Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mr. Electric Illuminates the World

I recently visited the store, Abbeville Electric to interview the owner, Rob Roy. When I stepped into the front showroom, I was greeted by a glow of light fixtures hanging from almost every inch of the walls and ceiling. Because of their different shapes and sizes, the room cast shadows and reflections making it feel exotic and magical like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.

Is Rob Roy a super hero? I thought. Will he be wearing a cape with a picture of a light bulb on it and call himself Mr. Electric?

The man who introduced himself as Roy, was wearing normal clothes, but had the qualifications to be an electric caped crusader if he wished. His credentials include studying electronics at Louisiana Technical College in Abbeville, an apprenticeship as an electrician’s helper, and over twenty years of experience with lighting and electricity.

“I love different challenges such as designing and estimating costs of projects,” says Roy. “I never get bored with my job.”

Abbeville Electric offers consulting on lighting and electrical projects. Their merchandise line includes, (but is not limited to) ceiling fans, cabinet door hardware, landscape lighting, dimmer switches, oilfield related products, light bulbs, generators and receptacles.

“We have a strong relationship with building contractors and the oilfield industry,” says Roy. “But we also have a lot of customers who just need light bulbs.”

According to Roy, the easiest way to save electricity and money is by using Compact Florescent and LED light bulbs. They require less energy to produce more light than many regular bulbs.

Pictured: Me (Jacques Couvillon) replacing a regular bulb with an LED

“You should always use the recommended bulb wattage that is written on the light fixture,” says Roy. “If you use a bulb that is too high, it becomes a fire hazard.”

But Roy and his experienced employees do more than just offer advice on the correct bulbs to use. They can help you choose the right lighting fixture to perfectly illuminate any room in your home or business.

“We consider many factors like the use, size and wall color of the room,” says Roy. “But most importantly, we try to understand the customer’s tastes, wants and needs.”

Abbeville Electric also provides information on current safety guidelines as set by the National Electrical Code. One new requirement for all structures built in 2010 or later is the tamper resistant receptacle, which can be purchased at Abbeville Electric.

Although I learned a tremendous amount about electricity and lighting, the highlight of my interview was the tour Roy gave me of Abbeville Electric. The building was built in 1948 and was originally The Ritz movie theatre. Roy made a few renovations in accordance with the historical society, but did leave a remnant of the structure’s past.

“If you look up at the ceiling, you can see the curtain that dropped over the movie screen,” said Roy. “The old projector lights are still behind it.”

Pictured: Old curtains from The Ritz movie theatre

I have great respect for Roy for honoring the building’s past. But more so for the professionalism he practices when it comes to his job. He is not only there to sell you a light bulb, but to provide information on safety, saving money and illuminating the world. He may not be masked or traveling around on a bolt of light, but in my book, he is an electric super hero.

Abbeville Electric is located at 320 South State Street in Abbeville. For more information on their products and services call 337-898-2922.

Pictured: Steve Hebert and Rob Roy

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