Crystorama is marking two big milestones during the Dallas Lighting Market.
This year represents Crystorama’s 50th anniversary, as well as founder Abe Kleinberg’s 80th birthday.
At 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, Crystorama will host a dual celebration in its showroom, Dallas Trade Mart, Suite 3503.
“We invite the whole industry to help us celebrate these special events,” said Brad Kleinberg, company president and Abe’s son. “There will be plenty of food, drink and music for everyone.”
Crystorama’s roots go back to the 1950s, after Abe Kleinberg earned an accounting degree. With some encouragement from his brother-in-law and some financing from his father, Kleinberg began importing lighting from a small warehouse in Brooklyn. Kleinberg wore many hats: buying, sales, assembly, deliveries, accounting and collections.
“At that time, there were only a few big importers of crystal and bronze chandeliers—Elite, Halcolite, Weiss and Behieller, Kenroy and Crystalmart,” Kleinberg recalled. “As there was limited competition, everyone was able to make a living selling lights.”
The hot sellers then were the five-light cast bronzes imported from Spain, which Crystorama sold for $45 each. “Europe was my main source for importing for over 45 years.” Kleinberg said, citing Italy, Spain, Czechoslovakia and Austria. It was not until the early 1990s that the company researched suppliers in Asia.
“Now we work with the European designers, and use the original European molds and castings to produce a high-quality product that we manufacture in Asia,” he explained. “By using the Chinese labor and the European ‘know-how,’ we were able to produce a superior product at competitive price points. We market these items in the U.S., while our partners distribute in Europe and the Middle East.”
Crystorama aims to develop products with high-perceived value. “We still specialize in high-quality European materials: natural alabaster, Swarovski crystal, European casting, Czech crystal bowls—and that keeps our brand a step above other importers that buy everything from China,” Kleinberg said.
Kleinberg recalls a much more personal industry in the past and he credits his early supporters, some of whose businesses are still around: Thelma Moss from Moss Lighting in San Francisco; Arthur Liebersfeld from Capitol Lighting in New Jersey, and Worth Electric in Texas.
Kleinberg said he’s most proud of working with his family in the business and seeing the business grow. While Kleinberg still works every day, his son Brad runs Crystorama’s importing/manufacturing business, and his daughter, Nancy Lonoff, is also very involved. Abe Kleinberg’s wife Joan and their other son Brian run the retail business, which grew from an outlet for overstocks and returns, to a successful, ARTS Award-winning lighting showroom, “Elements Lighting and Home Furnishings.”
Kleinberg said he has no plans to retire.
“I go to work every day and have the pleasure of watching my children take what I’ve started 50 years ago from a small warehouse in Brooklyn and transform it into two growing, successful family businesses.”