First Coast Lighting and Fans owner Pete Duprey is one of those people who literally brightens up a room. His business at 10130 Philips Highway in Jacksonville carries not just lights and fans, but also thousands of other items that homeowners will want to check out.
Tell me a little about First Coast Lighting and Fans, what it offers and if it specializes in anything or offers any kind of installation. How long has it been in business?
First Coast Lighting has been in business for a little over five years. We started in a smaller store in the Mandarin area of town in 2018, and then we moved to our much larger location we are at now last December. When we started, we catered mostly to new construction in Northeast Florida as that was my biggest strength, and we have evolved a lot since then.
I feel we have the largest selection of lighting and fans for hundreds of miles in any direction you can go. We also offer installation and an in-home warranty for all products purchased in our store. Our No. 1 goal is to make sure every customer that purchases from our store is completely satisfied with every purchase they make with us.
You sell more than lights and fans. Tell me a little about what other products customers can find at First Coast Lighting and Fans.
We have thousands of items in our store. We have a large selection of mirrors (especially very large mirrors that are hard to find), artwork, table and floor lamps, occasional furniture and smaller nick-nack items for the home.
What kinds of things should customers think about before shopping for new fans or lights?
I think the biggest thing is not to be overwhelmed with the whole process. Lighting is an accent that helps out the rest of the room. It is usually not the dominant feature. Many feel it is the jewelry of the home, and we need to treat it that way, as an accent.
What is your position with the company? How did you get into this line of work?
I am the owner of First Coast Lighting. I got into this industry over 20 years ago while I was in college at UNF. I started as a part-time employee at another lighting showroom in Jacksonville, and I would put up the displays in the store until I graduated and then I went into sales for the company. After a short time, I was managing one of their stores and it just grew from there until I went on my own to open my own company.
What do you like best about what you do?
I like the interaction with people all day. A lot of that is with my staff. I have a group of 17 employees that are my second family. We are together more than we are with our own families, so it is important to make work a fun place to be. Many days, we laugh a lot and I feel we all know so much about each other that we are like a big family. We all look out for each other and that is very important to me.
What do you like best about living here on the First Coast?
I am a Florida boy, born and raised, and I do not see myself living anywhere else than Northeast Florida with my family. There are so many activities for people around here. Who wouldn’t love living here? We live in an area where millions of people come to for vacation and we get to live here every day. It doesn’t get any better than that.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I like to spend time with my family any way I can. Owning a business typically means you are always on the clock. Family time has become so important in my life over the years. My wife Cori and I have two boys that are very involved in baseball. I was drafted out of high school by the Seattle Mariners to play baseball in 1997. I spent five years doing that before coming to Jacksonville to go to UNF. Baseball is one of my true loves in life, and I feel my family has taken that same feeling as we have grown together over the years. We spend a lot of time on many baseball fields all over the Southeast with our sons. It is how we have spent a lot of our time together over the years, and I loved every minute of it. We also love to be in and on the water. We love to go the beach and go out on the boat and Jet Skis as much as possible. Really, I love to do anything as long as my wife and kids are involved.