No space goes to waste in Zionsville, Indiana when it comes to establishing new businesses. Churches can become art galleries and fire stations become antique malls … and lighting stores. Such is the story of the Firehouse Antiques and the Zionsville Lighting Company which established their business over twelve years ago in the old Zionsville fire station. The Zionsville Lighting Company makes custom lamp shades, the only such place in the Indianapolis area. They have the largest supply of in-stock lamp shades, having over two thousand in stock.
They actually had their origins in Indianapolis. For a long time, no one did custom lampshades. About 14 years ago, Speedway Lamp Shop (established in 1927) and Brown’s Antiques (established in the 1940s) began trading customers back and forth depending on their needs. In the fall of 1997, they joined to buy the Old Fire Station in downtown Zionsville and renovated it. The Firehouse Antiques and the Zionsville Lighting Company opened in January 1998.
Tim Overmyer has been in retail all his life. Originally used to fill space and generate additional income, Firehouse Antiques had twenty two antique dealers. With the economy the way it is, the antique side of things fell off. But as it did, the light business expanded.
Custom making a lamp is a simple process. A customer brings in a lamp in that needs a shade. They are shown the store and the catalog that has the frames and styles available. They pick a frame which can have the height changed or make other adjustments like expanding the top or base. After that, fabrics are chosen from over three hundred in stock, from linens to animal prints to checks to any of a wide assortment. Once the fabric and lining are chosen, the customer can then pick the various fringes, gimps, and braids to trim out their shade.
Tim Overmyer gave the example of a gentlemen from Texas who regularly goes to China to buy vases. The Zionsville Lighting Company drills them and makes lamps out of them. Then makes custom shades to go with them. Their products are every bit as much Zionsville art as Zionsville business.