STORE SPACES

Lighting giant in name change

BY Marianne Wilson

Philips Lighting is changing its name.

The company’s new name is Signify. The new moniker originates from the fact “that light becomes an intelligent language, which connects and conveys meaning.” The company, however, will continue to use the Philips brand on its products.

“We’re excited to announce our new company name as another step in our transformation journey,” said Eric Rondolat, CEO of Philips Lighting. “Our new company name is a clear expression of our strategic vision and a fabulous opportunity to introduce a new corporate look and feel that is uniquely our own and will serve to further unite our 32,000 employees. At the same time, we remain proud to continue to use the Philips brand on our products.”

Philips Lighting’s roots date back more than 125 years to the business founded by Frederik and Gerard Philips in 1891 in the Dutch town of Eindhoven. Throughout its history, the company has been at the forefront of many of the lighting industry’s major advancements. Today, it leads the industry worldwide in conventional, LED and connected lighting, with the largest connected lights network in the world.

The Philips Lighting stock exchange ticker will remain LIGHT.

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And the SPECS Tank winner is…

BY Marianne Wilson

Leveraging the industry’s keen interest in retail innovation, Chain Store Age’s 2018 SPECS conference, held at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas, included a first: the SPECS Tank Innovator of the Year award. The winner was determined during a presentation that followed the format of the popular television show that has contestants pitch their new (or on-the-boards) products or solutions in front of a panel of judges (“sharks”).

In the SPECS version, five contestants faced the sharks. Each individual was given four minutes to pitch their products, after which the SPECS sharks were given time to ask the contestant follow-up questions.

The sharks, all members of the SPECS 2018 Advisory Board, were: Randy Pannell, VP of construction for Saks Fifth Avenue; Craig Hale, associate, HFA; Lisa Smola-Hollo, project manager, growth and development, Ulta Beauty; and Wendy Whetton, senior facilities project manager for Harbor Freight Tools. Scott Griffin, director of store design and construction for Stein Mart, and also a SPECS advisory board member, served as emcee.

WINNER: Mike Rose, CEO of Heritage Fire and Security Hackensack, N.J., took home the SPECS Tank Innovator of the Year award with his newly patented invention: the RHGP-1 range hood grease protection device.

“During normal kitchen operation in a restaurant operation, grease-laden smoke rises into the range hood,” Rose explained to the judges. “This grease can clog up components of the fire suppression system.”

The RHGP-1 device installs inside the range hood pipe and is rotated 90 degrees to lock it in place — protecting the detection cable and pipe from clogging caused by the grease-laden vapors and allowing the system to operate as intended. Removal involves a simple twist and turn, and the device is discarded and replaced.

Rose’s winning invention — the RHGP-1 range hood grease protection device — will be officially unveiled at the National Association of State Fire Marshalls’ annual conference in Park City, Utah, on August 13.

In addition to Heritage Fire and Security’s Rose, who made the winning pitch, four other contestants were presenters on the SPECS Tank stage. They were:

Ray Salzer, principal, Salzer Products, who unveiled his innovative snow melt solution called “Melt Jet;”

Lisa Schwartz, president, ProCoat, who demonstrated the company’s new acoustical ceiling tile spray, along with the spray adapter and extension pole;

Brent Bishop, VP of sales and operations, North America, Mapal Plastics, who introduced a new recyclable foam polypropylene sheet called PolyCraft; and

Rob Reiter, chief security consultant, Calpipe Security Bollards, who proposed a new way to monetize security bollards by creating a promotional network to make bollards cash positive for retailers.

The individuals who made it to the SPECS Shark Tank were selected from a pool of diverse submissions. A SPECS Tank session is already in the works for SPECS 2019.

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Making the Business Case for Renewable Energy

BY Joe Rinzel

When it comes to energy, most retailers, restaurateurs, hoteliers and small business owners rightfully think primarily about how much energy they are using in their establishment and of course, the cost of that energy.

Most employers concern themselves with how efficiently they are using energy and many are taking significant steps to be as efficient as possible. More and more however, employers are not only thinking about how efficiently they are using the resource but how efficiently the resource is being produced.

Small business owners know all too well the energy crunch in which they seem to permanently find themselves. Deemed “light commercial” by the energy companies, they don’t have nearly the levels of usage that the manufacturing sector has and therefore, don’t qualify for discounted rates.

Additionally, they don’t enjoy the subsidized rates that homeowners – as in voters — have gotten from local politicians and public utility commissions. They are caught in an energy Catch 22 — too small for the big discounts, not politically powerful enough to be subsidized. That dilemma is only getting worse as the modern tech and online economy continues to grow exponentially and the data centers that they rely on are placing new energy demands on the grid. Essentially modern online retailers are using energy at a rate that traditional manufacturers have and it is growing by the day.

For traditional retailers and small business owners, the squeeze is tightening and they are absorbing costs that their online competitors are shedding. And there really hasn’t been much they can do about it. That is until now.

Sustainability isn’t just about being green — its about having reliable sources of energy that their business and our national economy can rely on for generations. It’s smart business. That’s why more and more American companies are demanding renewable energy options to power their businesses than ever before, further proving that sustainability and profitability are not mutually exclusive.

Fortune 500 companies from a wide variety of industries understand that clean energy not only reduces their carbon footprint, it also makes sound business sense impacting their bottom lines. Many retailers and small business operators are doing the same. They know that they have to not only achieve rate fairness in the near term but energy security in the long term — for their businesses and for the country.

As Ikea CFO Rob Olson recently said, “we are committed to renewable energy and to running our business in a way that minimizes our carbon emissions, not only because of the environmental impact, but also because it makes good financial sense. We invest in our own re energy sources so that we can control our exposure to fluctuating electricity costs and continue providing great value to our customers.”

With that same intent, many large employers have come together to form Employers for Renewable Energy to bring a business voice to the energy debate and use our collective efforts to push our energy companies to leverage renewable sources. We represent job creators nationwide who support federal and state policies that enable greater customer choice of renewable energy and strong competition among producers. That’s how we do business and that is how the energy producers should do business as well. Our economic future depends on it.

Joe Rinzel is executive director of Employers For Renewable Energy. He can be reached at [email protected]

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