Services and Solutions for All

03 Jul 2024

From individual homeowners to premier builders, Capital Electric takes customer service to the next level

By Joe Jancsurak

The showroom with its myriad lighting options impresses, but there’s much more to Capital Electric than what meets the eye.

There on Castle Street across from the Mess Hall restaurant, cove, strip and step lighting products as well as decorative chandeliers, sconces, pendant fixtures and vanity lights make for attractive displays. A living room setup shows back lighting and recessed lighting options. And there are lit mirrors and a room full of lit fan options. Perhaps even more impressive than the bright and attractive showroom, however, are the advantages associated with being a part of something much bigger.

Last June, what had been Butler Electric Supply, a small family-owned business for 54 years, became one of 70 Capital Electric locations, which stretch from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania to Savannah, Georgia.  Headquartered in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Capital Electric U.S. is part of Paris, France-based Sonepar, a family-owned and operated multibillion-dollar global business with 80 brands spanning 40 countries.

While Sonepar and its Capital Electric subsidiary are huge, core values such as accountability, respect for colleagues, and an unwavering focus on customer service remain intact, bringing us back to the Wilmington location where Bryant Christie is showroom manager. Christie, who has 25 years of experience in the lighting industry, including five with Butler and Capital, speaks glowingly of the benefits that come with transitioning from a small independent to becoming part of a global conglomerate.

“We are dedicated to providing excellent customer service and practical solutions,” says Christie. “Here at the Wilmington location a staff of 15, including three designers, treat each and every customer—residential and contractor alike—like gold.”

Christie is one of the three lighting designers, who between them bring 75 years of lighting experience to the table. He goes on to explain that the Wilmington store, like other Capital locations, is supported by the company’s expert problem-solving groups. These include a Tools and Safety Group that can be called on to make sure OSHA standards are followed on job sites; a Digital Solutions Group designed to save customer and contractors, time, money and effort and a Vendor Managed Inventory Group to ensure effective inventory levels are maintained.

“We’re here to handle everything from decorative bulbs to complex lighting systems for multimillion-dollar homes,” Christie says. “We provide homeowners, builders and architects with lighting design expertise as well as products by more than 200 vendors. And with easy access to warehouses in Raleigh, Charleston and Myrtle Beach and a Capital fleet of delivery vehicles, we’re able to provide our customers—homeowners and contractors alike—with what they want when they want it.” 

Product diversity, availability and quality, combined with solid vendor relationships benefits Capital customers, Christie explains. “Just like having a good relationship with a good neighbor often leads to situations in which the neighbor advises and helps with home repairs and projects, having a good rapport with our vendors allows us to call on them when we need help with customer product concerns. It’s not unusual for me to tell a customer having a problem with a fan, for instance, that I can call or email the vendor, who typically responds quickly– often by sending product replacement. We’re our vendors’ customers and they take good care of us, which enables us in turn to take good care of our customers.”

When asked what else he wants residents of the Wilmington area to know about Capital Electric, Christies answers, “Solutions to their lighting is just an appointment away. Call us, and we’ll come to your home to assess and guide in selecting the appropriate products for whatever the space may be—dining room, foyer or whole house. We want to be their first choice when it comes to lighting.”

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