Lighting can make or break the atmosphere of any room. No matter how well-decorated a room is, add glaring fluorescent strip-lights and the effect is ruined. On the other hand, take a plain and shabby room and outfit it with a few warm fixtures, and suddenly the ambiance changes from drab to inviting.
“Lighting is not meant to stand out,” says Joe Kroupa, the owner and president of Caravelle Lighting. “It’s meant to complement.”
And he would know. Lighting, Kroupa says, finishes the look in a home in much the same way as jewelry completes a woman’s outfit. For that reason, Kroupa says lighting is often referred to as “the jewelry of the home.”
Caravelle stands out in the number of lighting possibilities it offers customers. Inside the business’ 5,000 square foot showroom in Richmond, IL, are lighting displays from over 70 manufacturers. They include chandeliers, ceiling fans with lights, pendants, floor and table lamps, andnightlights. The selection also contains outdoor and garden lighting, home décor, and Tiffany lamps.
What’s not out on the floor is accessible by browsing the store’s website, where customers can see the available finishes for each fixture.The store also carries a large selection of lampshades and “anything LED,” Kroupa says. Lamp repairs are done onsite.
“I love what I do,” says Kroupa, who began working in his parents’ lighting store when he was 17 years old. At the time, the store was located at 6200 W North Avenue in Chicago.
Kroupa’s parents, George and Marilyn Kroupa, purchased the business in 1980. George, who recently passed away, had started his career selling parts to lighting manufacturers. Joe worked alongside his parents to grow and build Caravelle in Richmond.
After 10 years in Chicago, the Kroupas moved Caravelle Lighting to a house in Richmond at 9307 South Route 12. Over the years, remodeling and additions to the original structure have accommodated the showroom’s growing inventory.
Customers, which include builders, architects, designers, remodelers, and walk-ins, stroll through a series of rooms displaying all styles of fixtures. According to Kroupa, the latest trends in lighting include “anything organic”. That includes wicker, rattan, and jute, among other materials for lighting fixtures. Another sought-after feature is a combination finish, such as a wall sconce with a light brass finish, mounted on a forged black base.
Customers who like the sleek look of modern fixtures but also want a warm, relaxed feel have thousands of transitional-style lighting options from which to choose.
Caravelle arranges its inventory in vignettes, alongside home accessories, including framed artwork, tables, and bookcases. All the items are available for purchase, including small furniture pieces, such as accent tables.
Throughout its more than 40 years in business, Caravelle has served customers in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. While the company has had some commercial clients, its mainstay has always been in its relationships with home builders or homeowners who are redecorating or simply refreshing a room’s look.
“It’s all about relationships and service,” Kroupa says. He works with his wife, Monica, and one employee. “We are a family-owned business,” Kroupa says. “We want to help you.” That includes working within his customers’ budgets, whether they’re looking for low-end or high-end lighting, and matching online prices.
“Don’t be afraid,” Kroupa tells his customers. “Tell me where you want to be pricewise.” With such warm service, it’s no wonder Caravelle has been around for so long.