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Bright Idea(s) fill need as new homes go up
Biz moore-cam
Jan Moore
    I reported two weeks ago on the large number of single family residential housing building permits that had been issued by Bulloch County in January and February of this year. There were approximately 200 issued in the past two months with only 91 being issued in the county for the same period last year.
    My point was as the country as a whole continues to post drops in housing sales and building, we are posting record numbers in the building area. So, as you may imagine, there has been much speculation locally regarding our unusual building "trend" and whether or not it will continue unabated.
    Well, only time will tell, but one local business person has reacted to the increased amount of building by renovating her showroom and upgrading the display areas within it. Natalie Howard, owner of Bright Ideas Lighting Center on Northside Drive, said she felt it was time to remodel as it had been ten years since she built the facility.
    "Ninety percent of my business is related to new construction," Howard said. "The past few years I have said to myself that the amount of construction here would have to slow down. I just couldn't imagine it continuing at this pace."
    "It hasn't slowed, and I don't know when and if it will, but I need my business to be as up-to-date as it can be, so I decided to go ahead and do the work that was needed," she said.
    Howard said the renovation to her 3,500 square foot showroom will allow her to offer the latest in lighting design.
    "We are blessed in that we have customers from Bulloch and surrounding counties, including Chatham," she said. "We serve a large area, and therefore, I need to be competitive and in keeping with the latest trends."
    A seasoned veteran of the construction industry, Howard said she feels there is slight downward trend coming, but she isn't really worried yet.
    "I have seen a little bit of a slowdown, but not much. I think we are going to continue to build a stronger rate than most of the country," she said. "And if that is the case, we will be okay."
    "I had a 16 percent increase in sales in 2006 from the previous year which I did not expect. To be honest, I have no idea what to expect this year. Let's just hope that things continue along at a steady pace."
    Until next week, I bid adieu.

    Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or e-mail her at jmoore@statesboroherald.net