Businesses taking risk during struggling economy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Businesses taking risk during struggling economy

Pace Lighting opened two weeks ago Pace Lighting opened two weeks ago
Lexus dealership should be done by July Lexus dealership should be done by July

By Christy Hutchings - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Our money, most of us are watching our wallets pretty closely spending less and cutting back, but there are some who instead of saving money are taking the risk.  

Pace Lighting knows all too well how uncertain these times are, but instead of cutting back they made the huge decision to add on. 

They opened their new facility just two weeks ago which is four times larger than their old one.

"A huge risk, it makes no sense at all," said co-owner Frank Bartlett.

Bartlett sat down with us Thursday and talked to us about just how hard this decision was.

He says the plan to expand was made before the economy went bad and as things kept getting worse they had to decide whether to hold off building or take the risk.

"Nothing snapped. We had to try to figure out how we're we going to make money with what's turning out to be the worst economic disaster of this century."

They went for it, but drastically changed the plans; making this a facility customers couldn't find anywhere else in our area, not even Atlanta.

The 18,500 square foot facility is filled with beautiful fixtures, artwork, and looks more like a design studio than a lighting store.

But in order to do this, meant digging into their pockets as well.  "The decision to put more personal money in it was tough but we felt with the shaky environment we had to do that rather than just borrow more money," said Bartlett, "It was very hard to say ok, yeah let's do this."

But they did and by doing this brought more jobs to the area, hiring mostly local contractors and if Pace Lighting takes off it could have an even greater impact on Savannah.

"Our marketing will go way out of the state. Savannah is a great destination place and it's a very artsy community so we think that the design industry will come here and will be good for tourism," said Bartlett, "We think we're going to bring a lot of money to the community and hopefully a few dollars in here."

Pace Lighting is not the only business taking a risk. The Lexus dealership on Chatham Parkway also decided to build this new facility before the economy got bad, but they say they're not backing out now.  

The $12 million facility is supposed to be up and running by July and by doing this it will bring at least 20 new jobs to Savannah.

And like Pace Lighting, Lexus is hiring a lot of local contractors to complete the job.

General Manager of the Lexus dealership Jim Mollica spoke with us on the phone, he says not once did they think about stopping construction.

Mollica admits that yes they're taking a risk but says you have to keep moving forward and eventually the economy will turn around.

And that's what Pace Lighting is doing, pushing forward and hoping it works out.  "We believe we'll know by April whether this is going to fly or if it's going to be a folly, a big folly," said Bartlett.  

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