By Matt Lindner @mattlindner
2:04 PM CST, December 20, 2012
Clearly a company that specializes in repairing Christmas lights is busy this time of year.
So what exactly do employees at Ulta-Lit Technologies in Glenview do the rest of the year? Company Vice President Jerry Cepa said while you're focused on this Christmas, the company is already preparing for next year.
"Right now and last month already we're working on quotes for 2013 business," he said. "For my job, I'm on their sites, we're going through our sell-throughs and so forth. Starting in March, all these orders start coming in like crazy. People think that's insane but they're Christmas orders because they know we need time to make them."
With factories in China producing their product and major retailers around the country ordering it, president John DeCosmo said he and his team are constantly working to make sure the trains are running on time.
"We have all of our major orders in house by April," he said. "That's puzzling but when you look at a Home Depot or a Wal-Mart that's set up in September and these goods are made in China, they need these long lead times. The truth is I'm 3/4ths done with my 2013 major presentations. Hobby Lobby will give me their order in February for shipment traditionally in May, they may switch it to June this year. They start setting up by July 4th."
The privately held company says it sold about 500,000 units last year between its LED Keeper and its LightKeeper Pro holiday light repair kit. While its holiday light repair hotline is free, Sales and Marketing Manager Linda Barrientos said it has definitely helped the company's overall bottom line.
"Selling our product even to corporate buyers, it's helpful to add in that you're not there to support our product, we are," the 24-year-old Portage Park resident said. "You sell it but we're behind it. We're here to support both you and your consumers."
DeCosmo said it's easy for him to get burned out on Christmas, not unlike the lights his company works so hard to fix. However, if he needs a reminder of the holiday spirit during the winter months, he said he's got his happy place.
"If I want to get excited about it, I'll take the family and go downtown and we'll go by the Carson window or the Macy's window and then the spirit means more to me," he said. "But half of my Christmas days, I sleep all day. It's the first day I know my job is done. Until then anything can happen."
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