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RAB Lighting: Partner in Arms

RAB Lighting: Partner in Arms

RAB Lighting’s business model embraces electrical distributors – and distributors appreciate the support.


Ever since its founding in 1946, Northvale, NJ-based RAB Lighting (www.rablighting.com), a manufacturer of a broad range of LED lighting and control solutions, has been know for its exceptional quality, customer service, and value – as well as its unwavering commitment to the electrical distribution channel.

“RAB is unique as a lighting manufacturer in that we exclusively serve the electrical distribution channel — a choice which has shaped our strategy for decades and delivers a tangible benefit to us, distributors, and reps,” explains RAB CEO Ross Barna. “It allows us to focus resources, shape policies and programs, and genuinely partner with the single largest channel for lighting products. Contractors and end users also benefit from this partnership because distributors are able to better support them knowing that RAB has consistently been there for them in the past and will be there for them in the future,” he says.

According to Barna, RAB’s loyalty to distributors has informed many of the company’s key tactical directions over time. For instance, he shared, “in recent years as the ESCO business has grown, RAB has made the strategic decision to support the ESCO business through distribution instead of selling direct to ESCOs, which has allowed us to further strengthen our partnership with distributors who are sometimes left out of the ESCO business by other larger lighting manufacturers.” Amid the ongoing challenges presented by margin pressure in the lighting industry, “we feel that this strategy speaks volumes to the commitment RAB has made to distribution and ‘pays back’ in terms of the loyalty to RAB’s stock and flow and discretionary project business which distributors have demonstrated,” he said.

Most recently, RAB launched a strong portfolio of LED lamps which is focused on distributor stock and flow and discretionary project business. “I’m personally very excited about this launch, as my great-grandfather was a lamp salesman — lamps are a part of my DNA!” said Barna. “Our channel strategy, combined with the breadth and depth of our lamp line, make it very attractive for distributors to consolidate their lamp business with RAB. I think that it really speaks to the value that RAB brings to the distributor with our ‘Make it Easy’ policies, single channel commitment, and emphasis on helping distributors succeed.”

According to Barna, distributor response to RAB’s laser-focused channel strategy has been even more positive than expected. “I and other members of our RAB leadership team just spent a week in December calling on 100 customers and soliciting honest feedback about what we could do better,” he said. “In addition to their excitement regarding our entry into the lamps market, the most common response shared by distributors during our calls was ‘keep doing what you’re doing.’”

A Beneficial Business Model

The team from All-Phase Electric Supply (www.all-phaselansing.com), a CA-based distributor with over 600 locations from coast to coast, agree that RAB’s unique devotion to the distributor community has fueled a positive partnership which delivers a host of benefits.

“We’ve been carrying RAB products for over a decade and appreciate their overall channel strategy and how their business model functions,” shares Craig Bolthouse, manager at All-Phase in Sturgis, MI, which serves southwest Michigan and northern Indiana. “They’re a large corporation with a mom-and-pop-shop feel, are easy to work with, offer phenomenal customer service, and go out of their way to make things simple for us. RAB’s lumen output per watt is also second-to-none, but they always continue to innovate, move forward, and get even better,” he says.

In addition, “RAB really understands our customers – electricians – and have engineered their products to be easy to use in the field, which allows us to support our contractors in a way that nobody else does,” Bolthouse says. “They truly understand the flow of their product, from sale to installation.”

Overall, “RAB avoids the approach of trying to sell everything to everyone and instead does a great job of focusing on and supporting distributors,” Bolthouse says. “It’s nice to have their support and there’s a value to us in partnering with a manufacturer like RAB which delivers ease of doing business. It’s like having an extra employee on our team.”

Nick Schacher, manager at All-Phase Electric in Lansing, MI, agrees. “Some of the things I enjoy most about working with RAB are the ease of doing business with them and the quality of their products,” Schacher said. “RAB’s LED product offering continues to grow and we’re excited to grow along with them. It’s a great feeling to work with a manufacturer who truly values the distributor.”

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Susan Bloomis a 25-year veteran of the lighting and electrical products industry. Reach her at susan.bloom.chester@gmail.com.

Discussion (1 comments)

    Judy Goldstein January 3, 2024 / 11:28 am

    Hi Ross, my name is Judy Goldstein and lately I’ve been thinking about you and your parents. My husband Artie Goldstein proudly represented your line for probably over 30 years as president of Damin sales in NJ and NY. I now live in LA and a small apartment building a block away from me just relandscaped and installed about 20 of your lights, with RAB on each and every one! Boy is that bringing back memories. I fondly remember your folks and going to a many electrical meetings with them.
    I hope all is well with you. Happy New Year!
    Sincerely, Judy Goldstein.

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