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Retail Wyoming True Value Hardware

Wyoming True Value uses Illuminaire fixtures
to upgrade lighting in historic building

The 112-year-old building that houses the True Value in Sheridan, Wyoming has served as the site of a hardware store for nearly 90 years. When store owner Kurt Smith recently decided to upgrade the lighting in the 10,000-square-foot structure, he wanted to preserve the historic ambience while increasing the light levels throughout the store.

According to Smith, the lighting in the store had not been retrofit since 1953, when strip fluorescent fixtures were installed, stem mounted four feet below the plaster ceiling. The illumination provided by the aged fixtures ranged from a high of 45 footcandles to a low of eight footcandles in the corners.

“Merchandise looked rather dull and customers often had a hard time really examining the products we had to offer,” said Smith.

Before deciding which luminaires would be used to replace the fluorescent fixtures, Smith hung a single low-bay fixture with a plastic lens in his store on a trial basis. About the same time, while he was cleaning his basement, he discovered one of the glass globe luminaires that were originally used in the store before the fluorescent units were installed during the 1950s.

A few days later, Smith was leafing though an issue of a trade journal when he saw an ad for Illuminaire® fixtures from Holophane, which were similar in appearance to the original fixtures used in his store. He contacted the Holophane sales representative in Wyoming and had an Illuminaire fixture with Crest optics and a 400-watt metal halide lamp installed next to the low bay fixture he was testing.

“There was no comparison between the two units,” said Smith. “The Illuminaire fixture had a more pleasing appearance and the light it provided covered a larger area. The Illuminaire unit did a better job of complementing the historic feel of building than the more modern looking low bay fixture.”

A photometric layout developed for the store included 36 pendant-mounted Illuminaire Crest fixtures with 400-watt metal halide lamps installed at 16 feet. Because the luminaires have integral ballasts, they hang about 12 feet above the hardwood floor, with the spacing at 12’ x 16’ on center. David Sorensen, owner, Jackson Electric, Inc., Sheridan, installed the luminaires.

“The Illuminaire fixtures were very easy to install,” said Sorensen. “We were also able to get the units in a very timely manner.”

The Illuminaire units with Crest optics provide 25 percent uplight and 75 percent downlight to focus customer attention on the merchandise. Illumination levels exceed 95 footcandles.

“These units really show off the merchandise,” said Smith. “The fixtures place the light where it is needed to create a much brighter environment than was possible with the fluorescent system. The store virtually sparkles—especially in the house wares department where the toasters and glassware have never looked so good.”

According to Smith, the Illuminaire fixtures provide three times the light using the same amount of energy required for the fluorescent system. The Holophane system includes 36 lamps and ballasts, compared to the 240 lamps and 120 ballasts that were used with the fluorescent system. Lamp costs are about half as much with the metal halide system as with the fluorescent luminaries and require less maintenance.

“We were changing out the fluorescent lamps about every two-and-a-half years and replacing the ballasts almost constantly,” said Smith. “The metal halide lamps will not need to be changed for more than five years, which means the system is maintenance-free until 2009.”

While Smith feels the glass lens attracts less dust than a plastic globe, he said he and his staff will dust the fixtures off a couple of times each year to maintain the units’ efficiency. He also plans to group re-lamp the luminaires to avoid any lamp burn outs that might detract from the store’s appearance.

“The Illuminaire fixtures are a vast improvement over the fluorescent system,” Smith concluded. “Even though none of our customers have specifically commented on the lighting, they have noticed a difference in the way the store looks. The store and merchandise draw people’s attention—even from the street.”


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