SimplyLEDs in Garden City enjoys scaling up after lean early years

In 2005, Bob Deely and five other former Hewlett-Packard employees decided to get in on the early stages of the burgeoning LED lighting industry. They created a tiny startup, SimplyLEDs, with the goal of making LED signs.

In 2009, the company pivoted to designing and making LED lights and retrofit products, and to offering consulting to customers seeking to install LED systems in their offices, in parking lots or elsewhere.

Since its founding, SimplyLEDs has grown from one employee to 21. It projects sales of $5 million for 2015 after bringing in $7.3 million million in all previous years combined. The company says it became profitable in 2014.

The company moved across the street into a 29,000-square-foot building it bought at 111 West 34th St. Production capacity has nearly doubled to 6,000 units per month from 3,500. SimplyLEDs’ offerings include outdoor LED lights, indoor LED lights suited for various industrial and commercial demands, and products that retrofit existing light fixtures to LED systems. All are backed by 10-year warranties.

Deely, president and CEO, worked as president and CEO of Boise tech firm MetaGeek after 25 years as a general manager at Hewlett-Packard and four years as a managing director at Cypress Semiconductor. He says more company growth is on the way.

Q: Who are your customers?

A: The distribution network of consultants, contractors and value-added resellers who sell lighting to the end users.

Q: How many customers do you have?

A: We have over 200 principal clients around the country, which is up 100 percent in the last year.

Q: Who is your largest customer?

A: Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, Ga., bought 2,500 of our LED parking garage lights for a total price of $600,000.

Q: What happens in the Garden City building?

Q: All luminaire (lighting unit) design, manufacturing and shipping takes place in this facility. We source our components from U.S. suppliers and rely on several suppliers and service providers right here in the Treasure Valley. The components are assembled into our luminaire housing and shipped out. For retrofits, customers will often send us one of their existing luminaires, and we will custom-design an LED light engine to replace the existing light source in the luminaire.

Q: What differentiates SimplyLEDs products from competitors’?

A: We have no need to hide behind the marketing smokescreen and create a false sense of a “technological advantage,” as none exists for anyone. There is no mystery in the LED industry. We don’t have to manipulate numbers to convince you to buy our product. Instead, we offer samples to install on the job and compare the physical results to any competitor’s product, anywhere, in any conditions.

Q: So you have to win on the service side.

A: We have 100 percent satisfaction for one reason: We focus on our differentiation, and we build a solid, competitive product created by brilliant electrical engineers that we stand behind for 10 years. When our clients need advice, questions answered, additional parts, replacements, you name it, they have our cellphone numbers and email addresses and know they will receive attention in minutes or hours, at any time, before, during, and long after their project is complete.

Q: What factors will dictate future growth for the company?

A: Our infrastructure and product offering are well-positioned for growth. The primary factors driving future growth are an increasing distribution through existing and new energy-service providers. High-quality service and support will be a hallmark that will continue to differentiate SimplyLEDs from other light manufacturers whose inferior lights are sourced.