 3:1.


Align with Upstate New York’s LightSpec (DraftKings 4:1 odds)

Rochester, New York-based LightSpec, known for its aggressive territorial expansion, is another prospective partner for Genlyte in the region. Having expanded into Toronto, Cleveland, Columbus, Ohio, and Kentucky, LightSpec's existing partnership with Genlyte Solutions covers all these areas except Canada.

Notably, agency Principal Steve Danzig's travel routes to his Ohio Valley offices force him to travel through (or over) the Pittsburgh and West Virginia markets. This geographic factor enhances the possibility of LightSpec filling this strategic gap in its agent territory map by partnering with Genlyte in these regions. Our mock DraftKings odds of 4:1 reflect this scenario as a viable but slightly less probable option than partnering with Gormley Farrington.


Inside Lighting Parlay Special:  LightSpec-Gormley Farrington Merge, Genlyte aligns with combined agency (DraftKings 14:1 odds)

A more complex but intriguing possibility is a merger or acquisition between LightSpec and Gormley Farrington, creating a unified front to represent Genlyte Solutions in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Such a consolidation would be a strategic game-changer, effectively connecting LightSpec's expansive territory and augmenting its market presence. This scenario, though less likely with our mock DraftKings odds of 14:1, could create a significant shift in Genlyte Solutions’ regional lighting landscape.


Rest of Field (Draft Kings 23:1)

The other key players in the region appear to be closely aligned with their existing partners. Laface McGovern, the leading agent in the market, has been partnered with Acuity Brands for 25 years.

Cooper Lighting Solutions, another Signify company, maintains longstanding partnerships with Architectural Lighting Sales (ALS) in Pennsylvania and Robert S. Kimball Associates in West Virginia. It seems highly improbable that these relationships would dissolve to partner with Genlyte Solutions.

It's also a remote possibility that Signify's Genlyte Solutions will move to the Cooper Lighting agents, potentially causing ALS and Kimball Associates to become North America's first agents to represent both Genlyte Solutions and Cooper Lighting. However, we consider this highly unlikely since Signify has consistently demonstrated a commitment to representing the two entities separately in North American markets.  Such a precendent would likely rattle Signify agents in other markets.

The remainder of the field consists of smaller lighting entities, primarily agencies with a large electrical product focus, which typically aren't an ideal fit for Genlyte Solutions. While the emergence of a wildcard startup is conceivable, it's deemed unlikely by our lighting industry handicappers.