It started with a chocolate chip cookie.
Harvey Hoffman’s business, HomeHandyGuy Inc. saw him renovating residential kitchens in Edmonton. While working on one client’s home, she expressed her frustration about a problem common to kitchens at the time – the heat of the under-cabinet light had melted the bag of chocolate chips in the cupboard so she couldn’t make the cookies she wanted.
“This sent me on a search for a better light and I discovered a new world of LED lighting,” says Hoffman, president and founder of LED Lights Canada. Initially he launched as a web business only selling under-cabinet kitchen lights and drivers, but the company is now a thriving full service wholesale and retail LED lighting supplier with a showroom and warehouse on the south side of Edmonton.
As a kitchen renovator he relied on his electrician to help source parts and after expressing an interest in finding LED lights, he was pleased when his electrician showed up with some great products. He thought nothing of it until he needed more – and discovered the products came from the trunk of a guy’s car!
Now, don’t panic. These were legitimate purchases all around. The problem was, back in the early 2000s, LED lights were not popular in North America. A few very forward-thinking entrepreneurs were interested, including the young man that imported them and drove around selling them from his trunk. At first Harvey was startled to hear about the seemingly clandestine purchases, but later had to laugh as he started selling the products as well – from the bay of a storage facility!
The truth was, these guys were ahead of their time. LED lights made the leap from obscurity to wild popularity within a few short years, but it was guys like “John the electrician” and Hoffman that were early to recognize the technology’s potential in Edmonton.
In 2008 Hoffman wrapped HomeHandyGuy up so he could focus on LED Lights Canada. He spent two years operating from that storage unit, then moved three times between 2010 and 2018 to accommodate the company’s rapid growth. Today you’ll find him at 4404 97 Street NW with an impressive product list that includes a full range of LED lights and accessories.
That’s not all you’ll get at LED Lights Canada.
“Our goal is to work hard and be nice,” describes Hoffman of the workplace culture he and operations manager Sarah Ouwendyk embody along with their team. “Dealing with a constantly changing new technology gives us the opportunity to seek out new products and share the knowledge with our customers. We want to offer more than just a good price. Service and custom-designed lighting is what we are all about. We also offer many products (not seen on our website) for the commercial market and are designing kitchen lights in custom sizes to provide perfect solutions for homeowners.”
Hoffman and Ouwendyk are adamant about educating the public about LED lighting, especially since many lights available for direct purchase on giant online retail sites do not always meet Canadian safety standards.
“Education is everything,” Hoffman emphasizes. “There is so much misleading information out there about what LED lights can and cannot do. We strive to inform in an accurate way that makes sense to everyone. We want to be thought of as the place to go for LED solutions. If we don’t have what you need, we will help you find it, first from a local competitor and then online. We may not make that sale, but most people appreciate the help and seek us out for their next purchase.”
LED lights are still evolving, and LED Lights Canada keeps pace with the rapid turnover in technology.
Ouwendyk explains, “LED grow lights will most likely become the way much of our food is grown since vertical farming is very popular in other countries, and also now in Edmonton. Grow lights are used for much more than growing cannabis. Also, studies have been done using LED lights to combat jet lag; and, using LED lights, our current WiFi will become LiFi. This shift offers greater bandwidth to handle today’s changing online world.”
Still in its infancy, LiFi will enable strong and reliable internet signals in places where radio waves cannot be used. It is the next generation of wireless technology.
It’s been a whirlwind since Hoffman observed a bag of melted chocolate chips and went on the hunt for a viable lighting solution. Thanks to his tenacity, he was one of the hardworking entrepreneurs to help bring the LED light market to Edmonton. Now, he and Ouwendyk continue to service a rapidly growing company that not only provides outstanding products and remains on the forefront of LED technology, they also ensure Edmontonians get the information they need for the safest, most reliable, and efficient lighting.
Hoffman and Ouwendyk thank their customers and suppliers for their years of support. Hoffman further thanks his wife for her unwavering commitment in supporting him as an entrepreneur, and for her encouragement over the years.
“Being low key, we don’t make a big deal about what we do,” Hoffman concludes with a smile. “Our recognition comes from the results our customers receive, for staying in business for 15 years, and continuing to grow the company.”
Learn more at www.ledlightscanada.com online and
@LedLightsCanada on Facebook and Instagram.