Unless you work in the lighting industry, there’s a good chance that you’re not familiar with Lighting One. But, if you’ve ever shopped at Western Montana Lighting, you’ve been impacted by their mission.

Custom lights displayFor businesses, that means that they work together to increase buying power and give small lighting and décor businesses a better chance at thriving. For customers, Lighting One provides exclusive, American-made products that you simply can’t buy anywhere else.

The Exclusive Product Program not only brings stunning, cutting-edge lighting to markets of all sizes, it provides great jobs to workers all over the country. So even if you live in Missoula, you have access to exclusive designs that customers in L.A. or New York might not be able to find. Whether you’re on the business or customer side, the cooperative’s mission means that small businesses flourish and the local economy gets a boost.

Drew Mihelish, the owner of Western Montana Lighting, just returned from the annual Lighting One convention. As a member of Lighting One, Drew is a member of the Next Gen Advisory Council, which is made up of four future industry leaders from the US and Canada. They work closely with the Lighting One Advisory Council to discuss the future of the lighting industry and how to make it more successful into the next generation.

For Drew, a big part of the focus is on the people who work at Western Montana Lighting. She maintains that, in order for a small, independent showroom to succeed, there must be a strong, supportive work culture in place. Custom lighting display at WML

WML is proud to employ lighting experts who bring decades of talent, experience, and expertise to their jobs every day. “It’s important everyone comes to work knowing they are respected and appreciated for their individualism. It’s also important that I help them understand the bigger picture, and we maintain a strong team dynamic. That’s success in my book,” Drew says.

Drew tries to create a work atmosphere that is supportive and respectful of employees’ talents and contributions. They are, after all, the reason why a small showroom like WML can thrive in a small town.

As a member of the Lighting One cooperative, WML has real influence, while it operates independently according to Montana values, Drew can bring those values to the larger lighting community. Lighting One helps WML stay independent, create meaningful work to local experts, and bring the best style and technology in lighting home to Missoula.