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Retailers are transferring lighting from ceilings down closer to products, Stein said, in part to save energy but also to better display products.
Through Cubic Visual Systems LLC, a Burnsville company that makes and distributes retail store fixtures, Accent completed an installation last year for the luggage company Tumi on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
Cubic’s co-owner, Chuck Schaefer, recalled how a contractor knocked out some of the lights at the last minute. Rahamim hopped a flight and worked through the night at the job site so Tumi could make the grand opening.
“He closed the deal for us on that one,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer said he hopes Accent can get beyond the perception that “this is the group that had the tragedy.”
Grandner believes they can.
“In the very beginning, we went from kind of a crisis mode to now we’re actually starting to think strategically,” Grandner said.“I knew when we went back to work we were going to make it.
“The only reservation or concern, or however you want to phrase it, was just how do we start replacing what we lost? You just can’t snap your fingers and get 15 years of signage experience from an employee,” he said. “We’re still not there. We’re still trying.”
At least one customer had his doubts. Tim Grabrovaz, former vice president of longtime Accent supplier and customer GravoTech in Atlanta, said that during the flight to Minneapolis for Rahamim’s funeral, he was wondering how the company would cope.
That changed at the funeral, he said, when he saw the determination and positive energy of Rahamim’s family and employees.
“When you’ve been in business a long time you get to know who’s got it and who doesn’t,” Grabrovaz said. “I realized right there and then that they were determined to not let the shooter get his aim, which they thought was to finish the business.”
Jennifer Bjorhus• 612-673-4683 • Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Woodbury who writes a weekly small-business column for the Star Tribune • firstname.lastname@example.org