KC Lighting Company, Creative Displays, Shines During the Holidays
It sounds like a plot for a Hallmark holiday movie. A world-weary executive looking to take some control over her life, quits her corporate job, buys a company steeped in festive traditions and re-discovers the magic of the holidays.
Meet newbie holiday light lover, Angela Primavera. Several months ago, Primavera bought Creative Displays, a Stillwell, Kan. company that’s been around for almost 60 years and is one of the largest distributors of holiday lighting in the Midwest. Now, this CEO is literally covered up in lights.
This is your first Christmas owning the company. Are you freaking out over anything?
I will call them internal freak outs and yes, they happen every day. Are we going to sell out of an item? Did our deliveries arrive? Are we getting our orders shipped out on time? Am I supposed to pick up the kids from school?
You shared that Owen has a real Clark Griswold (Christmas Vacation) sensibility to exterior illumination. Is he like a kid in a candy store right about now?
A kid in a candy store very accurately describes my husband! He says he is going to add lights all over the place. I am still trying to wrap my head around his plans for Christmas. He has mentioned 6-foot wreaths, LEDs, C-9s, C-7s, and animated light displays. We will be doing a drum roll when he turns on the lights this year!
Your company provides lights to some big names. Have you been star struck? As in OMG we have Francis Ford Coppola as a customer?
Creative Displays Inc. has some amazing customers. We have done Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook winery. We sent lights to Mile High Productions for an episode of Breaking Bad. We did a movie with Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet called, A Lot Like Love. There have been other Hollywood movies along the way that have featured our lights. Our lights have also been featured on some spectacular venues throughout the US. As I dig into the history of the company, I have my OMG moments and feel blessed for all of our wonderful customers.
What have you learned about holiday lights that you never knew? Do you now have a favorite light?
I have learned so much! Watts, volts, amps. C-6, C-7, C-9, 11S14, M5, 5MM, F50, G40. Who knew there were so many different styles and types of holiday lights! Not to mention all the attributes of an incandescent vs. a LED light. As for my favorite light, it’s so hard to choose one. I am loving F50s right now. They are vintage looking and fun.
Was it intimidating to take over a company that has been in business since 1959, when Perry Como was first crooning ‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose?’
It was intimidating taking over a company that has such a rich history and had such incredible previous owners. I love to think about the era when the company first opened its doors in 1959 and how it has re-invented itself throughout the years. It brings me a lot of motivation and determination to do my part.
Has your new job made you love the holidays even more?
I have been really touched and inspired by the cities and individuals who put on these amazing holiday displays. They are so excited and passionate about lights and giving back to their communities. They want to make others smile through their lights. This has brought me an even deeper love of the holidays.
Let It Shine - A quick glance at the history of lighting up the holidays
It all started way back in 12th century Germany with the pagan tradition of the lighting of the yule log.
By the 17th century the lighting of the log had turned into lighting up an entire tree. Europeans began placing small candles on evergreens that were attached with pins or melted wax. This created such a flammable experience, that buckets of sand and water were placed by the tree.
That fire hazard lasted for centuries. In 1882, Christmas lights progressed from being literally an open flame to a bulb. An inventor who worked for Thomas Edison created the first string of holiday lights, made from 80 small electric light bulbs.
In 1890, strings of lights began being mass produced and sold in stores.
Five years later in 1895, under the direction of President Grover Cleveland, the White House had their first Christmas tree with electric lights.
1970 saw the introduction of the mini light, which is still the most popular light today.
In 1998, LED lights made their debut on the home holiday light scene.
Today, Americans hang more than 440 billion holiday lights every year.
Learn more at creativedisplays.com.