Lighting Up the Holiday Spirit

04 Nov 2021

Full-service light installations kickstart holiday cheer

By Judy Royal  »  Photos by Brandon Williams

It’s not unusual to see Christmas decorations popping up before Halloween, and while there are some who bemoan this practice, others think it’s never too early. One local business definitely falls into the latter category.

Patriot Illumination has been providing Christmas light installation in the Wilmington, Leland, Hampstead and Jacksonville areas since 2017, and owner JC Chanowsky stays in holiday mode all year long.

“Our Christmas light season never really ends, as we are always working on new projects and planning projects for the following year,” Chanowsky says. “We do tend to get busy in July because there’s something about Christmas in July that gets everyone excited. Our first install of the season is October 1st, and we always get the ‘but it’s not even Halloween yet.’ My response is usually, ‘Trust me. We actually wanted to install these lights last month.’ With over 200 homes and businesses on the schedule, each year we have to start earlier to make sure we can have all the lights hung in time for our customers to enjoy them.”

Patriot Illumination grew out of Chanowsky’s pressure washing business, Cape Fear Pro Wash, which he started in 2009. The Navy veteran was at an industry convention four years ago when a sign that read “We Hang Christmas Lights” sparked an idea.

“When they told me I can help other homeowners bring out their inner Clark Griswold, my eyes lit up brighter than a Christmas bulb,” Chanowsky says. “When I was a kid, we would drive around each weekend looking at all the houses in different neighborhoods, and no matter how big or how small the house was, each one brought smiles to our faces. Thirty years later, it brings great joy to know that there are families driving around smiling at night because of the work our team has done.”

Anyone with a house or business storefront can benefit from Patriot Illumination’s services, Chanowsky says. There are four steps to the process: free custom design, installation, maintenance and removal. The all-inclusive packages come to life after one of four teams completes the work. Each team member goes through a four-day training course to learn how to safely and properly hang Christmas lights. The goal is to minimize stress and maximize enjoyment for the owner of the home or business.

“My favorite thing is seeing our customers and their kids smile when they see their lights on for the first time,” Chanowsky says. “I’m always surprised how many customers never knew about this service. We hear all the time that they never knew this was a thing and wish they found us years ago.”

Ashley Tatum and her family have been Patriot Illumination customers for the past three seasons, taking advantage of the opportunity to make their 6,500-square-foot home in Wilmington’s Middle Sound neighborhood look as festive as possible. She says their second- and third-story porches make it a job that would be tricky for her family members to tackle themselves.

“They came out and did all the work in only a few hours, and it was easy and quick,” Tatum says. “They were in and out and everything looked immaculate, and the fact that we didn’t have to store anything was nice. It makes us very happy and excited, and it definitely starts gearing us up for the holidays. We highly recommend this great company and plan to keep using them every year.”

Chanowsky says customer satisfaction is what sets Patriot Illumination apart from the rest.

“We care,” he says. “We make sure every job has met and exceeded our standards. If we have underbid a job that needed more lights than we quoted, we are adding those lights at no extra costs because we will not walk off a job knowing we could have done better. Christmas is a special time for everyone and knowing that we can help bring smiles to our customers, their neighbors, friends or relatives is what makes this job even more special to us.”

In the spirit of the season, Chanowsky looks for ways to spread Christmas cheer to those who may need it the most.

“Each year we look to give back more to our communities, and this year we will be donating over $5,000 in Christmas light installations to military families and other families that could use a little extra Christmas spirit,” he says. “This month we donated pink Christmas lights to five homes for breast cancer survivors or those currently battling breast cancer.”

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