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Lighting Supplies

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Dani, May 24, 2007.

  1. Dani

    Dani Member

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    Where have you guys purchased lighting supplies and parts from? What are some of the best places to work with?
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    BMI Supply is a good place, as well as Production Advantage. You also should look into local companies in your area. Sometimes if you start up a good relationship with a local company they will start to try and give you the best deals they can.
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Although you can beat them with price sometimes, you can't beat the service of having a relationship with a local dealer. Having the ability to call your buddy and have something waiting for you to swing through and pick it up is great. Over time you will get deals nearly as good as the internet as they know you and cut you a deal. Finally where do you go when your console needs repair? Having a local dealer you trust is critical at times like that.

    I don't know your local scene but Barbizon is a nationwide chain with regional reps that you can work with. They are really nice people.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2007
  4. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    I will third that motion. About a year ago, I found myself needing 2 clamps and 2 lamps at 8pm on a Friday night. I called the shop manager at the place in town that I buy my gear and they not only were able to help me, the shop manager had one of the techs pick them up from the shop and bring them to my job site. There was no additional cost for the extra service! I now get a discount on everything that I rent and pay no more than 10% over their cost for all of my gear.

    When I do buy used gear online, I buy from usedlighting.com (4Wall's site) and www.aceydecy.com. I have been very happy with both.
     
  5. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    You'll find friendly and knowledgeable people at www.entsyscorp.com
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2007
  6. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    Sorry Bill. Your company is great also! I was just pricing gear on your website last night.
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    If you are shopping the net do give Bill a call he's been a good supporter of Control Booth for a couple years now and deserves a few of our dollars.

    Again back to local service... I was renting some gear from my local shop and one of the units wasn't working. The owner came out well after closing to swap it out with another unit. If I have a problem that I'm not sure if I can repair myself or if I'm just troubleshooting. I call my friend Carl the repair guy at the local shop and ask him. 15 years of customer loyalty has it's benefits.
     
  8. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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  9. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    Well, it depends on how you look at it. I ordered a handful of lights from BMI not that long ago, and the price of their S4 Leko's were $289.60, as compared to $268.99 at Premier Lighting. My local shop gave me a quote that was the same as Premier's. At BMI, however, the fixture comes with a lamp (take your pick between 575 or 750 watt), a megaclamp, and a safety cable. I think that this is a better deal. I think the $21 difference is worth a lamp, a cable, and a clamp (about a $30 value - lamp $15+, cable $2.50+, clamp $10+).
     
  10. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Yup, lots of good lighting companies about, I can think of at least six primary theater suppliers in the Chicago area and that's not including production companies that also retail. Most cities will have at least one or two or more.

    Than there is also McMaster Carr - they sell everything, if they don't stock it, they can get it - and normally at a very decent price.
     
  11. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    just out of curiosity ship, who are your choice suppliers in chicago?
     
  12. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Back when I was in college and given the chance, I would gladly make the 140+ mile trip to Design Lab Chicago. Just something about their old building, the sales staff etc. that would always make a happy visit even if for only something small and my stocking up on what I could of the free samples they constantly offered. Could have easily and more effectively gone to their now defunct Farmingcale branch, but for me the Chicago Branch was Theater. Got my first swag shirt from them even if I got chided about having had to pay for it. Also got “Old Rover” from them, it was a 1K Fresnel they named and sold at a discount as used gear. Still have Old Rover hanging in my garage, it has a history and has a lot of shows under it’s belt. Has a certain meaning for me - a shop that names their fixtures or at least some of them. I normally also name my own unique fixtures but less so such as “Faith Wall #8."

    Always liked Design Lab Chicago over places I was aware of like Grand Stage in the big two of three. The sales staff at Grand Stage back than for me seemed somewhat snotty and to have an air to them in lacking interest in me hanging about and associating with a small time customer. This was well before I at one point got an interview with them and wasn’t qualified - their loss in me ending up where I did these days in doing what I do. These days Grand Stage is no doubt fine, I walk in there infrequently and get treated well enough granted I have more experience than the sales staff as common to most places of the floor staff, thus know what I want and understand waiting for the sales ticket while they are experiencing stuff like computer problems or in finding stuff on it. It’s impressive enough in knowing where I work that I get extra attention I suppose in some ways, or otherwise that I seem to know what I’m doing. I understand their tribulations, but even with the move Design Lab did to a not so nice “Trixie a offering” neighborhood, (yep been offered during my only visit) and the new building, it’s still in many ways more home for me in less bull in a china shop and more just techie to techie. That’s a personal choice on my part not reflective of who stocks what or the quality of either.

    Chicago Spotlight is the primary dealer for one of my mentors. He goes way back in the industry to a point pre-dating most theater supply/rental houses in having his own company F&S if I remember the name correctly, and has nothing kind to say about the owner of Design Lab. This is also reflected by one of the key designers he works with that was at one point a seemingly in-part owner of the company that has little use for them now.

    What ever the case, Grand Stage in also being quite large and decent and also have their Art Drapery Service the others don’t. Chicago Spotlight now also does rigging in addition to Grand and Chicago Scenic Studios (who has also been known to stock & retail gear), Grand sews drapes beyond just buying them from others. These are or were for me the main theater suppliers/renters in the down town Chicago area. For those on the North Side of Chicago, they often shopped at either ILC or Upstaging depending upon how far North or now West for Upstaging in having moved, you are. Go far enough North and Mainstage Theatrical in Milwaukee Wisconson in all ways being similar in rigging and theater supply to Grand was also a good supplier.

    Barbizon also has a branch in Chicago but it is more an office space with a small amount of studio gear in stock. Most stuff in it being a small office had to be ordered - still it was an office near the Elston Ave. Hub of great very well stocked Elston Great Ace Hardware and Menards is in a good location even if only an office space with normal working hours. Need Studio gear, they either have it or will call one of many movie houses in the area for you in getting it or even sending you to them. They still supply me with studio gear at times and or when I need stuff on quick notice can normally head me into the right direction. This is for studio gear what the Chicago branch more specilizes in.

    Also down Elston Ave. is Grainger who wants to also stock me with my lamps and or become known as a theater suppler. (deleted about the extent they wish for the S/S market in sales.) Again as listed... McMaster Carr also has a Chicago are branch and can also be considered a theater supplier in many items including lamps.

    (At times I’m in my own little heck for dealing with suppliers when they pleed to get a sale and I can’t even tell them a starting price to look towards in only getting pennies per say lamp. This as opposed to the days when I was the TD to a theater and paying more than at times 65% what I currently pay for similar lamps also doesn’t sit well with me. Incredible at times the markup on lamps and other stuff. I try where possible not to be a sales person, just can’t do it - not in me any longer where it was not a direct specific markup above cost. Those resale accounts I do handle have a specific and fair 20% markup for what I sell I had to get approved of in “good guy discount.” Hate retail sales, used to do it back in college at the special order desk to both Builder’s Square and Hines Lumber. Back than, it was specific markup and the challenge of getting what the customer wanted. These days ... I try not to mess with retail and just stick to being the buyer which has it’s own competition problems.)

    Beyond this, there is Pete’s Lights / Performance Lighting (on the North/North West Side), and TLC on the South Side of the Chicago area. While these two companies are production houses and are not as known as theater suppliers that have say direct accounts with say J.R. Clancy all the above have no doubt or have similar accounts with for something like a head block, they can also get most stuff. Len is also on the South Side I believe somewhere and has the ability to retail gear as with lots of other (no cold shoulder to a reputable member that is a very valid retailer) smaller scale production companies that can just as easily sell product plus provide good service.

    For lamps, there is Kennedy Webster down town that stocks lamps and lamp bases to most common including ETC fixtures and or Sitlers Supplies in Washington Iowa that often is just as good in stocking such things. Interlight out of Hammond Indiana while they didn’t play game with my initial lamp pricing but at retail is also very reliable as a lamp supplier. Brook Electric in Chicago also does Theater Supply to some extent in having a sales person that specilizes in say the Leviton gear line or in stocking what theaters use. Not so uncommon that a electrical supply if large enough will have a sales person that specilizes in such things or if the only game in town such as in Branson Missouri, the local electrical supply being also a theater supplier for the town.

    That’s all locally or in the Chicago area. (Probably missed quite a few suppliers that are as it were theater supplier sources also.) When I have shows on tour and they say blow out not just their 20% spares, but need a lamp or part within a few hours of the opening act, I have dealers all over the country if not world. Who ever is local I call around to becomes my next best friend be it theater supplier, production company or theater. Had believe it was Metallica at one point putting together some ghost light fixtures on stands a few years ago. They needed some mogul screw lamp bases in the San Francisco area like immediately - show opened in a few hours... noting like prior planning... Another buyer and I both hit the phone books and called absolutely everyone in that city before we found what became our local theater supplier for that city Victor Lamps & Parts Inc. who happened to have them in stock. Barbizon at one point saved me while in Denver in a show needing a lamp for a Lycian 1271 follow spot, other instances of even TMB in California sending a runner out to say Kino Flo and dropping it off at the show site for me. All Bulbs drop shipping lamps overnight to Birmingham England not once but twice two days in a row after normal shipping hours. This was for lamps our sister company in England didn’t have, nor did TMB / London have in stock though they were another choice. Often West Coast suppliers have the advantage for me given I don’t normally get my call for getting stuff overnighted until well after my own shipping hours. If before say six PM, normally I can get stuff out the door in my area, otherwise after that I have to contact West Coast suppliers. Something early in the morning, it’s East Coast but normally it’s mainly West Coast suppliers I rely upon say a last minute call to Ushio for a overnight delivery. Bulbman, Bulbtronics, Multi-Lite even MoonLight and Premere etc. often are also useful there.

    For the most part, my main suppliers are the manufacturers or their chosen local supplier that has special discounted prices for what I want. If say I want a Altman, I E-Mail my rep at Altman. If I want an ETC, I do the same... If I want a Martin... These days I go direct but between the other primary buyer and I, amongst other buyers we spend over like two or three million a year in purchases. Already bought enough lamps this year to purchase a large house. Already bought enough plugs this year to purchase a car. Bit larger scale.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2007
  13. dvlasak

    dvlasak Active Member

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    I just received some mic cable from them. Better price than I can get from my local suppliers.

    Dennis
     
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Oh almost forgot, for dj lighting and low end audio gear (like if you just need a microphone and a few cables) www.musiciansfriend.com often has great deals. I once got a really nice wireless SM58 for a little over $200 on a closeout deal.

    I know wrong forum... but even the best of us occasionally have to dabble on the noise side.
     
  15. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    I agree about Musicians Friend, as well as www.pssl.com. The best part of musicians friend is their "Stupid Deal of the Day". It updates daily and has one piece of gear for about 50% off of their normal cost. Yesterday thay had AKG mic's, today it is a bass guitar. Just check out www.musiciansfriend.com/stupid .

    I would not look to them for any pro gear (audio or sound) and their regular prices are no lower than what the manufacturer requires their lowest price to be. My local dealer only marks up any order about 5% for his loyal and regular customers (especially if you rent a lot of gear from him). For instance, a Shure SM-58 mic, which is no less than $99 anywhere else, is $87. The S4 Leko's are $280 and S4 pars are less than $135. If you purchase something and make it available for him to rent out (especially if it the same as he carries....scrollers, rotators, psu, fixtures, etc) he doesn't mark it up at all and charges his cost. It is a win-win scenario. If he rents my gear, he is responsible if getting damaged, and gives me 75% of what he charges for the rental. It is really easy money if it is something that I don't need right now. He finds the customers and does all the work, and I get the gear VERY CHEAP.

    Also, I shop the used dealers a great deal. Why buy something new just to rent it out. My fav site for used gear is www.lightbroker.com.
     
  16. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Deals yes, customer service..not so much.
    Sweetwater has both, and free shipping on almost everything(freight and some special orders excepted)
    http://www.sweetwater.com/
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Also don't miss their scratch and dent clearance stuff. They do special educational pricing but you have to call and speak to the right person to get it.
     
  18. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    We do rentals, too!

    Anyway, I am not advertising. I wanted to let you know about a good experience with a vendor. I am not a dealer for ETC, so I must order through a dealer. I usually order locally, but every once in a while I like to keep current with other vendors, just in case. I recently placed an order for a few Source Four lekos from BMI for an upcoming rental. I am selling off all of my older 575watt S4's and replacing them with 750's. Anyway, I needed the fixtures for a customer tomorrow. I received all but one today, along with a few other things. I called today to check on this last fixture. They shipped it this morning from their NY office, but it won't arrive until Tuesday. They offered to overnight fedex me another unit, so I could have it tomorrow, and I was to just refuse the one on Tuesday when the other one arrives. They apologized several times and wanted to know what they could do to make me happy. There would be no extra charge for the shipping.

    There is another rental house in town that owed me a favor and I could just borrow one for the weekend, so there was no need for them to spend $50 for shipping, so I declined their offer. They said that if I ever needed anything to just call them and remind them about this, and they would make a not about it in my account.

    I have never ordered from BMI before, and saw that other people on this site recommended them, so I figured that I would give them a try. I am glad that I did. Yes, they did make a mistake....everyone does....but they really wanted to fix it. I will be back!
     
  19. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Which is the perfect solution to the problems that do happen at times. Well done for them and an earned customer in service and support as opposed to problems and wasted time as also happens at times. Good company as noted above, amongst many good companies.


    Recently I bought some equipment cases out of a distributer. Wrote on the Purchase order the date I needed these by, and gave at least a weeks lead time. Got four out of six cases, due date showed up and the other cases were still on back order. It's like, gee it was only written in 12pt bold text on the faxed in PO that I needed these cases by today, where are they? Gee, I'm sorry... something must have gone wrong. OK, I'll shop elsewhere later, how can we solve the problem now? Solution was the next case larger overnighted. What they didn't tell me was that I would get charged for overnighting them so as to cover for their mistake, much less also have to re-write my PO once the bill came to compensate for the full priced larger cases.

    Not enough, a few weeks later I needed four more cases of the same size. One would think after the rear I ripped into on the sales person last time, that this time they might get it right... nope. Two cases showed up on time, two more were back ordered without a call to tell me of any delay.

    Jumped over the sales people and explained the situation to one of their managers. Funny, I did get my two cases next day - only a day late, and it was written into my account that should I request stuff by a specified date, I had at best get it, or get a call when the order is typed in asking what to do about gear that would not be available on time. Hey, what a concept, perhaps it might spread.

    Last week I ordered even more of the same cases thru another supplier... yea, I just did a McMaster on them in calling it done. Paid a few more dollars but got them next day. Done ordering cases thru the half hazzard supplier. Dependability also plays a factor in returning customers.
     
  20. Mirrai

    Mirrai Member

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    So i have a question little off topic but it has been buggin me. When you guys say Source Four leko's you mean the ERS right? Its a term that I've never heard before. If my guess is right why do you call them leko's isn't that another brand of lighting istrument completely?

    Thanks
     

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