|The Right Shade Makes a Good Lamp Great|
Published: Thursday, 27 January 2011 21:13
Selling unique merchandise has been a tradition in the Chan family for nearly 100 years. “My folks started City of Hankow Tassel Company in 1915 in San Francisco’s Chinatown,” Chan said. “The shop specialized in antiques, collectibles, knick-knacks, and other interesting items. My father always encouraged me to open a lampshade business. He retired in 1982, and I opened this shop in the following year.”
Chan, with her daughter Debra, is Alameda’s foremost purveyor of lampshades. Additionally, the Chans deal with everything to do with lamps including repair, re-wiring and refurbishing.
“When we first opened we had nothing on the walls, only two tables and the showcase,” Chan said. “Now it’s just filled all the way up to the ceiling.”
That’s no exaggeration. Today the front showcase window displays Chan’s collection of ceramic cows, started after September 11, 2001. Inside, every available shelf and display case is packed with unique lamps of every size, shape and color. You also see some distinctive antiques and collectables.
There are elegant crystal chandeliers, marble stand lamps, table lamps, and desk lamps, all displayed from floor to ceiling. There are so many lamps, they overflow into the adjacent room. Some are new, while others are authentic antiques beautifully refurbished to meet today’s safety standards.
Business has been brisk at Carole L. Chan, Inc. these days.
“After the holidays, people are motivated to clean the house and redecorate for a fresh start to the year,” Chan said. “It’s common in this historic community for someone to inherit a beautiful old lamp. They come in to update it. We re-wire it, make sure it’s working correctly, and of course add a beautiful new shade.”
According to Chan, “The shade makes the lamp, just like clothes make the person.”
Carole L Chan, Inc. offers lampshades in a broad variety of sizes and shapes for almost every style of lamp. Smaller shades start around $17-$18, while some larger shades can range up to $200-$300. Fancier styles can run even higher. However, the right lampshade offers enduring style, and a high quality shade from Carole L. Chan will last for many years.
Chan enjoys working with customers to help them select just the right shade for their special lamps.
“Sometimes we go through 20 different styles or more,” Chan said. “When I see them smile, that’s it.”
The shop is located at 1900 Encinal Ave.; it’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 865-6374.