“For a business, I think it’s a home run.”Wayne Wheeler, Reinders Holiday Lighting Project Manager
You may have noticed some ‘bright’ additions to the Gateway landscape this past year. Newly installed seasonal snowflake light displays (photo in gallery) brought a festive vibe to South Howell Avenue, between Grange Ave and Layton Ave. Six LED snowflakes were purchased from Gateway Member Reinders, Inc.
Reinders, Inc. is a family-owned, regional distribution company, founded in 1866 in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. This 5th generation, locally owned business is currently headquartered in Sussex, WI. Reinders’ depth of vendors provides them an extensive product list, including residential/commercial irrigation, chemicals, seed, turf supply, tools, Toro Commercial Equipment, as well as holiday and outdoor lighting products. We spoke with Wayne Wheeler, Holiday Lighting Product Manager with over two decades of experience in the lighting industry, about why Reinders is the foremost lighting expert in Wisconsin.
A unique addition to the more traditional services and product lines offered by Reinders, Wayne described how the Lighting Division came to be. “The Lighting Division is a little different from the rest of the company. As we are actually a direct importer of the product, we can then redistribute that product all over the US and Canada”. Mentioning the company’s pioneering spirit, Wayne mentions Reinders as being one of the first companies to take a chance on the new LED technology. “While everyone was focusing on incandescent lights, we went another direction to find a different spot for ourselves in the marketplace”. As a direct importer, Reinders has the ability to offer one-of-a-kind products that other companies just can’t find.
Reinders also works with two fabricators to create custom light pieces. Wayne explained “you send us a picture or idea and we can sketch it out, make it, and wrap it in lights.” From custom flower displays for the University of Minnesota’s Landscape Arboretum (see photo in gallery) to a 9-foot Bigfoot wearing a Santa hat, “it’s unlimited.”
Recently, Reinders donated over $15,000 worth of lighting equipment and labor to The Garden District Winter Wonderland display (see photo in gallery). “We have been operating 150+ years in Milwaukee, so we like to give back when we have a chance.” Included in the contribution was a show-stopping programmable LED Christmas tree (see photo in gallery). “The tree at Winter Wonderland is RGB – red, green, blue. We are big into intelligent lighting, which means it is all programmable, can do different patterns, and can be programmed to music, and you can tell every bulb what to do.”
So, should Gateway businesses consider investing in intelligent lighting in the coming years? Wayne believes “they [businesses] have to think of the lighting as not seasonal or holiday, but as a year-round marketing piece. It gives them the ability to change those colors for everything they have going on. A Packer game, the DNC, a sale, a Facebook special, Marquette game, Bucks game. I would absolutely be doing it to make my business stand out from the person to the left and right of me.”
Thank you Reinders, for introducing The Gateway to the endless possibilities available with commercial LED lighting. Our newly acquired snowflake displays will continue to shine bright, greeting visitors, businesses and residents alike for years to come.