The warm glow emanating from the Econo-Lite booth at the JA New York Summer Show came from more than just the array of lights being displayed. It was also created by the excitement and enthusiasm of the company’s new owners: Jeffrey Gasman and Howard Gurock.
Childhood friends, the two had always talked about owning a business together. Gasman, a national radio station executive and Gurock, a corporate trial attorney, were successful in their careers but yet desperately wanted to do something new.
Gasman learned that George Halvatzis, the longtime owner of Econo-Lite Products was retiring and putting his company up for sale. Gasman approached Gurock with the opportunity.
“I said, ‘Do this with me or don’t ever complain to me again about your job,'” Gasman said.
They openly admit they knew nothing about lighting or the jewelry industry, but they do know business. They liked the company and saw its potential for growth. “George ran a great company,” Gasman said.
They bought the company in April, retaining Halvatzis with a lifetime contract as a consultant.
“We bought this company with the intention of growing,” Gurock said.
The two spent the next few months learning everything they could about lighting and the jewelry industry, including taking classes a local colleges.
They recently moved the company from Jersey City, N.J., to a larger manufacturing facility in Tappan, N.Y., their hometown. And they’ve introduced new products—including custom-designed Metal-Halide pendant fixtures and a line of what they call “Astro track” lighting, Metal Halide lamps with specially designed housing that allows each lamp to deliver up to 400 foot candles of even light for a six-foot showcase.
Growing the company also means venturing into new areas of opportunity. Right now, they are targeting automobile showrooms, optical stores, and hair salons.
But they said they are most enthused about working in the jewelry industry and have no plans to move on if they are successful in other areas. Gasman quickly summed up how they feel about the industry: “I love it.”