Retail, Office

Blains Farm and Fleet Case Study

Universal LED Retrofits New Blain’s Farm & Fleet Store

Blain’s Farm & Fleet, a specialty discount retailer with 38 locations throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, recently expanded to the Chicago suburb of Elgin, Illinois.

For the Elgin store opening, the retailer purchased a vacant big box store and developed plans to refurbish the brick building in its classic red, white and gray designs.

As part of the top-to-bottom store renovation, Blain’s facility management team wanted to improve the building’s existing fluorescent lighting system with two goals in mind—lighting quality and energy efficiency.

Andy McWilliams, the assistant facilities manager and member of the team overseeing maintenance and improvements at Blain’s properties, said an LED lighting system was the preferred choice from the start.

“Along with energy efficiency, LED lighting provides the most even distribution,” McWilliams said.

“One of our top goals is to avoid the checkerboard effect that happens with fluorescent lighting systems as they age.”

The Blain’s team tapped Jim Franklin, Lighting & Green Solutions Specialist at Revere Electric Supply, to formulate lighting options with the intent of utilizing the store’s existing 800 fixtures, which are organized in parallel strips affixed to the ceiling at heights between 21 and 27 feet.

“The Elgin store has a really high ceiling that allows you to see nearly every lighting fixture in the store,” McWilliams said. “Having all the lights on with consistent color is important to the customer experience and workers.”

Having worked large fluorescent- to-LED retrofit projects in the past, Franklin recommended an option from the Universal Lighting Technologies EVERLINE® LED Linear Retrofit Continuum, a series of “good, better and best” product solutions to replace existing fluorescent lamp technologies.

Each fixture, which had held six fluorescent lamps and a ballast, would be retrofitted with the EVERLINE LED Retrofit Kit—four 4-foot LED light bars powered by an EVERLINE dimmable driver. With the LED Retrofit Kit redesign and layout revisions are not needed, so lighting technicians moved efficiently from one fixture to the next throughout the installation with no issues.

“We were retrofitting an odd fluorescent fixture, but it was a smooth process considering our tight timeline to complete the job,” McWilliams said.

“Right away the lighting quality was very good in each fixture, and we were able to see the difference the LED was making as we completed each row.”

According to Franklin, the EVERLINE LED light bars provide broad, even light distribution across shelves and consistency in color over a variety of products ranging from clothing and toys to automotive and outdoor gear.

“Every Blain’s Farm & Fleet store has customized department areas that would be a challenge to work around under normal store circumstances,” Franklin said. “But with the LED Retrofit Kit, future maintenance needs will be minimal, if any.”

In addition to reduced maintenance, the EVERLINE LED Retrofit Kit will produce cost savings for the store in two other key ways—a 50% reduction in energy consumption over the fluorescent system and a 20% rebate offered by the local electric utility.

“The payback on an energy efficiency upgrade is a big consideration for smart business owners,” Franklin said. “With the rebate and energy savings, we calculate the system will pay for itself within 30 months.”

“All said and done, the project was a huge success,” Franklin concluded.

 Universal Douglas