Made in the USA
Star LED is disrupting the lighting industry, creating jobs and expanding LED awareness in the U.S. with its new Tennessee manufacturing plant
Star LED, a manufacturer, distributor and wholesaler of LED lighting products, recently took a big step toward advancing the LED lighting industry. The global company, with headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale and operations in Australia and New Zealand, has traditionally manufactured its products in China. Now, Star LED is bringing jobs and technological awareness to the U.S. with the recent opening of a 55,000-square-foot U.S. manufacturing facility and showroom in Mountain City, Tennessee.
Tapping into Market Flexibility
The Star LED team, led by CEO, Charlie Blanco, Sales Director, Phil Kloc and its Founder and main investor, Garry Garoni, is very excited about the potential this U.S. presence creates for the company, which has been in business approximately 10 years internationally (four years in the U.S.). Garoni remarks, “The big thing about Mountain City, Tennessee, is that it’s a hub zone—or an underutilized business zone. In Tennessee, there’s a lot of incentive to bring manufacturing back to the United States. This gives Star LED a lot more flexibility; it allows us to look at where the market’s going and how the market’s going to determine what we’re going to manufacture.”
Garoni, who has been involved in the green movement since the 90s, was an award-winning homebuilder back in Australia, building high-end energy-efficient homes and educating Australians on how to save energy; of course, LED was a big part of that. As he grew the business in China and other parts of the world—eventually focusing more on commercial and marine construction—he realized that the United States was very much behind when it came to energy efficiency. Garoni saw endless possibilities, noting, “There was—and is—great opportunity in the U.S. market to educate people toward energy efficiency, especially LED lighting, and the capabilities of what LED lighting can offer businesses and large companies.”
Big Projects, Bright Future
Currently, Star LED does a lot of large retrofits and superyachts. It is also an approved vendor for Home Depot, which carries Star LED’s low voltage line of light. They’ve done multiple projects for such giants as Exxon Mobil, Caterpillar and Papa John’s Pizza restaurant chain as well as courthouses, jails, highways, warehouses and supermarkets. Garoni says, “We’re demonstrating to these large companies and government entities the future and the technology for light emitting diodes versus your old antiquated system of lighting.”
Lighting a New Path
Beyond the benefits of LED lighting itself, Star LED has set itself apart from other companies due to its unique capability to design, manufacture, distribute and also do the installs. Garoni proudly shares, “We are upsetting a lot of the large companies that are stuck in the way they do things. We really are a disruptor in the lighting industry in the United States, which is still very antiquated and very traditional. Our customers are starting to see the way forward of what LED technology can do for their business—and it’s not just the LED products, which have a multitude of aesthetic, energy-efficiency and quality-of-life advantages. This technology can be incorporated into security and monitoring, too, like acoustic sensors in light fittings.”
Garoni remarks that what he has noticed in the last few months since they built the manufacturing facility and completed the showroom is that they are disrupting a lot of their competitors with what they’re doing. He says, “I think when you start to see your competitors in the industry—and even some Fortune 500 companies—take notice of you, it’s a good thing. It means people are starting to understand and appreciate what we’re doing.”
When asked about his team, Garoni proudly shares, “I think they’re more educated than those you’d find at most other companies in regards to LED because we just specialize in LED, whereas a lot of the companies in the U.S. are concentrating on a whole range of lighting—from incandescent lighting to halogen lighting. LED is all we do so we’re completely up to speed with the latest advancements of LED technology.”
An Open Approach Toward Success
As to the company’s business philosophy, Garoni and his leadership team—CEO/President and stockholder Charlie Blanco and Phil Kloc, who is also a stockholder as well as the head of sales and marketing—take an open, design approach, looking at what the customer is really trying to achieve, and giving the customer all the technological advancements of lighting and security.
Now, with the Tennessee facility up and running, Star LED can take on any project, big or small, start to finish. The company is better positioned than ever to bring LED technology to the forefront of the U.S. lighting industry.