Liteline Corporation — As Luck and Ingenuity Would Have It

March 9 2016

Line Goyette

The beginnings of a successful company are often the result of a happy confluence of circumstances where intuition, knowledge, economic or social factors and, it must be said, a certain amount of luck all come together. I have met several members of the Silverstein family on various occasions, and each time I have seen a fire burning in their eyes — a fire of passion and pleasure. Here, work, family and leisure are interrelated, and after meeting president Steve Silverstein I might even add that it could be genetic. Three children, Daniel, Mark and Sarah, are actively involved in the business their parents founded in 1979, but it’s Mark, VP Sales and Marketing, who tells me the story that brought me to their facility. Steve will join us during the visit, part of which takes place around the old family dining table, around which the family still gathers. But instead of sharing meals, they now share business plans and goals for the future.

Photo: L-R: Liteline’s Steve, Mark, Daniel and Sarah Silverstein

The economic context

One can read on the company website that in the late 1970s there was a need for an aftermarket lens replacement for fluorescent fixtures. Since every fluorescent fixture was built with slightly different dimensions, it was exceptionally challenging for electrical distributors to supply replacement lenses. Steve Silverstein, Liteline’s founder and president, started offering distributors the simple service of small run custom fabrication with quick delivery.

The serendipitous moment

“I started the business out of my van. I like to say that I am an ‘overnight success’ after 30 years. At the time I already knew something about the lighting business and was thinking of becoming an agent, but you need a line to start with. I came across a good line while spending time surfing in southern California, but couldn’t become an agent for them, so they said ‘Buy the company.’

“Driving home from California, I stopped in Chicago, parked in front of the factory, changed my jeans for a tie and bought a vanload of products. I drove to Toronto and sold the whole load to an independent electrical distributor. I then called a freight forwarder and ordered a lot more products.

“At the time my wife and I were living in a 800 sq ft apartment. I had no idea where I would put the products, but I just knew I had to buy them. Life is full of happy surprises: my wife told me that she had just found a warehouse that same morning, so I unpacked the truck myself. Each bag weighed 53 pounds and I had to carry them to the end of the warehouse.’’

Today the company has grown far beyond its humble owner/operator beginnings. Liteline is a vertically integrated manufacturer of residential and commercial lighting fixtures and lamps. The head office is in the GTA, in a new 150,000 sq ft. manufacturing and distribution facility. Since 1982, Liteline has also had a second distribution warehouse in Vancouver, BC. The company has skilled and knowledgeable agents in every province across Canada and the U.S.

The special touch of the second generation

Mark Silverstein tells me the children always recognized while growing up that joining the family business was an option and not an obligation. “We always knew what was happening at the office, but we had our own lives and experiences.”

“With technology changing so rapidly,” says Steve, “it’s nice to have the younger generation involved. We’ve responded to the rise of LEDs by becoming a technology company that develops integrated lighting solutions.”

Find out more about Liteline: www.liteline.com; youtube.com/watch?v=7ujYufFSs5U.


Line Goyette is Managing Editor of EIN; linegoyette@kerrwil.com.

 

Related Articles


Latest Articles


Changing Scene

  • Federal Government Invests $1.2B to Build 84,500 EV Chargers by 2027

    Federal Government Invests $1.2B to Build 84,500 EV Chargers by 2027

    From mining, to manufacturing, to charging, Canadian businesses and workers are attracting historic investments in the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain. When electric vehicles are made from Canadian minerals, assembled by Canadian auto workers, and powered at Canadian-made chargers, we secure and create jobs, grow our economy, and keep our air clean now and into the future. Read More…

  • Applications Open for Nova Scotia Power’s 2023 Scholarship and Bursary Program 

    Applications Open for Nova Scotia Power’s 2023 Scholarship and Bursary Program 

    Applications are now open for Nova Scotia Power’s 2023 Scholarship and Bursary Program, and Nova Scotian students are encouraged to apply. The program is accepting applications until April 19, 2023. As part of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy, Nova Scotia Power is focused on supporting programs and initiatives that help remove barriers, advance DE&I education and awareness in Nova Scotian communities. Read More…

  • BCUC Approves Deferral Account for FortisBC’s Electric Vehicle Workplace and Fleet Charging Funding Program

    BCUC Approves Deferral Account for FortisBC’s Electric Vehicle Workplace and Fleet Charging Funding Program

    Recently, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) approved FortisBC Inc.’s (FBC) application for a new deferral account to enable funding to organizations for the purchase and installation of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. Through FBC’s EV Workplace and Fleet Charging Funding Program, eligible organizations can request a one-time FBC funded contribution of $1,920 per Level 2 EV Charger, capped at seven chargers per site. Read More…

  • Parliamentary Secretary Julie Dabrusin Announces New EV Chargers in B.C. and New Single Window for ZEV Infrastructure Applications

    Parliamentary Secretary Julie Dabrusin Announces New EV Chargers in B.C. and New Single Window for ZEV Infrastructure Applications

    Reducing pollution from the transportation sector is critical to Canada achieving its climate targets. That’s why the Government of Canada is making it more affordable for Canadians to purchase, charge and drive electric vehicles (EV) across the country. Recently, Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, launched a new, integrated, federal zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) infrastructure landing page. Read More…